Thursday, July 16, 2015

3rd Grade Curriculum Choices

I am getting all geared up for the new school year. Last year I didn’t share our curriculum plan because I waited until we had started school and at that point life was too busy! This year I am getting a jump start on the planning and sharing!!

*This post contains affiliate links*

Bible: Cat and Dog Theology and Positive Action Growing with God
Math: Saxon Math 3 Intermediate, Life of Fred Cats and Dogs, for speed of facts
Science: Nancy Larson Science 2 and Snap Circuit project or two each week
Reading: All About Reading Level 4, several assigned chapter books (I will share this later), tons of read aloud, and audiobooks.
Spelling: Spelling You See Level B and then C when we finish up B
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting T - We are back to using this program because it has better repetition than Handwriting Without Tears. Level T is the transition level into cursive.
Grammar: Daily Grams Grade 3 and Growing with Grammar Level 3
Writing: WriteShop C
Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 3000
The Story of the World Volume 2, we will be using the activity book and the tests this year. We will be doing lots of hands on activities and projects.
Critical Thinking: The second half of the Building Thinking Skills Level 1 book, the first half of the Reading Detective book but we are going to adapt it to work on listening comprehension, Mind Benders book 3,
Geography: Trail Guide to U.S. Geography
Art: Home Art Studio 2nd Grade- we got behind in this last year. So we are going to finish this up before moving on!
Co-op: PE, Art, Musical, and other fun classes with friends!
"Not" Back to School Blog Hop 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Homeschooling an Only Child - The Bad

Homeschooling An Only Child

If you are new to this series, you can see the first post here and the second post here. I, again, just want to say this is intended to both be an encouraging series for homeschoolers of an only child as well as give other families insight into what it’s like in our shoes. 

Homeschooling an only child has some challenges that many people would not realize! Some can easily be overcome, while others are things one must accept and move on.

When you have only one child you don’t get to divide curriculum cost across multiple children, thereby making it more cost effective. You have to decide if a resource is worth your investment for one child or if you need to find another more affordable solution.

Group subjects and individualized subjects have the same number of students. It is hard to create an environment where your student learns to work with others. You can’t have everyone working on a project together doing different parts based on ability. This can be partially remedied by being involved in a co-op or support group where your child can work with other students.

This might only be Sammy, but I would venture to guess that it happens with most only children. Sammy is always comparing himself to Tim or I. If we are doing an art lesson he wants me to join in. Then he compares his project to mine. He will then say he is not good at art. He will also do this with board/card games. So then I have to balance out whether I should let him win or lose. I am not saying I let him win every time (that is a disservice to the child) but if it is a game of skill I will win every time. It is not any fun to lose every game!

Activities in curriculum where you do a survey of your family, or ask your siblings questions don’t work out. An easy solution to that is to call friends, post questions on Facebook, or ask other family members.

Subjects that require discussion (history, read-alouds, government, etc.) are a little less exciting. It feels like a lecture instead of a discussion. This will improve as the child gets older and contributes more to the discussion.

There is no one else to play with. This makes “socialization” all the more important. It is important for your only child to have time with peers, but it is also important for mom to have time with other adults as well!!

I would love to hear anyone else's thoughts on “the bad” of homeschooling an only. Did I miss anything? Is there anything else I should cover in this series?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What We Read - July

I love seeing what everyone is reading and listening to each month so I decided to jump in on the fun!!

Last month we listend to:
  • Pollyanna (Read by Melanie Young) - I had never read this story and I loved it. Even better Sammy was really into it!  Pollyanna has such a positive outlook on life it is refreshing and a great way to focus on the positives.  
  • Pollyanna Grows Up (Read by Melanie Young) - I enjoyed this story more than Sammy did.  I think it was a little over his head and he didn’t care of people found their true loves!  However, I was completely engaged in the story!
  • The Carnivorus Carnival (affiliate link) - We have been listening to The Series of Unfortnate Events for a while now and still realy enjoying it.  The plot in these stories never ceases to amaze me and keep me on my toes! 
  • The Hostile Hospital (affiliate link) - I thought I would be sick of the series after the first couple of books but we are still going strong!  Sammy can’t wait to find out what happens to Sunny, Klaus ,and Violet!
The favorites of what I read to Sammy:
  • Zen Shorts (affliate link) - cute story about 3 siblings that become friend with a panda. The panda tells them stories to help them deal with conflicts in their lives.
  • Brief Thief (affilate link) - A very silly story Sammy picked out at the library. It talks about doing the right thing and thinking of others.
  • Weasels (affilate link) - A story about weasels and world domination. This was a favorite of both Sammy and I last month; we read it over and over again. The pictures are really engaging and you will find something new each time you look at them!
  • Mr. Bassat Plays (affilate link)- A story about a grown up dog that needs to learn how to have fun again. I think the plot of this was more for the adults reading then the children. *winks*
What Sammy read:
  • The 13-Story Treehouse (affilate link)- Sammy earned this book through the Barnes and Noble summer reading program. He liked it and hopes to get the next one in the series.
  • The Worst Name in Third Grade (affilate link) - Not the greatest book, but he read the whole thing. We are working hard on reading more chapter books so he doesn’t find them so daunting. I got some better suggestions from the librarian this last visit. So be on the look out for those next month!

What I read:
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affliate link) - I read through this book in 2 days and I now am embarking on purging stuff out of my house!! I didn't agree with everything in this book but am choosing parts of it that I do want to implement!  I will never get rid of all of my pictures or feel bad for rolled socks or thank my stuff for a job well done before giving it away!  However, I will make sure everything has a place and a place that is easy for it to be put away too!
  • The White Princess (affilate link) - I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first two in the series. However, I was invested enough in the characters to power through the book!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Second Grade Curriculum Review

I never got around to sharing our curriculum choices for 2nd grade! Bad Blogger!!  But before I share our plans for 3rd grade plans I wanted to share what worked or didn’t work for us this past year!


2014-09-18 10.18.24-1Our plan was to work our way through The Picture Smart Bible. I enjoyed the curriculum and so did Sammy.  However, I didn’t feel like much of the information was sticking with him.  The overview of each book seemed to vague for him to retain.  I don’t think this was a curriculum issue as much as it was a learning style issue. 


2014-10-30 08.42.28We gave Handwriting Without Tears a shot this year.  This curriculum works really well for a leftie.  I loved that they words they were suppose to be writing were above  where they were writing so his hand wasn’t covering them up.  However, I didn’t feel like there was enough repetition for a second grader.  We were able to complete both the first grade and second grade books in one year. 


2014-11-05 09.11.50At the beginning of the year we gave Rightstart Math a shot.  It was not a good fit for us. I love the games it has and we used them throughout the year but Sammy needed a lot more repetition in order to master his addition facts.  We switched to Horizons Math and used that for the rest of the time.  This was a better fit and Sammy’s addition facts were finally memorized!! Now to move on to subtraction and multiplication! 


2015-03-24 14.24.48We used Nancy Larson Science 1 and LOVED it this year!  This was just the right speed for Sammy and he learned so much! I love the format and everything about this program!!


DSC_0005Our selection for this year was Story of the World Volume 1.  This was a hit and just the right speed for Sammy!  He learned a ton about history and really enjoyed the hands on activities we added in from the activity book


2015-01-03 18.30.25We chose to continue on with All About Reading level 3 for this year.  This was a great fit and we finished out level 3.  This program has given Sammy such a great foundation!  I have seen his reading REALLY explode this year and it has been awesome!!

Language Arts

We worked through the Learning Language Arts through Literature the Red Book.  I liked the program okay but we skipped a lot of things since we already had a reading and spelling program.  So there was a lot of busy work or skipped sections since it was repetitive.  We wont be using this in the future but I didn’t hate the program. 


2015-01-27 10.53.36We gave All About Spelling level 2 a shot.  I love the program and we will continue to use it but at a MUCH slower pace for Sammy.  We added in Spelling You See (review here) and I think this will be a better fit for him right now.  I think we will try and work on a spelling lesson a month from All About Spelling and do Spelling You See daily. 


2015-03-16 09.39.57We used WriteShop A this year. I loved the program but I think I picked the wrong level for Sammy.  It as too easy for him.  He did learn how to better organize his thoughts and write several different projects that he was proud of! 


2014-11-05 08.33.44We used several extra things this past year.  We used several workbooks from The Critical Thinking Company that we loved and will be doing again next year.  We used Building Thinking Skills level 1 and did half of the book and will finish the other half next year.  We finished the second half of the Mind Benders book 2 this year.  This is one of Sammy’s favorite school activities! We also did Dr. DooRiddles A2 book and these were challenging but fun for him to figure out.. there were a few I had to look the answer up to *winks*.