Friday, October 4, 2013

An Aspiring Week 5: Tweaks to our Homeschool Curriculum

More then few small tweaks to our Homeschool Curriculum...

An observation...
This year we've started school strong and we have continued to move forward well. I participate in a
co-op and I noticed that my two middle children work quickly and without need for a great deal of instruction. Please do not misunderstand me, this is not a brag. It's a God given blessing and a trait both their mom and dad have. It works as a blessing to counter balance the 3 year old twins and my Curl who require detailed instructions.

Lead to a realization...
Spell to Write and Read - Spelling Rule Cards | Main photo (Cover)
At the same time I noticed this trait in my middle two children, I was still looking for an Language Arts Curriculum for our 8 year old. The book I had purchased, held in my hand, and looked upon had disappeared. I was talking to a couple of other homeschool Mamas at Bright Lights and told them I was looking for a LA Curriculum and told them what my kids were doing and I thought they might fall down in shock. I looked at what they were doing and completed and reviewed our Homeschool Distinctive and read Teaching the Trivium and realized I had lost my way. My children were completing the work I laid before them, however, I was basing the work on speed not need. I'm not sure how to explain it, except to say,  I gave them more work because they could get it done. And also because Susan Wise Bauer's book the Well Trained Mind says they should work for "....."  minutes at 3rd & 5th grades. Now it was of course useful & purposeful work but it was still too much work.

And finally a Change in Direction...
So we regained our course, this is one reason my homeschool distinctives are so helpful. I looked at what we were doing and looked for simple & inexpensive changes I could make to meet our  goals that match our distinctions.The first thing I did was revamp our Language Arts. We removed the following: Climbing to Good English (3rd) & Our Mother Tongue (5th), Daily Paragraph Editing & Building Spelling Skills. These Language Arts courses took the kiddos usually about an hour and a half to complete.

Language Arts
We began English Grammar Recitation & Spelling Rule Cards both are done orally during our family gathering. We also added copy work for our 3rd grader which will cover Spelling, Handwriting & Composition. now Language Arts takes takes the kiddos roughly 15 minutes to complete during their individual study time. Remember we do English Grammar Recitation & Spelling cards during our family gathering time for 5 minutes each so the total time spent on Language Arts would be 25 minutes.

We removed Life of Fred Math (which was a supplement) from our 3rd grader and we made it an optional activity for our highly motivated 5th grader. She absolutely loves Life of Fred!

So as you can see we have gained over an hour in Language Arts and another 30 minutes eliminating Life of Fred. We are  now regularly completing school earlier then scheduled without a great deal of  prodding done by me. Frankly, I feel the freedom I felt when we first wrote the Distinctives.

Homeschool Life this week...

PhotoAlthough we had a good week of school, I continue to wake up later then I should. Additionally, I need to follow my schedule more closely. Now when I say follow my schedule I do not necessarily mean,  to the letter of the law, but to follow the order of events, and create a rhythm in our day, which ultimately leads to a more smoothly run home.

This week we attended our HEAF Co-op. However, it was a very unsual day because I had to leave to get medication for Bubba, who was having an asthma attack. It took an inordinately long time to get the medication since the pharmacy did not complete the prescription at the time promised.So when I arrived I still had to wait. This complication made me even more grateful that the ladies of the co-op let me leave my older children to participate in the co-op activities, while I tended to Bubba's illness (Bubba has a history of asthma related hospital stays, he has Reactive Airway Disease). I did however, get back in time to lead the Mystery of  History portion of the co-op where we made a Lyre.
While the children put their Lyre's together they were suppose to listen (not necessarily watch) this video of Lyre music. But due to, Bubba's attempt to coughing up a lung while we were getting ready to go to co-op, I forgot to bring my very loud computer. Instead we just had very low phone & someone's iPad. The children none the less really enjoyed making their own Lyres.

A New Piano Teacher at last....

This week we found a new piano teacher. We have had a difficult time this year finding a piano teacher. In fact we had one lined up then some of the circumstances changed and now we have contracted with another one. The good news is the new piano teacher has loads of experience and will be able to take the girls to the next level. We definitely didn't settle with Mrs.Suzan she is a top notch teacher with over 30 years of experience and more than 40 students. It is a blessing that she had space for us since she is already 5 lessons into her year. We will start our lessons with her on Wednesday.

What else we've been up to...

So Wednesday night we rushed to Academy after our Bible Study to buy the girls cleats, shin guards and a few pairs of socks so we could start soccer on Thursday. Okay, as a soccer player I was amazed at my children's desire to have the 'pretty' cleats & shinguards (you don't even see shinguards they are covered by socks for lands sake). I picked out a good (inexpensive) pair of Nike cleats but they were black and white.

You would of thought I told them we are moving to North Korea. The embarrassment, the pain, the ugliness of the cleat was going to effect their game.... Hahaha! I did tell them if they wanted to pony up $10 each they could get a different pair that was still acceptable to Mama. Then suddenly the black & white Nikes weren't quite so ugly after all. On Thursday they meet their coaches and we spent a nice evening at the soccer park. We have previously played Upwards Soccer and this is the first time we have played in the city league.  
Each week we have different theme for Family Night on Friday and this week was "Presentation week". So the kids and I all recited poetry from IEW's Linguistic Development and our oldest played a song on the piano. Even the 3 year old twins recited the poem "Ooey Gooey" and then to top it off little Bubba said his memory verse Genesis 1:1. There was lots of clapping and congratulations as we cheered on each of our family members to do their best. After Family presentation to celebrate their success we had a make your own banana split bar. It was super fun and we are very grateful for the Watters family, who introduced us to the idea! 

There's nothing exciting here I am still reading Issac Newton and I'm slowly re-reading Teaching the Trivium.

We are linked to Weekly Wrap-up, Homeschool Mother's Journal and Trivium Tuesday


  1. I've made a lot more changes than I planned to this year. All for the better as my kids are a lot better retainers of information than the public/private schools they recently came out of gave them credit for. They are blossoming and I'm working hard to keep up with their insatiable learning styles.

    1. I've been amazed at how much information my children retain and apply during our recitation time. You have chosen two of the best grammar programs, be sure to allow them time to have fun too. :o)

  2. I just ordered the Memoria Press English Grammar Recitation book. I like the idea of putting that in family time.

    1. Oh Beth, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm glad you felt the freedom to make tweaks. I have a hard time changing things =)

    1. It's difficult for me to make changes too because in homeschooling I am such a planner. My posts are usually a few weeks behind my school so we've been at it for a while now and I'm really glad I made the changes I did. Now if I can just sell some of these books we aren't using. ;)


Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

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