Big Kid is in the 2nd grade this year, age-wise. I'm having a good homeschooling year so far, though Baby is an extremely poor sleeper, so we're off to a slower start than I'd like. I kind of want to take pictures of my house and show them to people, it looks so horrific. Between the insanity of buying the house, moving in mid-to-late June and trying to manage life with an intensely busy crawling infant that doesn't sleep and a surly tornado of a four year-old my home it's all a total disaster. Truly. I remind myself that it's such a short-lived phase, this Baby thing. And it's hard to not just fully enjoy the third and definitely very last baby. He's a big ol' treat. Om nom nom nom.
This year Big Kid has a nice mix: she's attending a program for academically talented students one day per week, and then the rest of the week we do fairly loose, ecelectic homeschooling.
Dreambox Learning: This is her sole curriculum. I have the niggling feeling that I should add in some pen and paper math, but I like the approach this program takes (it's aligned with the Common Core and builds to conceptual mastery) and, most importantly, she is extremely motivated to use it (I let her go until she wants to quit, which is never until at least an hour). She is working on 3rd and 4th grade maths simultaneously.
Writing Skills, Grade 4 and Language Arts. Grade 4 (Flash Kids): I picked these two books up at Barnes and Noble out of desperation. I just wasn't sure what to buy. I need some structure to help her learn to write, and she needs to learn grammar skills, and they actually seem like really solid workbooks. Whew! I like that she has inherited my teeny tiny handwriting:
Vocabulary from Classical Roots 4: A good friend is beginning something similar this year with her homeschooling 10 year-old, and I agree with her that roots-based vocabulary seems like it would be useful throughout life. This hasn't actually come in yet, but I plan to begin next week. 16 lessons, probably one semester.
Manuscript Review/Intro to Cursive: She wants cursive. Okay.
Independent reading: Chapter books with a very simple reading log.
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Life Level 1: It was difficult for me to decide between Life Level 1 (1st-4th grade) and Biology 2 (5th-8th grade). She needs the younger curriculum in terms of her technical skills (lab reports and so forth) but the older one in terms of interest and comprehension, so I opted to go with the curriculum that she can do independently. Fortunately the curriculum is designed to be adapted to the learner, so we will err towards more supplements (additonal books, documentaries, and projects) rather than less, and also do science daily. This also includes a nature journal.
The Story of Science by Joy Hakim: I like this series. I'm sure we'll come back to the history of science many times, but for now this series is one way to go a bit deeper with science.
We're doing a unit on the Victorian Era! I felt like I was increasingly piling her up with curricula, and that is absolutely not the tone I want homeschooling to have for our family. I just chucked the history curriculum in favor of a unit study that will communicate a ton of history. This particular era is unbelievably rich. Here's my random brainstorming list from last night:
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Gilbert & Sullivan
Wilde/Importance of Earnest
Arthur Conan Doyle
Robert Louis Stevenson
Photography – Daguerre, Talbot
Holy hell! Nutso. Note the Britain/U.S. divide there. I do like comparisons. Cover one area, move to another area in the same time frame...how different they are! Like, Beatrix Potter was writing her books, Tchaikovsky was writing ballets, and people were moving to Oregon all at the same time. Doesn't that seem kind of weird? I think I'll stick to the British side of things first. So far we're especially enjoying the series Victorian Farm. We'll cook and listen to music and stuff. Woo hoo!
This is a first for us! I'm stoked. I bought an electric keyboard, and we will work on beginning piano, ear traning and music theory (using Progressive Theory for Young Beginners). I also want to do some music history, but I haven't thought it through yet.
An art history and art technique combo with Discovering Great Artists.
I am also going to try to teach drawing (Art for Kids: Drawing?) because she seems very motivated to learn to draw better, but I really don't want to kill it for her, so it will happen on an "only if she's totally into it" basis.
Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm: Yes. Yes! Comics. Good.
Ballet class. Yoga videos. Runnin' around.
I think that's it! Good year. Yay. I'm glad we're doing this (and, if you're wondering, Little Kid is in preschool this year in a big way, so I'm off the hook...and miss her terribly).