Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gearing up for school - really?!?

I have to admit, I didn't really want to accept the fact that school is only 3 weeks away. I almost wanted to plug my ears and sing, "La, la, la, la, la!!" But then I started reading everyone's posts on my friend Rodna's blog, and I actually started getting excited! You homeschool moms know what I mean - glossy book covers, new curriculum, all the fun of digging into new kits and models almost makes me giddy every year. I had to stop and take stock of all that we'll be doing, and I'm so glad I did!

Just to remind everyone, or let those new followers catch up, this school year I will be teaching a 5th grade boy, a 3rd grade girl, a 2nd grade boy and keeping track of a very busy 3-year-old boy! Okay, I'm already tired...but it's all good, I know Who sustains me even on the busiest days! ;)

We will be using My Father's World for the second year. We started the 5-year family cycle last year and will continue with year 2, "Creation to the Greeks". I absolutely love everything about this curriculum! We have a lot of flexibility, but plenty of challenging and stimulating material as well. Mr. Hazell, the creator of MFW, always gives us a variety of books that open us up to the world around us, but never fails to bring the glory of it all back to our Heavenly Father. For those of you not familiar with MFW, check out their link here. MFW's basic package covers our bible, history, geography, science, and copywork. We all learned so much last year, I can't wait to get started on the new stuff!

Along with the basic package, I decided to buy their recommended art curriculum, "God and the History of Art". It will coincide with the lessons for the next four years of the family cycle. Each child gets their own set of paint and marker cards. They will use these to learn about and apply the methods of many great artists.What an amazing journey this is going to be!

We have used Math U See from the beginning. My kids love the videos, and they are all strong in their grades. I believe in this progam wholeheartedly, mostly due to the fact that Mr. Demme encourages the use of manipulatives. I'm so thankful we found this principle early on - I can't imagine ever switching math programs. Connor will be working in Epsilon, Chloe will be in Gamma and Canon will be in Beta.

We had a rough time in English last year. We began the year with MFW's recommendations and decided at semester break that we had to take a different route. Connor is not a strong speller, and it has hindered him in his writing. His drive for perfection has prevented him from even trying at times - unfortunately, a trait that is so like his mama! So over Christmas break, I shared our dilemma with a friend. She turned me on to Shurley English.

I wasn't certain if it would work for us, and honestly, I was hesitant to even try. But I knew it couldn't be worse than what we'd been doing. To my surprise and pleasure, the kids loved it - especially Connor. He is such a type A personality: loves structure, wants a plan to follow, absolutely hates creative writing time! With Shurley, he is putting rules to memory, then drawing from that knowledge to diagram sentences and compose paragraphs. He has had a few writing assignments that he has used Shurley's processes, and they have gone smoothly. He still dislikes writing, but it's not a fight anymore. Praise the Lord! He and Chloe will be doing Shurley 4 together; Canon will be using Primary Language Lessons.

Primary Language Lessons is what MFW recommends for 2nd graders. It is a classical approach to teaching Language Arts that I really enjoy. It gives me some time with Canon one-on-one, which he sometimes doesn't get enough of! I'm so looking forward to this time with him and watching his little imagination work.

For Spelling, all three will be using the lists from Spelling Power, but plugging them into a website called We bought the family membership this spring for $25/year, and the kids have access to practice time, tests, games and vocabulary. I don't let them move on to a new list until they have gotten a 100%, so they work at their own pace. The site keeps track of all their scores, and I can even print it all out for grades if I choose. Check out this great website here.

We will continue learning Spanish as a family with Rosetta Stone. We bought the program in the fall and let the kids just play with it in their free time. We will now be putting it on the weekly schedule. Muy Bueno!

On top of all this, we will be starting Play His Praises Orchestra, continuing co-op with Lighthouse Christian Academy, participating in monthly field trips, and pursuing different sports throughout the school year. Whew! :D It is sure to be an amazing year, and I'm so happy to get to share it with you all. Blessings!


  1. I'm following you from the crew! I'm interested in what you think of Primary Language lessons, it is one I've looked at for my son.

  2. Hello! Ill be watching for posts about MFW CTG. We will start the 4 year cycle later this year or next year and that particular year really interests me the most. Blessing to all of you for a wonderful year together!

  3. You are right, we have no curriculum in! I have heard wonderful things about MFW though. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  4. Wow! I have got to get busy finalizing our plans/schedule for this school year. I really want to start August 22nd. I think I can...I think I can..

  5. OOOH, I would love Rosetta Stone!

    Thanks for linking up with me. It is always fun to see what others are doing.

    I am now following you too!