First, some housekeeping. Knut and Silje had their family party last night with all of the grandparents and great-grandparents and siblings. It was fun as always! I just so barely had enough cheesecake, so something to expand on next year. I’m glad I made cupcakes too or I would have been in trouble!
The kids finished up VBS today with their AWESOME program, and sadly…I left my camera at home. This picture was from the first day. We did get the c.d. of VBS music on it to take home, though, so if we’re lucky maybe the kids will re-enact it sometime.
However, the most exciting thing going on at our house has been the last of the homeschool curriculums are here! It’s all in!
From our first impressions:
Chinese…haven’t popped it in the computer yet. So no big impression 😉
Apologia Science “Exploring Creation Through Astronomy” —
Seems pretty good for the age level we’re dealing with, and none of the projects seem to difficult. Silje and David have both “stolen” this book off of the shelf and ran to another room and hid with it so that they could look at all the pictures in it. There are some great ones! David has now made a big announcement that he will no longer be a race car driver when he grows up. He now wants to be an astronaut. For him, that’s a pretty big change! He was surprised that this was a book for Silje’s school next year because “this is a boyish book!” Silje doesn’t seem to think so, but I think we won’t need to do an awful lot of convincing to get him involved in our science lessons next year.
I made the mistake of opening up the student workbook before the teacher’s manual, and got totally freaked out. It looked so hard that my jaw dropped and said to myself “what have I done? Silje’s advanced but not advanced enough for THIS!!!” Fortunately, I got to the teacher’s manual, and spent an entire evening reading through the first 10 weeks of lessons. Much to my relief, I think it will be as awesome as I originally thought it would. It is deep grammar stuff, but it’s presented through arts and crafts, and imaginative stories and songs and raps. Silje is going to love it.
However, they could put a little more effort into organizing the children’s workbook, and dare I say, put something fun looking in it? I mean when I was in Advanced Grammar in college at least my teacher gave us a dragon mascot to cheer on when things got boring. I mean, there’s not a cartoon, doodle, nothing. Not only that, but the word finds in there don’t even look like word finds. It’s like someone put a word find into an excel spreadsheet and printed it off…lines and long rectangle cubes and all. Plus, it’s confusing that you don’t go through the workbook front to back. The first time you crack it open is to turn to page 86 to do an exercise. I just think it’s not organized terribly well, though I do see what they were trying to do.
I’m not sure yet that I would recommend the program yet, though. I think it will be great for Silje because she’s a solid reader. I know not all 1st graders are reading the books she is. This does not have phonics, and assumes that the student has a firm grasp on reading. This makes me want to be sure that David is reading, and reading well before we attempt this program with him in 2 years. If he’s not by then, we may pick something else. He’s already sounding out words though, and this program is 2 years down the road for him.
It does not have spelling either (vocabulary words, but I think those are too difficult to start spelling.) So I’ve found a great teacher’s website with spelling lists, and I think I’ll start Silje on the 2nd grade lists this fall. The first grade lists were primarily 2 letter words with a few 3 letter ones sprinkled in, and I think she’d get bored with that.
What else? Saxon Math–
I have not gone through the huge box of manipulatives out of fear that the kids will get to them and little blocks will be scattered across the house. So for now, they are sealed in their box and will probably stay that way for awhile. I need to get a 3 ring binder for the math workbook, and haven’t dared open it until I have one for her. However, the teacher workbook has each workbook page on a small scale, and goes into extreme detail as far as scripts to use when teaching the math. I think that level 1 was the right one to get for her, and I think she’ll do well in it.
As you can see, Silje was eager to jump right in. She grabbed a book on archeology when we opened them up and was telling me all about it already.
This came in a big box! (The other box was the Saxon math from them.) The inside of the box had lines drawn to show how to turn the box into a castle for the kids to play in. Can we say they understand families? Knut and I got a good laugh out of that. The part of the core 1 that we got is divided into 3 sections: History, Read-Alouds, and Readers. It comes with a big wipe-able map to mark whenever we come across a place in one of the books, and a big timeline book with stickers to mark major events in. Core 1 covers creation to the fall of Rome…so quite a span.
I’ve heard from several sources that core 1 can easily cover 2 years of schooling, but after we saw all of the books lined up, we thought “Silje’s going to read through these 4 times this year.” So we’ll have to see how it goes. People said that there’s no way you can do every single thing in the curriculum, and after going through the teacher’s manual, I think it might be easy. No that’s a totally newbie talking, so we’ll see how far we get by the end of the year. My goal for this curriculum is to get at least half way through by the end of the year. Knut’s goal is to make it “make it” to Christmas! The good thing about it is it does give “optional” discussion questions for each chapter of each book, and I think that Silje will really benefit from doing those with us. She tends to speed through books, and we’re pretty sure her comprehension doesn’t always match her reading ability. This will help her slow down and think about what she’s reading more, and help her notice those little details in books.
The books are fabulous. There’s no better word for it. The read alouds look fun, and rotate from girl to boy heroines/heros so that boys and girls enjoy them equally. Even for David there will be things that are “boyish”. The sheer number of cultures talked about and touched on surprises me. When they say “World History” they really mean the whole world! I can tell that this curriculum is supposed to be a jumping point for the kids to do related projects and searches in the library.
We were surprised, though when everything we ordered from a variety of places all fit on one shelf that I cleared off.
Well, more liked shoved everything on that shelf onto the one below, so I’ll need to do a bit more rearranging. Knut took this as a big hint that he’ll need to finish the bookshelves in the den one of these days. I didn’t intend it that way, but I’ll take that as an added bonus.
Now that everything is in I’ve read through at least the first half of the year in each of the teacher’s handbooks, and read at least the back of every book that we’ll read together, and read little snippets of each one. I’m coming up with a list of goals and a list of school supplies for the upcoming school year, and trying to assemble a basic time line. I’m probably doing too much, but this is my first time attempting this, and I don’t want to miss anything. Making these lists and more lists help me sort through my thoughts, and hopefully by this fall I’ll be feeling more confident!