Monday, December 6, 2010

It Came!

Our big box of books and curriculum arrived on Saturday!

Kid was immediately sucked into her first book selection and kept asking when Monday would come so we could start.

I'm really happy with our curriculum choice. Everything looks great.. most of the reading is Newberry award winners. I'm also happy with the way the readers (self-reading) progress, the first selection she can read easily now, the ones from week 36 are above her level. I think she'll be really proud of herself when she can look back at how much her reading skills have grown in that time. It's pretty amazing to see where she'll likely be 36 weeks from now.

There is tons of geography woven throughout all of the other lessons and we use this markable map several times a day. Kid really enjoys this, and has gone on to label every place she's lived, been, etc. I also really REALLY like the lesson plans. I got everything organized by week, and it's all pretty easy to use. I also really appreciate their constant reminders not to over do it, or get to literal with their assignments. (I can err toward that myself...) They emphasize comprehension and give questions (and answers... which is nice since it means I don't have to read her readers... I do have a couple of other things to do each day) to talk about after the readings as discussion points, but do not want the kids to sit down and fill these in themselves. That was kind of an aha moment for me since I probably would have had Kid do that and I can tell you now, 4 hours under our belt, that that extra bit may have pushed this from enjoyable to Hell. Also I enjoyed that after our Chimp reading they asked "How do chimps use tools" and they expected an answer like "They use stones as weapons." but Kid said "They have opposable thumbs."

I picked up Kid's things from school on Friday and found a Handwriting Without Tears workbook, so I ordered the Teacher's Manual and we'll pick that up where she left off when that comes in.

I feel really good about the Kumon workbooks for now. I set a timer for 30 minutes to make sure we don't go over that (that would cross over into the TOO LONG and GETTING PISSED zone... and we don't want to get into the anger zone... not with the wolves and all). She did about 25 addition, 10 word problems, and 10 geometry problems in 20 minutes this morning, which I think is the prefect amount of time for her to be focused on one thing. She got way more math done in 20 minutes than she was doing at school. She does need me to sit next to her and keep her from straying off task... but... she didn't get mad (the work isn't difficult at this point) and when she said she was done we stopped. She had asked to do math first thing to get it over with. I also know we need to get the spelling, and language arts work done then too. So we might alternate these. We'll see how it goes. I want to leave time for her to do writing and drawing as she is inspired to do (I'd really like to set up something like THIS to help foster that. Or I should say to help keep my dining room table from getting over run with papers and supplies as is currently the case.)

I do not want to fall into the trap of just repeating what they were doing at school... since that obviously didn't work for her. This is a hard balance to strike... and my head is a battleground these days. I kind of wish I had just gone ahead and bought the LA & math curriculum from the same place, since I've been shocked at how much less they assign than I naturally would... but after one day... I can see that they are right. It was just the right amount without pushing her over the edge. She was able to maintain her interest, which meant she was actually paying attention (unlike school) and we were able to have relevant discussions about, Chimps, Archeology, Geography, and our book readings. More is not better. I always have the temptation to do more... 1 chapter assigned?... let's do 4! So this curriculum and following it is a good move for me. I just need to try and come up with a similar schedule for the Language arts and math... work hard to go against my nature and just do a little bit a day.

Oh and I did manage to workout today. So maybe things are looking up for me, now that I'm not spending all my energy worried about what to do with Kid... just 95% of my energy.


lucinda said...

This sounds so perfect for her ( and by extension, you). "Because they have opposable thumbs" is of course the genius answer.

Kelly said...

Mrs F, we have the Hand Writing Without Tears in our homeschool curriculum and it is great. Also, you will be amazed at how much more she will learn in a relaxed setting. Half the time Mykaela and I will work on assignments in bed with our PJ's on. Homeschool gives so much more freedom to work in your own way and in your own time. Im glad you and Kid are liking it as well!!

Gigs said...

I think this all sounds amazing. And really, what's better than opening up a huge box of new books? I'm so impressed with you for taking it on and working it out. It's something I could never do, simply because I don't have a patient nature. Kid is so lucky. I see a lot of myself in your comments (1 chapter assigned?... let's do 4!), and I sometimes wonder if I push my kids too hard...with good intentions of course. Sigh, parenting is always such a balancing act.

Unrelated, and I know you don't have time for leisure reading, but I just read "It's kind of a funny story" (also now a major motion picture!), about a teen who becomes depressed from the pressures of his school/life and checks himself into a psychiatric hospital for five days. It has one or two pretty descriptive make out scenes, but I still feel like I really want my 14 year old to read it...

Well, enough about me! So glad you are inspired by your curriculum, and there's nothing better than Kid being excited too. Awesome.

Mrs Furious said...

"Homeschool gives so much more freedom to work in your own way and in your own time. "
Yes. I feel so much more in control of our time rather than being controlled by it. The time we spend learning is one thing... but almost more important is how this freedom rolls over into the time we aren't learning. Evenings are SO much better and enjoyable and really just family time now.

I would definitely, if left to my own ideals, push Kid too hard. As I told my mother today, the main problem is that I am a doctorate level student... and that is the level that interests me.

That books sounds good, thank you. I've actually been desperate for something to read other than people's homeschool blogs!

Deb said...

I'm in awe. Really. I'm very interested to read how you balance your time going forward and if you feel like you're compromising on other aspects of life--the house, the husband, etc--because this is a direction we may consider at a future date. Promise not to withhold the gory details?

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