I can hardly believe that this is the first time in 16 years of homeschooling that I haven’t had at least one child in elementary school. The years sure do fly by! I guess I’m entering another new phase of life…no littles in the house! Just 3 more years of homeschooling left now before Holden will be old enough to go to public high school, too, and I can finally “retire” from this “career” of home educating.
Our first week of school went really well, and Holden seemed to really like the new things we’re doing this year. I assigned times to each of our subjects to help keep him on track, so for the first week of school, I wrote down our actual times to see if my estimates were correct, and they seemed to be about right. It has us starting at 9 AM and finishing at 2:30 PM. He did a pretty good job of finishing on time, which gave him time to play after school, which he really enjoyed. We’ll see how long that lasts!
Here is what we’re doing this year:
2019-2020 CURRICULUM PLAN
Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
Write Shop Junior D
Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures
Houghton Mifflin Spelling & Vocabulary 7
Wordly Wise 3000 Online – Level 6
La Clase Divertida Level II
Bible Study Guide for All Ages
Each subject is done every day except for science and bible, which alternate every other day, giving us a total of 7 class periods each day.
Apologia Elementary sciences are always fun with all of the hands-on experiences. We bought the corresponding supply kit from Nature’s Workshop Plus so we’ll have everything on hand for each experiment and “try this” activity in the textbook. I love how they break up the supplies into baggies labeled for each lesson so that the supplies are easy to grab and have ready at the beginning of the week.
This is Holden’s first time doing a writing program, so we decided to start with level D of WriteShop Junior, which is listed as being good for reluctant 6th graders. I got to review it a few years ago when Haylee was little, so I already had it all prepped and ready to use, which made it easy to prepare for this year. I also have Level F from a single review I did last year, so I plan to purchase Level E for next year and use F in 8th grade. That should give him some basic writing skills by the time he goes to public school. He has a good foundation in grammar from using both Junior Analytical Grammar books last year, so I thought this program would be a nice progression. He seems to enjoy the variety of activities and how it changes up what we do each day.
I’m trying really hard to keep things fresh and new as much as possible this year. He is also happy to have La Clase Divertida back this year. I’m not sure how much he’s retaining from it since he wasn’t doing a lot of the oral responses while watching the DVD and listening to the audio, but he may just need some time to get back into the flow of the program. It’s been a couple of years since we last used it. I got a great deal on ebay for Level II, so I gave in to his request to bring it back into our schedule.
So that’s our new school year! We took this week off in case I needed to tweak anything, but I think it looks pretty good so far. I am still on the fence about math. It concerns me that he has gotten to Pre-Algebra already by 6th grade. That’s what happened when Hayden was his age, and Hayden really had problems in 7th grade when he got to Algebra I and just wasn’t ready for the abstract thinking required for it. I fear Holden will be in the same boat. I’ve been looking at other math options, and I’m still considering putting Pre-Algebra aside for this year and having him reinforce his basic math skills first using something else. When Haylee reached this point, I had her do Mastering Essential Math Book 2, so I’m considering that (or the online version) for Holden, as well. It only took 15 minutes per day and gave her a chance to firm up her grasp before moving on. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if he never got to Algebra I at home and just took it in 9th grade in public school. Haylee never did master it in 8th grade and ended up taking it in high school anyway. So really, we could spend two years on firming up his basic understanding and do Pre-Algebra in 8th grade. He still hasn’t memorized his times tables, which really frustrates me, and Haylee was the same at this point. It really slows down more advanced math computations, so I feel like we should start there.
Anyway, we’re off to a good, solid start, and I’m looking forward to what this school year brings to us!