Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm baaaack!

I haven't posted since September 28? What a crime. A shame indeed. We've done sooo many interesting projects, read so many engaging books, went on field trips, played games, traveled and now we're here.. 28 weeks into our school year. I still have at least 8 weeks left, and I'm not going to let my previous absence deter me.

For the most part, things have been going well. However, ds has done much complaining overall, and we have listened to his complaints. He wanted more projects, we're working hard to offer him even more projects. Who would have thought my son liked hands on stuff? Hands on is not easy for me, but I'm starting to see its educational and emotional value, and enjoying the projects as well. We work on projects in History (SOTW-1), Natural Science (Young Discoverers Series books), and ds is in Cub Scouts, where he does work often on crafts and projects as well.

If I could sum up what ds enjoys doing, it would be reading and projects. This is why I'm seriously considering (but not sold yet) using WinterPromise's American Story I in Third Year. However, I love doing my own thing and planning my own books, as time-consuming as it can be. I may just get a few good project books and have a go without an actual curriculum. Don't fence me in is my motto.

I'm busy planning the following year, ds' Second Year (I prefer using Years as opposed to grades, a la Harry Potter). So far I have lots of juicy living books I can't wait to sink my teeth into and know ds will love (he loved the books selections in Ancient History and literature this year). Here are the sure materials I will be using:

Story of the World Volume 2 - The Middle Ages and Activity Guide (SOTW -1 is a big hit, for both ds and me)
Poetry for Young People Series: Edna Vincent Millay and Rudyard Kipling
The World's Greatest Artists Series (Mike Venezia): Giotto and Titian
The World's Greatest Composers Series (same author as above): Beethoven and Tchaikovsky
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) K-2: 12 more threads
Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl and Teacher's Guide put out by My Father's World
Natural Speller
Young Discoverers Series: Butterflies, Bugs and Worms (Insect studies this year)
Florida Wildflowers
Eyewitness Explorers Rocks and Minerals
English From the Roots Up

Items I'm still waffling about:

Spectrum Phonics 3rd Grade
Spectrum Spelling 3rd Grade
MCP Math Book B
Miquon Math
MEP Math (free curriculum online)

MCP Math is going okay. It just may be that ds just doesn't like math (like I did - oops!). However, I notice he gets into doing math hands-on, I just don't teach math hands-on very well. To me, MCP Math works as a teacher, as the teacher's guide is excellent and provides hand-holding for a teacher who's insecure about teaching math. It fits me to a T. However, I can see how ds would find it boring, and tedious. I'm not entirely sure it gets the job done either. I wonder if he would understand concepts better if he had another program. On the other hand, I don't want to be constantly switching programs and as a result, end up with gaps. I do supplement with Miquon, but I need to step up and read the Annotations beforehand instead of just handing him a sheet. Do the Miquon activities with him, pique his interest, spark his learning. I think with Miquon I can do this. I like Miquon, even if it is a bit baffling at times.

MEP Math. My newest discovery. I'd heard about it, but didn't even give it the time of day as I didn't have a working printer from the computer I normally use. That problem solved, and MEP Math is a very attractive alternative, or supplement. As much I don't like the idea of juggling too many math programs, MEP appeals to me, and I think will appeal to ds as well. A big part of the attraction is that it's free online, so I can test it out, print out as many pages as I see fit, and have a go at it. Not sure how it will work to actually teach, though. What I've seen so far has been intriguing, and the worksheets look very, very interesting and would appeal to my ds.

I'm having ds take the test first, and see where he is. I had him take the Singapore placement test, and I wasn't pleased with the results. He scored as if all our 28 weeks didn't matter at all. as if he could start all the way at the bottom of Singapore. Not pleased at all. This is the reason I'm thinking perhaps MCP is not working as I thought it did. But then I see glimpses of understanding, and I'm not sure anymore. It could be simply that he's not ready developmentally, emotionally, to do the subtraction or to really get a grasp on the subject. I should know this, having been there myself.

Thus far, I believe trying out MEP is not going to hurt, and may even be beneficial. I think continuing MCP could be a good foundation for ds, and adding in Living Math book selections once in a while doesn't hurt either. Ds really digs the I Love Math series so far. We also do occasional Family Math games, which is hard for me to do, actually. I don't know why. When I make the effort, we both have fun.

Would MCP, Miquon, AND MEP be too much? Or perhaps do 4 days of intense worksheet math, and Fridays do a Family Math game, Miquon Math? Can I replace MCP with MEP? Should I? These are questions that I don't see any definite answer to just yet.

No comments: