2012-2013 Homeschooling: where are we now? (Secular)


Side view of our schoolroom

Side view of our schoolroom

It’s been a week since my last post, but we’re still here! Just busy in real life. After Hanuka break and a few days off with Daddy, we’re back to our regularly scheduled homeschool. You may remember I have a third grade boy and a kindergarten age boy. I posted about our plans for each – click the links to review:

So where are we now? Well, some things we’ve finished, some we’re enjoying, some we really don’t like, and some things we tossed out altogether. OK, and we have some new things. (Once we get back into our regular schedule after all the breaks (we took days off with Daddy and all of Hanuka off), I plan to post about our schedule bli neder.)

Ready for the breakdown? Here’s the secular part:

Third Grade (About 10 hours a week total): 

  • Language lessons: we’re almost done. We’ve found it to be a good review of a lot of concepts ds8 knows, and although we skip the copywork, ds8 likes this book well enough.
  • Beginning word roots: DS hates this, and so we do a lot of it orally because I think the foundation is important. We’ve gotten through most of the book, and once it’s done, it’s done. And we’ll be happy!
  • Sequential Spelling: This is one spelling “quiz” each day, and ds8 didn’t love it, but did just fine. It’s many days in a row with the same words – they go by family, but it’s just the 90% of the same words again and again until they start a new family. Now we do one spelling test a week and have returned to Explode the Code (it’s an awesome series for phonics and spelling. There are 8 in the series, and he is on 5.)
  • Editor in Chief: Proofreading. We finished the book and ordered the software for the next level up since ds8 wants to do more learning on the computer and likes it better.
  • Handwriting without tears: With ds8, we’re up to cursive this year. Still plugging along!
  • Teaching Textbooks 3: Love. It’s entertaining, ds8 loves it. We’ll probably finish early.  He also loves doing the Wrap ups and Daily word problems book. He has given many lessons to his younger brothers on the Montessori bead cabinet, too. One thing we added: Times Tales DVD. It’s helped with the upper tables memorization, even for my ds6 (yes 6, he just had his birthday!)
  • Daily geography: Continues. Easy and fun.
  • Zoology, Flying Creatures of the Fifth day: We ditched the accompanying notebook but have been enjoying reading this together and doing some of the experiments. Now if only it would warm up so we can see some more insects! (Ds8 also helps with our experiments for ds6)
  • Story of the World: We’re through book one and on our way to book two – this is something everyone sits in on. And we just bought the cd set, which means the kids can listen to what they’ve heard whenever–they love it in the car especially!
  • Logic: Critical thinking puzzles and skills are good fun for all. We’re almost done with this one because the puzzles are fun.
  • Typing Instructor: We tried it, but it starts out with the whole home row and neither child could go anywhere with it. And we tried it multiple times. They really didn’t like it. So we moved on to a FREE resource: http://www.typingweb.com/tutor/ It’s got lessons and games, and is more fun to do. And you can keep track as a teacher (see everyone at once) or just check them out individually. Did I mention it’s free?

Kindergarten (Maybe 5 hours a week of formal school?):

  • Language lessons: We’re basically done with this book. The poems and art were fun, and the review of letters was too basic. But ds6 (just turned 6!) enjoyed doing these.
  • Easy reading books: Now I’m reading and Bob book sets. Still practicing with these and many others!
  • Handwriting without tears: Loving it. Still needs some review, still some reversals, but he’s still working his way through!
  • Go for the code: Finished! Now we’re almost done with Explode the Code 1, and about to move on to Explode the code 1 1/2 (They have 1-8, plus halves for more practice of each. Since ds6 is still slowly reading his way through, we’re going to stick with the easier and more familiar before branching out more.)
  • Magnatab: Fun, and something they still play with. They trace the letters on this magnetic board with beads.
  • Mathematical reasoning: Ds6 likes it, and has less than a week’s worth of work left. Then we’re adding in Kindergarten Math Made Easy, mostly for more practice writing numbers and because he enjoys doing math workbooks so much. Ds6 has a fantastic grasp of math concepts and it’s more for practice with writing than concepts.
  • Inchimals: Done the first day. No joke. Did I mention he likes numbers and math?
  • Montessori bead cabinet: Still getting lessons from his big brother and working on it.
  • My first super science kit: These are fun, but we basically do a big batch of experiments in a row instead of one a week. Why not? Everything is already out, and they build on each other. (Ds6 also sits inwith our bird watching and reading for ds8).
  • Beginning geography: Done. Fun, but easy.
  • Geopuzzles: Still good for some fun for all the kids. The country shaped pieces are tricky, but interesting.
  • Logic: We’re on book 4 of 4. He likes these a lot!
  • Story of the World: We’re through book one and on our way to book two.

It looks like a lot, but it’s really not that much: I’m guessing maybe 5 hours a week for ds6 and 10 for ds8. And add to that lots of books, discussions, history trips, practical exercises (yes, that’s code for chores!) and more. Bli neder, I’ll put up a few more posts on our homeschooling in addition to the regular content I want to post.

Any thoughts, folks?


About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.

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