It’s that time again: the school year is about to start, and the new books and other materials are looking shiny and attractive. Picking out materials is always a favorite part of home education for me! By May (earlier than May, if we’re going to be brutally honest), the bloom will be off the rose, but I like to savor this feeling of anticipation I always have on the brink of a new year. This year I’ll have a 6th and a 9th grader, and…Continue Reading “School Year Eve”

“Perhaps I can be of some assistance — a-s-s-i-s-t-a-n-c-e,” buzzed an unfamiliar voice, and when Milo looked up he saw an enormous bee, at least twice his size, sitting on top of the wagon. “I am the Spelling Bee,” announced the Spelling Bee. “Don’t be alarmed — a-l-a-r-m-e-d.” Tock ducked under the wagon, and Milo, who was not overly fond of normal-sized bees, began to back away slowly. “I can spell anything — a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g,” he boasted, testing his wings. “Try me, try me!   The…Continue Reading “Challenges”

All things considered, school is going very well this year. In fact, it looks more like I want it to look than it ever has before. Thanks to my reduced blogging inspiration and screen time, I’m much more focused and present as Madame Professor. The girls are reading more, writing more, and being read to more. I’m more organized (I’m even making a weekly plan in a lesson planner — a big change for me!) and more systematic about checking answers and reviewing concepts. So…Continue Reading “All things considered”

I thought I should record some of the tweaks I’ve made in materials this year, as well as a brief description of how a typical school day goes. I see these on other blogs from time to time, and even if it’s not of interest to anyone else, it will help me to remember what’s working and what’s not. Fifth grade: Math: Saxon 6/5. We’ve made our peace with Saxon by implementing a few simplifications to the potentially tedious routine of fact sheet, lesson practice,…Continue Reading “Homeschool days”

Much though I like the idea of the classical approach to history — going through the whole chronology in four years, and repeating that three times at increasing depth — I have to admit that we haven’t found our stride yet. My girls have been doing ancient history this year. The Story of the World has worked well for my first grader. But for my fourth grader, who’s learning the material for the second time, it’s feeling very redundant. Early in the year we tried…Continue Reading “History Books”

As our schoolyear draws to a close, I’m stepping back (once again) to reflect on the curriculum I’ve used this year. 1. For history — Story of the World Vol. II: The Middle Ages (Susan Wise Bauer): Like its predecessor last year, this text was a big hit. I also used the accompanying activity book with maps, coloring pages and enrichment projects, and the audiobook read by Jim Weiss. Both my second grade daughter and my preschool daughter request history every time we get in…Continue Reading “Second grade curriculum review”

We’ve finished our first year of homeschooling, and I want to get some thoughts down while it’s fresh about the curriculum used in the different subject areas for first grade. Math: I started with Singapore but switched to Saxon, mainly because I needed a bit more guidance myself in how to teach the concepts. My daughter had completed public school kindergarten, and in accordance with conventional wisdom I started her about half a year behind with the Singapore Kindergarten 2A and 2B workbooks. The lessons were…Continue Reading “First Grade Curriculum Review”