Friday, September 11, 2009

I can't believe what a joy it has been to get back to serious homeschooling with Big Sister. With her reading falling into place last year, and her overall willingness to learn, it's been a breeze these last couple of weeks. Her attention span is miles beyond what it was just a year ago, and we can work together through the morning, moving from one subject to the next, and the time is flying by. It's a little creepy how well it's going.

Some of what is helping it to go more smoothly is settling on a few key bits of curriculum that we're both equally happy with. Still loving Singapore Math (just about ready to move on to Primary Math 4B), with some math games, and multiplication review thrown in. Still using Spelling Power, which I'm not convinced is helping her to retain words past the week that she studies them, but is at least systematic and modifiable to fit our needs. I have noticed that as she's reading more, her spelling has improved, or at least her ability to recognize that a word doesn't look right. We've been using a workbook for modern cursive (which she chose as the style of cursive she wanted to learn) and adding in some additional copywork to help her become more comfortable with the flow of the writing.

We just started using Four Square Writing Method for grades 4-6 for writing, and Big Sister was immediately hooked. I chucked Writing Strands out the window then and there. This was our second try with Writing Strands, and we both found it excruciatingly dull.

I bought a subscription to Aha! Science through the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, which she is really enjoying. We've been supplementing lessons on astronomy in Aha! Science with activities and reading from Exploring the Solar System: A History with 22 activities, as well as additional biographies of famous astronomers.

We will likely flip back and forth between science and history this year, still using K12 History. I think it will work fine to finish a unit in one area, and then switch gears to do a unit in the other subject.

Other than that, Sister is continuing her outside activities from last year. She's still taking drama through Studio East, and she's starting her last year as a junior girl scout. New this year is a weekly spanish class that she'll be taking with three other girls. All these activities start next week, so we'll see how our schedule holds up!