Monday, January 21, 2013

New Year Changes: Update on Our Schooling

We are finally there. The plan is to start moving in sometime towards the end of the week! While we have been living with my parents our schooling has changed quite a bit. Add that in to having a house to take care of and animals to come shortly and it has meant our schedule will be changing quite a bit too. We have also made big changes to our curriculum and schooling methods.

 Brianna, has been struggling to retain math facts. I started her 3rd grade math over, ditching Teaching Textbooks as I noticed she was having a hard time transferring skills from the computer onto paper. My initial thought was that she needed more of a hands on type of curriculum but I really think now that it is a learning difference. She is very easily overwhelmed by audio instruction and TT and even my very hands on teaching approach was frustrating her and in turn me. She has similar problems with grammar. Last week, after considering many options, including sending her to a 2 day a week university model school, I decided to just take a step back and allow her to learn as independently as possible. Obviously, she can still ask for help any time she needs it, but for the most part this has been working really well. She asks for help, I give her a small instructional session and then she moves on. No flitting from topic to topic as the teacher review had me do. I found through the last chapter she stopped asking for help about 2 lessons in and was doing fantastic work! The week prior to this she would forget what we talked about within minutes of reviewing it. She is still having some trouble with her grammar, but I will just continue to have her practice it until she gets it. Since Keira learns so easily she is also doing this.

We added Institute for Excellence in Writing to our curriculum. I am loving it so far. We did do the student book for a few weeks, but I find myself lamenting spending that money and wish I would have just gone with the teacher set. Once we get settled into our new house and routine we will be ditching the student portion and using our own paragraphs. I will definitely continue using the teacher portion though.

We are ditching formal science and history for the time being. Considering Brianna's difficulties in math and grammar, I want some time to grow her skills in the basics. We will use a living book approach to the both subjects and I am planning on purchasing the Apologia notebooks and having the girls fill them in with not only the Apologia books, but also other library books and online resources. Historical fiction found mostly through Sonlight will also be added to our reading lists.

Keira is now on the gymnastics team. This has been an adjustment for sure. For right now we are at the gym three hours a week, but realize that as she progresses this will increase. Brianna is taking art. Thankfully, within a few weeks this will be happening on the same night as Keira's gym and I will be able to drop her off at a dear friend's house while I take Keira to the gym. Soccer season also starts back up soon. I made Keira choose between gym and soccer and she chose gym, but Brianna will be playing so that is another practice to add in. Luke's indoor season just finished and we decided to give him another year or so before committing to an outdoor season. So just in case you didn't get all of that, we are at the gym 2 times per week, art 1 time per week and soccer is at the least 1 practice per week with anywhere from 1 to 3 games per week. It looks like quite a bit, and is, but when you consider that there are three children with 3 different interests, it is really unavoidable and as long as I can manage it I will do everything I can to support their interests.

As much as I appreciate my parents willingness to let us live in their house, take up their space and eat their food, I am ready to have my own space again. I am looking forward to getting us back onto a strict real food diet and dare I say, I am looking forward to having a house to maintain!

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Rachel E. said...

I am glad to hear you will be settling in again. Sorry to hear about the schooling hang ups though. I decided a year ago to slow down with the kids. I figure if they don't get the math, there really isn't a reason to speed up. I stopped grading papers and decided to only grade tests. If they fail it, then go back.

Anna said...

For sure Rachel. There is no point in frustrating them and you. That is why we homeschool right? So that we can slow down or speed up as needed!