Thursday, April 12, 2007

So many choices, I need more kids!

Night before last our TORCH chapter held it's bi-annual curriculum night.
I hosted because my co-leader Nancy didn't think her house would work for it.
This event has become very popular with our group each year. We hold it in the Spring because it is time to start thinking about what we are going to be using next year. Everybody brings the materials that they are using, the stuff they love, and the stuff they have found to be less than satisfactory. We set up tables all over the house. I used the new room, and a really long table that Barbara brought over, to put out the Math, Science and all the Freebies. Everyone always brings lots of books/equipment to sell or give away. Religion, Language arts, Reading, and any parenting/how-to books were in the kitchen.
Downstairs we had History, Geography, and in the Schoolroom we had three computers set up for electronic and online materials.
I also had lots of snacks, to keep us going as we journeyed through the land of planning!
Oh, and Christine Bowers, our dear Usborne lady and fellow homeschooler, brought her books and other educational delights.
John could have gone out with his dad, but when he saw all the books, he opted to stay home!

So I wasn't really thinking that I was ready to start choosing what I would be using next year. I was just hoping to get a look at what others have been using. I have been following Laura Berquist's Classical Curriculum pretty closely for the last few years. I usually just find things that fit well within that framework. I am still going to be working within a Classical Ideal, but boy have I found some great new materials!!
We will stick with Abeka and Saxon for Math. The boys are doing great in this area and while I had thought about changing to something with a more hands on approach, that would require me to start over in teaching terms and formulas that they have already learned.

I am SO excited about what we are doing for English and Writing though.
I have heard about a method of teaching Literature using Socratic discussion and I am totally sold on the Institute for Excellence in Writing. My for John next year is to alternate Lit. and Writing every other week. Using the Socratic discussion to explore a short piece of lit one week, and then Writing the next. That should to work well for John. He likes variety.

Brendan will be doing some writing but mostly Grammar, Spelling, Vocab and reading.
Paul will do Sound Beginnings, which should be a piece of cake for him since he has been listening to Phonogram Dictation for four years! He is reading very well now.
We are also reading through the Faith and Freedom Readers. They are such wonderful stories and even though they are REALLY old, the kids love them.

For Brendan we will continue with the Classical Curriculum theme, I'll use the same materials I did for John in third grade. Brendan is amazing! He is more than ready to move into the third grade! I didn't think he would take to schooling in the same style as John, but he really has an analytical mind and he loves it!

For History John wants to stick with Pioneers and Patriots. I thought he would find it a bit dry, but he really wants to keep going with it. I will use a lot of supplemental historical fiction too.
I want to have Brendan read for the most part. I will probably have him draw a time line like I did with John. There are so many great books out there. A great reference is "Let the Authors Speak".
Geography is going to be the same. The Trail Guide program is really excellent. We will still be doing US geography next year. Brendan will start the States and Capitals.

Oh I am so excited about Science!! Nancy showed me this excellent series by Apologia.
The books are so great! The way they are set up I can use them for all three boys. We will start with Astronomy and work through Botany and Zoology. Even Paul will be able to get a LOT out of this program. They sell kits to go with them and every chapter has an activity.
Science just seems to be our thing!
Deena is either psychic or she is reading my blog, because for Paul's birthday she sent a weather station kit that comes with a book on weather. With all the planting and bird study we have been doing, the weather has been a major issue and I have been getting tons of questions about wind, rain, temperature, etc! What a great compliment to our little program.

I am going to stick with the Religion program that I am using but I am going to buy the Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth. It is very comprehensive and based on the Catechism. We can start working with it and use it for years.
Brendan will start his Sacraments prep. for Reconciliation and First Communion.
Paul will do the Bible Storybook that John did.
It's so cute! They read a story, and then they have to draw a picture of it to put in the Storybook. John and Brendan's are Priceless!

I think we will do the Great Masters with our art group and I am hoping to add music Masters if it's OK with Karen.

So, a LONG post. I just wanted to get it all down and have all my links, so that I can go back to all of them in June and July and start ordering. I will have a bit of studying to do over the summer. The writing program and Lit are going to require some study on my part. Next year is going to be very interesting! I am excited already. It's so funny, we haven't even finished this year yet!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I can't believe I missed Curriculum Night with the TORCH group! I always enjoyed the evening with my favorite women. We have a very limited group of homeschoolers in our area, and they are mostly just beginning their journey into the realms of home academia. We are starting a TORCH group of our own in a couple of weeks. Well, Jen, it sounds like you have next year all sized up! Nothing like planning the next year to pull us out of spring fever burnout this year.