Goodbye Saxon 2 Phonics, it was nice tearing those five million flash cards apart for no reason.
Goodbye Christian Liberty Press Phonics Book A – I bought you but hardly used you.
My world has changed thanks to reading a book I should have read before I ever started CC. This is why they tell you to read the book before you start. It saves you a lot of time. So CCers, if you haven’t read it, particularly new CCers with little ones, READ IT NOW.
- Get your child reading proficiently before you move on to anything else, like history or science. If they can’t read it, they can’t learn it.
- Don’t worry about kindergarten. Don’t do workbooks. Just work with them on their letters and sounds. Read the book and see how well Susan Wise Bauer and her brother did without workbooks and all sorts of fancy things. Letters and sounds are all you need.
- Reading is the key to an excellent education and a sharp mind.
The old rundown was: Saxon 2 phonics (includes spelling), Saxon 2 math, First Language Lessons, CC
The new rundown is:
Math (Saxon 2) 30 – 40 minutes a day
Spelling (using Saxon 2 phonics sheets) 10 – 15 minutes a day
Grammar – First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise 15 – 20 minutes a day (it never takes him this long)
Writing – The Complete Writer Level One by Susan Wise Bauer 5 – 20 minutes a day (this takes the place of phonics)
Assigned Reading – 20 – 30 minutes a day (this will come from the historical material relevant to what we’re studying in CC, generally)
Classical Conversations – Cycle 1 15 – 20 minutes a day
Independent Reading – Whatever he’d like to read 30 – 60 minutes a day
Music and Art – violin at least 3x a week for 15 mins a pop
We also do our work in this order, generally. His little brain is best equipped to do math first thing in the day – and it gets it out of the way. It takes the longest of all the subjects. I am going to supplement the Saxon 2 curriculum with the iPad app Math Board if there aren’t any addition/subtraction problems given during the day’s lesson to keep him sharp, because boy, they will lose those skills quickly. He loves playing Math Board and it will allow you to save player’s data. He was so proud he got 100% on his last round – a first for him! I was proud too
All this said, getting him to DO SCHOOL is another matter. He hates it, he starts whining as soon as he wakes up, says he hates homeschool, that he won’t go to the elementary school down the road either, he hates SCHOOL. Fantastic attitude, kid. We raised you well.
Well, let me amend that a bit, he does and he doesn’t hate school. He loves the Complete Writer book that’s taken his phonics book’s place. It includes copy work (doesn’t like that), narration and dictation and he is captivated by the stories in the book. She uses excerpts from classical literature. The first story she used was from the Little House in the Big Woods series and Henry wanted to read the rest of the book NOW. Sadly, they don’t make a Kindle version so we’re going to have to go to the library. I am planning on buying the set – we need it for our little homeschool library (yes, I’m making one, we have three kids to school) – but I don’t want to spend the money right now. He frustrates me.
But he is a WHIZ at Legos. He can see something online and go into his Lego room and replicate it down to the last detail. He looked at one of the Heroica games and built his own. I didn’t understand or know what the heck it was until Dave explained it to me, but Henry created a dice game all on his own and he and Dave were actually able to play it. He’s six. Six! And he created a board game! So maybe he can just do that for a living and school is a moot point. He says he just wants to live with us forever, that he and his future wife (Kaelynn – head’s up, Jenn) are going to live with us, in separate rooms (no grands for me, I guess) and live with me and Dave forever. Well, I have always found Kaelynn adorable and entertaining so that will be alright and she can wash my hair when I get too old to do it myself.
Ah homeschool. Some days I love you. Other days I wonder why I was insane enough to answer your call.
I kept changing things up until this very week but I think it’s set in stone. I think. Yes. It is. Maybe. YES.
So here goes as far as core subjects go for both boys:
Prima Latina by Leigh Lowe – We aren’t learning any Latin vocabulary this cycle in Classical Conversations so I decided now was the time to go ahead and use this book. It’s divided into 26 lessons so we’ll do one lesson each Tuesday after CC. Henry will do the memory work as well as the written part and Rhys can listen along and do the memory work. Sarah can circle us and be cute.
This book teaches something like 125 Latin phrases and words, and several prayers in Latin. It will be a nice supplement to what they learn in CC and will help us illustrate the different cases, declensions and conjugations we will learn this cycle.
First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise – This book supplements Henry’s phonics/spelling book and introduces him to english and grammar. She uses memorization of terms – the first lesson teaches the definition of a noun, which both boys know, SCORE – and the second lesson teaches a poem which reinforces the concept of memorization but also introduces the medium of poetry. Both really like this, to my utter shock. They’re even making up poems of their own! So far we’ve also covered common nouns and proper nouns. I’m looking forward to lesson #5 tomorrow. I love the way this book is laid out – the lessons are short, concise and to the point. The material is easy to digest and retain and she uses excellent examples. It may outpace Rhys at some point, but he’ll get a second dose of it when he hits first grade, so no biggie. We’re just going for the one-room schoolhouse effect here.
We’ll be using this series until 4th grade when we transition into the Essentials program in CC and switch over to the books they use. A BIG “thank you!” to my neighbor Christine who recommended this book and lent me her copy! I bought my own, so I need to return hers. THANK YOU!! :)
Classical Conversations - I’ve got my trifold board going on, two out of four History of the World books and one workbook so far, the trivium geography map…all sorts of things. CC is going very smoothly this year. I don’t have the CDs yet (the uh, things that are most useful) but they’re supposed to be here Friday.
Core subjects for Henry:
Saxon 2 Phonics – It’s phonics, what can I say? I really like the program. Word to the wise: unless you have a child who you KNOW is going to have a hard time with the material, don’t bother to tear the colored flash cards, they are supplementary games. I have never used them and tearing them was a HUGE waste of time. My only complaint is that the readers they include STINK! You can use them, but they seem way too easy in my opinion. We are supplementing our phonics program with lots of reading based on A Reader’s Guide K-12.
Saxon 2 Math – I really like this curriculum too, I love the way Saxon is laid out, it just works well for us. I’ll be honest and say we skip the meeting book stuff. I don’t like it, it’s beyond redundant and we just don’t have time to squeeze all of it in so it took one for the team. Bye, meeting book. From what I’ve read, we are not alone in doing this, it’s quite common. I really like the variety of skills Saxon works on simultaneously, it keeps the curriculum from being boring and rote. There aren’t a ton of problems and it’s not overwhelming. In fact, sometimes I think it’s a bit too easy, and this is coming from the mom of a 1st grader who is doing a 2nd grade curriculum (and he HATED math last year – this year he breezes through it). Whatever – I’d rather it be a little too easy than too hard and frustrating. It will get hard soon enough! Hello geometry, algebra and calculus!
Core subjects for Rhys:
Saxon K Phonics: I’m waiting on this to be delivered so I can’t review it, but I imagine it will be just fine, like all the other Saxon products. I am one of those Saxon-phile moms who gushes about their love of Saxon products. SAXON!!!11!1!!
Saxon K Math: Maybe. My friend Haley has it right now. We might start it whenever we get it back from her. Still not sure if I have time/want to bother with it.
And that’s it! But before I go, I must share this. This is the greatest homeschool tool I have ever purchased and it’s thanks to my friend Mandy. She blogged about having one and it stuck with me. It is the Desktop Apprentice. I decided months later that I must have one too. So on tax-free weekend, I bought one, and paid tax on it because it wasn’t considered a schoolish item. Whatevs. It is awesome. EVERYTHING I use (minus the notebooks for my CC timeline cards and the History of the World books) fits in here. I just carry it over to the table each day and voila! School is ready to go! I love it – go get one AT Staples, don’t order one online and pay $44. They are only $25 in the store.
Erm, typing, I guess.
After talking to several other CC moms, I’ve decided to can the Shurley English. They said it would be too confusing for the kids when they get to Essentials. SO – if you are interested in purchasing my copy of Shurley English I, please send me an email through the contact section.
I’m also trying to get rid of my Veritas Press timeline cards – all four sets – from Creation to Modern Day. Send me a message about those too. I’m asking $80 but this is negotiable, especially if cake is involved.
Back to what we’ll be doing next fall:
CC is on Tuesday
Saxon 2 Phonics (M, Wed – F)
Saxon 2 Math (M, Wed – F)
Prima Latina (W,F) – this is still a maybe.
Reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, reading. My neighbor suggested this reading list from Classical Academic Press and we’ll start going through it this summer, cleaning up the K section, getting ready for the 1st grade list next year. We already have some of the books, but we can find the rest at the library, I hope! If we miss a day of phonics for reading, just as well. My neighbor also said that he may not need the entire year of phonics (Praise the Lord, I am SICK of phonics and so is he!) and might be ready by Christmas to take the bull by the horns and just start reading and writing. I hope this is the case!
CC is on Tuesday
Saxon K math (W – F) (could probably do Saxon 1 but I don’t have it and I’m not going to buy it)
CLP phonics (M, W – F)
Prima Latina (W/F) if we do it, and if he’s interested in listening to the CD. The bookwork is too advanced for him.
Reading to him/reading with him if he gets that far, he’s only 4.
Reading to her.
- Homeschool for Free: Learn to Read (amyswandering.wordpress.com)
It feels like I’ve been neglecting my blog so I figured I’d give it some love today even though I have nothing organized to share. No theme, no story that ends with something my kids said, just me blabbering.
Let’s see…I’m reading The Litigators AND Crazy Love simultaneously. They’re such different genres, I’m not getting my books confused for once. I’m like the last person in America to get on the Francis Chan bandwagon. I’ve known who he is for years but I mentally grouped him in with Rob Bell and Steven Furtick and dismissed him as a narcissistic flake who writes fluff books less about God and more about himself and his feeeeeeeelings. He’s not like that AT. ALL. In fact, in the first chapter he tells you to get over yourself, that God is King and the world is not centered around you. So my apologies to Pastor Chan for thinking him an emergent because there’s some really good stuff in this book. This is an ebook and I tried not to laugh when I came across a typo that quoted scripture and included the phrase “Glory of the Loin.” No, I did not not giggle again. It’s like a biblical commentary of the “wicked Bible.” (Shout out to Amanda who hath shewed me thine heretical printing press errors. Shout! <— there it is.)
Sarah continues to get up at 4:30 am every morning for a feeding, I’m getting her a nutritional IV by the way, and I continue to get about 6 hours of sleep a night BUT I also get several hours alone each morning, so bonus, I guess. I can’t go back to sleep once I’m up, my body just flatly refuses. I like the stillness of morning, but it would be nice if I could get up at SEVEN and have until NINE before people woke up, versus 4 am to 7am. Henry, you can read, and I know you look at the blog, let’s try to make this happen.
AH! Speaking of Henry, I think I streamlined his curriculum and schedule for next year. It goes as follows:
Monday – Classical Conversations (might be another day, don’t know yet)
Monday – Friday: Bible reading – I will read to them, we’re going to try and read the whole, extremely detailed and gigantic, children’s Bible that belonged to me.
Tuesday – Friday: Saxon 2 phonics and reading
Tuesday – Friday: Saxon 2 math
Tu/Th: Shurley English
W/Fr: Prima Latina
Friday – Science Fridays! We’ll do a science-y thing. (yesssssss, I listen to it sometimes…)
We will finish the Prima Latina book, but I don’t know about the Shurley english. I think you have to do it every day to get it done in a year. I just don’t think he can handle/NEEDS english every day. We might do the parts of speech jingles each day, but I don’t have 45 minutes to devote to an english lesson when he still needs to work on phonics.
I am really excited about the Prima Latina book. He will learn 125 latin words/phrases over the course of the book and it’s divided up nicely and gives a dialogue to use so I am not just sitting there going “Do it.” I also switched from Christian Liberty Press to Saxon for phonics for several reasons: one, I hate the CLP book, it’s cut and dried and boring to me, he’s not crazy about it either. I do NOT have a way to liven it up. It’s a great curriculum in theory and substance, it’s HARD and he’s learned a lot so he’s got a good foundation. But enter a big, giant negative for those of us who were not teachers in a former life and/or are not creative when it comes to giving a lesson some zing and it becomes a horrible curriculum in my opinion. I’d already bought Rhys a copy of both student books and he wants to do them (he started yesterday) and I want to scream at him to run! It’s boring! But he’s a lot more patient when it comes to schoolwork than Henry, so it may be okay for him. He cares not for pazazz, just give him rote material and let him go.
Random musing: the CLP book IS a good foundational book for phonics. Maybe I can use it on Rhys and Sarah when they begin learning phonics to give them a good, solid foundation and then switch to Saxon in 1st grade like I’m doing with Henry. I’ll have to pace Rhys because he’s wanting to start the book in earnest NOW and he’s pre-K. It’s going to be too hard for him, I think. No, I know. He cannot write well and you’ve got to be able to write to do the book with any success. Well, we’ll see.
I’ve decided that over the summer I’m going to read Saxon 2 math and phonics, Shurley English and Prima Latina from cover to cover. Maybe I’m supposed to do that, but I didn’t do it with any of his K books. Next year will involve a lot more work, both the math and english curriculums (and probably the Saxon phonics but it hasn’t come in the mail yet) call for a lot of extraneous manipulatives (I miss you already, cut and dried and rote and manipulative-free CLP!) so I’ll have to gather those up each day/week.
As far as CC goes, I’ve already printed out all the paperwork for the tri-fold board for next fall’s cycle. Well, minus math or latin, one of those. I’m almost out of toner so I have to replace the cartridge before I print any more large projects. I don’t need it NOW so I’m not going to waste the last of my ink on that, I’ll print and organize it sometime after the ink completely runs out and I’m forced to fork over $5,000 for a new ink cartridge.
I just typed and erased “I can’t believe Rhys is starting CC” but he’s already doing it, ha! He blends right in. His speech is not as good as say, Henry or one of the other older kids (or really, any of them) and he has trouble saying some of the big words, but he’s doing really well so far. I cannot BELIEVE the child got up and gave his presentation on his green motorcycle toy just like a big boy. Just walked right up to the front of the room and started talking, making eye contact, telling all about his motorcycle. This is the shy child who wouldn’t SPEAK in nursery. He’s thriving in class, it’s amazing. I wish now I’d signed him up at the beginning of the year, but who knew? And he was only three and our program didn’t have room for him at the time, nor did it have any three-year-olds. The Durham program, which was (? I heard it shrank) much larger had some 3′s, but our Raleigh group is small and barely had room for all the 4 and 5′s. He’ll be in his own class without Henry next fall but I think he’ll have the same tutor (yay!) so he should be just fine.
Also, I cannot say enough good things about our church. If you’re in the Raleigh area and are looking, send me a message and I’ll give you details. It’s amazing to see how God led us to the CC group, which then lead to this church. I almost signed up for the Durham CC group because it’s closer to our house, but met the present director of the Raleigh group and Dave and I liked her so much we spontaneously decided to write HER a check and join her group, despite the drive. SO GLAD WE DID! And it was not a coincidence, it was a (brace yourself, Andrea) “God thing.” (she loves that saying). We’re going to the second class needed to join the church this summer and then finish the process. I said to Dave the other day, “I want to join [church]” and he said “I thought that was the point?” I just hadn’t made the proclamation, I guess. Even though it’s large, I am starting to recognize people, which is nice. We already know a dozen or so folks, but I’d like to get to know more. The pastor said they had 1100 people there for Easter! That’s very cool that THAT MANY folks came out, even if it was just one Sunday a year, maybe a seed was planted. Honestly, I don’t know how you could visit and not want to go back, the message and the worship are that good.
I am growing out my fingernails. Yes, I bite them out of nervousness. I painted them and that’s actually helped me not bite – my left hand, anyway. I showed them to Dave last night and said “Look! I am growing my nails out!” all proud of the small amount of nail I’d accumulated. He said “I can’t tell.” Thanks!
Actually I do owe him thanks for getting a parasite off me. I scratched my back Monday night and felt something new and weird in the middle. It felt like a skin tag but I knew I didn’t have one there. I said, “Is this a skin tag?” Deadpan, like he’s telling me it’s a paint dot he says, “No, it’s a tick.”
GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!!!!!!!!!!
He got the body but then the head broke off. So he had to gouge into my back with a pair of (I hope) sterile fingernail scissors to dig the head out. I hope they were clean, otherwise this blog will be renamed “Life Without Peanut Butter and Mother” which is really depressing.
I think I’ve purged my brain now. Good day to you all!