Rawlins Family

Rawlins Family

Friday, February 13, 2015

Curricula 2014-2015 School Year

As of January, we have officially completed two years of homeschooling. When we set out to homeschool we had no idea what we were doing. It really took us some time to discover the truth behind, "When it comes to curricula, there is no one-size-fits-all." But I feel like we're finally in a great groove, and using things we really love, that really work.

Cameron (fifth grade):
  • Language Arts - this has been the hardest one to nail down. We found right away that Easy Grammar was a fantastic fit for us, but we've been through the wringer trying to find something to meet our needs.This year I set writing on the back burner and focused on reading A LOT. That gave him a much needed rest from being constantly harangued about writing! After Christmas, though Success with Writing. He doesn't love it, but it keeps him fresh and working. I've got a pretty great writing curriculum all lined up for next year.
  • Math - Cameron is in the final chapters of Math U See Epsilon. MUS is a mastery-based math program, so one major operation is taught through mastery in each level. By the time all sixth levels are complete, the student has completed the equivalent of sixth grade math. Epsilon focuses on fractions, which I was totally dreading. But, MUS came through again, and we allllllll understand fractions at a much deeper level now. In addition to MUS, Cam is working through Life of Fred: Fractions. We love Fred around here. 
  • Geography/History - We're using Trail Guides to US Geography. I don't love it, but it does get the job done. See my other posts for our US history units. We're loving them!
  • Typing/Programming - Somewhere along the way, a friend recommended SpongeBob typing. It was inexpensive, so I picked it up. It's working. I just stay far, far away from the computer when I hear it going. SpongeBob gives me the shivers. For programming, we're using level one of Kid Coder. It's fantastic, but we find we simply run out of time during our regular school day. I plan to use this course over the summers when we're usually just doing math and reading.
  • Science - We're using, and loving, Sassafras Science:Zoology.
  • Civics - Cameron is completing a civics workbook. It also serves as reading comprehension work. It's not my favorite, and it's not his favorite. I may have him work at a slower pace, or simply set it aside for another year. I haven't decided yet.
  • Music - Cameron is still plugging away with our piano lessons. He doesn't have any of the passion for the instrument that I do, but he told me that he wants to stick with it. Occasionally I will hear him sit down to play FOR FUN, and that's my favorite!
  • PE - Cameron continues to swim year-round, and he's working really hard to clean up his strokes so he can swim in the same lane with the best swimmers this summer. We also meet for regular PE classes with our homeschool group. That's where we do old-school PE stuff, like kickball. I love our homeschool group!
Miles (third grade):
  • Language arts - Miles is using Easy Grammar, Success with Reading Comprehension, and Success with Writing. Miles is my busiest kid, and reading was a struggle for awhile. Thankfully, we've reached a place where he can finally sit down and focus on his work. He's cruising through and doing so well! We're incredibly proud of him and all his effort. For spelling, we're using Spelling Workout, which is quick and painless. Cursive has been a fun new skill this year. Miles' printing skills are pretty on-par for most serial killers, so I'm happy to see that his cursive is quite pretty!
  • Math - Miles is finishing up Math U See Gamma, which focuses mainly on multiplication. He is a bit of a natural with math. He's also working through the Life of Fred elementary series. When it was time to memorize his multiplication facts, we used Times Tales. I would recommend that to anyone, public school or homeschool. It's a really great resource.
  • Geography/History - See above.
  • Typing - SpongeBob. Shootmeinthehead.
  • Science - Sassafras Science: Zoology. We ended up using Zoology because of Miles. He has been all about animals since he was a little guy. He gravitates to books and magazines about animals, and has a million animal facts running around that brain of his. This is a favorite subject for him.
  • Music - Miles has started lessons with me. He's going to be my kid who loves music. Like me, he started by playing by ear. I left him alone until just recently because I knew he needed to conquer his focus issues before we could work on anything else. He's picking up quickly and I know he'll zoom through his lesson books...if only he can stop playing the Star Wars and Lord of the Ring themes long enough to practice!
  • PE - Miles is also swimming year-round. He's a solid swimmer, and he enjoys it. What he really enjoys, however, is climbing ALL OF THE TREES. ALL OF THEM! He is often ON MY ROOF, or 20 FEET UP in a tree. And he's happiest there. He's incredibly sure-footed as well, so that's why we're putting him in climbing classes later this year. I'll feel better when he's clipped to something.

Sophia (first grade):
  • Language arts - Sophia is using Success with Grammar, Success with Reading Comprehension, and Success with Writing - all at a second or third grade level. She is reading all of the books that were ever written, and killing it with Spelling Workout. If I can't find her, it's because she's sitting somewhere reading. Right now she is systematically checking out every Garfield comic anthology the library owns, while also reading the Goddess Girls and Magic Tree House series. There's no pinning her down.
  • Math - Sophia about to finish up Math U See Beta, and has memorized her times tables so she'll be able to skip through the first part of Gamma sometime this spring. At some point I expect she'll start teaching math to me. She enjoys the antics of that wacky Fred just as much as the boys.
  • Geography/History - Don't judge me, but I'm about to tell you a cold, hard truth. I don't care if my first-grader knows a thing about history or geography. I'd rather her be outside playing. She plays Stack the States and is the fastest one in our family to put together the US map floor puzzle. She knows where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are, and that we don't live on the same continent as the Egyptians. That's enough for me! She's done. A+! Sometimes she'll stick around while I'm working with the boys, and she's always present for any supplemental videos we watch. So, yup. That's it.
  • Science - Sassafras Science: Zoology
  • Typing - Again with the SpongeBob. I actually fought her on this one. I didn't want her stressing over her fine motor skills (not her strongest feature, and she's almost a perfectionist, so she DOES stress), but she insisted, I relented, and here we are. My adorable seven-year old talking about Crusty the freaking Crab. Erg.
  • Music - Sophia, I love you, and I want you to know that first, because I'm about to tell you that you can't carry a tune in a bucket. You'll get there (one day, fingers crossed). But you go ahead and keep singing your heart out to the Annie soundtrack. (Too honest? Well, let's all take a moment and consider the people on American Idol whose parents were outside the audition room swearing on a stack of Bibles that their baby was the next Mariah Carey...) Also, Sophia is currently cast as "Molly" in Annie. Saying she loves it would be an understatement. She lives for it! She gets her drama from me, no question about it.
  • PE - Sophia is part hobbit, and lives out-of-doors barefoot in all weather conditions. She also swims year-round with the boys, and takes gymnastics classes. But mostly she's running around looking slightly homeless. Please don't call CPS.

Haley (preschool'ish?):

Me: "Haley, let's keep working on our letters and numbers!"
Haley: "Okay, mommy! Let's do that. And then I'm going to scrub every memory of it from my brain so that I never, ever, ever remember those letters and numbers you keep trying to teach me. Oh look! The sky is bluepink, and this apple is black, and tires are squares, and why are you bothering me right now because I want to play and you're messing that up."
Me: Sigh.

Emilyn (Age Perfection):

"Hey mommy, let's be best friends and you never put me down ever in my life ever. Mmmkay? Except, oh wait, what's that? Books on the book shelf? Who put those there? Let me down immediately so that I can go pull all 147 books off of those shelves."

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