Wednesday, January 27, 2016

State of the School (Part I)

We're a bit past the half way point in our school year, so I thought it would be a good time to look at what we're using.  Evaluating what we love, and what we're putting up with.

We are using several curriculum choices that we have tried in the past, that are still fitting well.

First, for math, Gabriella is still using Singapore Math.  She's doing well and moving quickly through it--I like that it is pretty rigorous as math programs go.  I picked up used copies of Life of Fred: Kidneys, Liver, and Minecraft.  On Friday's she takes a break from Singapore and does a lesson in those.

I also got Life of Fred (Fractions and Decimals) for Kate this year.  That has been a bit more challenging.  Life of Fred encourages students to learn on their own.  I love that it is story style, but as the book cautions, it is easy for a student to read too quickly and miss the math lesson inside.  I've spent many days reviewing lessons to help her be able to cross the bridges (tests) between the sections.  We're making it through, but I'm not sure that it is as good of a fit as I had hoped, so we may look for a change next year.  Kate says that she finds Life of Fred is more enjoyable, but it won't let her go on until she gets it (She sees that as a negative at this point.).  She also said that she understands Singapore better.

Both girls are also using Khan Academy and Xtra Math (free computer based math programs).

Nate is using the The Complete Book of Math: Grades 1-2.  Both girls have used the same book, and it has been a good solid math introduction for all of them.  It covers everything from number values to money and geometric shapes to graphing.  He says he liked graphing with candy, money, and cutting out shapes.

The girls are using Sequential Spelling.  It works.  It isn't exciting, but it's spelling.  It has suited Kate better than Spelling Power did, though I did like that program.  We might try it with Gabby at some point, but for now Sequential Spelling works.  Both girls agree that they don't like spelling, and there isn't anything that can make it better.

Probably my favorite curriculum choice is Visual Latin.  I can't say enough good about this.  We purchased the DVDs, but you can also subscribe, so if you want to try it for awhile and not have to buy it, you can do that too.  We are going sort of slowly.  The first few weeks we kept a lesson per week (they have several parts and a test), as they were largely review of things we'd learned in Song School Latin (I & II).  Now we're taking about two weeks per lesson.  The girls are correcting their own assignments, as we go over the answers, so they see each lesson twice.  The teacher (Dwayne Thomas) is funny and he works hard to make Latin relevant.  We plan to take three years to go through the two year program this way.  At that point, we will discuss if they want to continue in Latin or try a different language.  Gabby rates this class as 'Acceptable' and Kate gives it 'Troll' (if you're up on you Harry Potter OWL scores).  They are definitely learning though--they both got A's on their latest test.

I'll write about some of our other choices another time.

* I don't gain anything from the reviews--no affiliates, etc. *


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