Friday, May 15, 2009

Lesson Plans for Summer

Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student. ~George Iles

I homeschool throughout the summer and I have been rather busy lately making some changes in our homeschool curriculum, as I typically do for summer anyway. We have come to a close with a few of our courses and I had been considering whether to go on with the next level in some or change our direction even further away from textbooks and workbooks to the approach I really wanted to do: classical with living books and journaling.

The Princess' writing skills have improved so much and she has the desire to write, but I have held back because it seemed to me that her spelling was not sufficient for what I hoped to do, (I wrote about the curriculum I finally designed here) yet I feel now with what I am seeing in her that she will progress faster in that area as she journals. In the last few months, she has gone through an intellectual growth spurt, if there is such a thing, and seems to be able to get through her lessons much faster and with greater understanding, even in math.

For the most part of the last two years, the Princess has struggled with subtraction. When we were to begin subtraction with regrouping a few months ago, I had her review the entire previous course in Miquon on simple subtraction first, which she went through very quickly. It was the concept of subtraction that she struggled with originally, those take-aways. She is definitely not one to like things taken away apparently. Once we got beyond the review, we were confronted with regrouping. This took a lot of creative work with manipulatives and we worked on different methods of resolving the equations day after day for weeks. I felt that having her work the subtraction problems from left to right would work best for her as the different approach distinguishes the subtraction equation from an addition one clearly in her mind and it is actually a faster method for her as she focuses better.

The Princess is coming along with math very well now. The few mistakes she makes are mostly from losing focus on a particular problem rather than lack of understanding or ability go through the steps to resolve equations. She is solid with the techniques we have covered so far.

Following Primary Mathematics (Singapore) Math, a concrete to pictorial to abstract approach, as our spine and supplementing with Miquon Math, an observation, investigation, and the discovery of patterns approach, we are currently into measurements, weights, and volumes. In a few days, we will be doing a review of all she has covered and then starting multiplication. This is where the Princess is going to take off on math, I believe. She has been multiplying and identifying multiplication patterns on her own for nearly half a year.

In retrospect, I think I could have dropped subtraction for those same months and gone on the multiplication and then back to subtraction, with her intellectual growth spurt working in her favor. I could kick myself for this one, because if I had prayed about it and listen to the Lord's leading, I am sure that it would have worked better, but I got into that trap of teaching to the text, instead of teaching to my daughter with the text. Still with repetition and patience, she now understands subtraction and she is excited about moving on to multiplication.

We finished our Language Arts curriculum a few weeks ago and I have been just playing around in that area, testing her to see if she was ready for a different approach or if it would be best to continue with the next level for the one we were using. I have decided to start the first level of Classical Writing, Aesop, as I believe it will be challenging, but not too much so. It is a lesser known curriculum, but it is exactly the type of classical approach I have wanted to use and this will also help train me in teaching the analysis and imitation methods that were used to train some of the greatest minds in history. I usually find curricula on my own, but for this one I have my friend Pam to thank. I doubt if I would not have ran across it on my own. (I know you stop in once in awhile so...thank you, Pam!)

We are finishing Level 2 in our Classical Latin course, "Latin's Not So Tough," and will continue with Level 3. Classical Greek using "Andrew, Teach Me some Greek," also in Level 2. For French, we have Power-Glide's Junior Adventure, a completely different approach called Diglot Weave, and it seems that this program is no longer available directly from the producer as they have gone to an online course, but is still around through various dealers. I also have it in Spanish, but that will be for a bit later on.

We just started a study on the first days of Creation which will split off into a guide for science and kick off for world history. Something of my own design using various resources of science reference books and curriculum I have on hand. I put up a timeline for Creation Week and I think we will have fun with that because it involves arts and crafts.

We also started a unit study which is a bit of everything geography, history, writing, etc., called Beautiful Feet's History of the Horse and took an unscheduled break from it, but will doing it two or three days a week. I am looking forward to using Beautiful Feet's History of Classical Music a bit later on also.

Speaking of all I am planning... I have to work on it now.

My Lord, seems I am still the student. I am still learning, not only academics, but how to teach my daughter and how I need to seek Your Will to educate her as You desire.


  1. The Aesop's looks really interesting. I ended up ditching all our writing programs. They were driving me nuts & Ditz hated them! The only way to learn to write is to write. Dictation, which we do do, is where you practice what good writing looks & sounds like. Ditz actually likes grammar worksheets. Strange child. She has some dysgraphia so what really motivated her to write is doing NaNoWriMo one year. It really got her inspired & she hasn't stopped creative writing since though getting her to churn out stuff for school is still something of a nightmare. I also believe lots of reading of good books helps with writing & spelling well. PS doesn't really encourage reading so lots of students are poor in the other 2 areas as well.

    I have seen this *plateauing* out academically & you are right. Often it is better to leave an area a student is struggling with & come back to it later. Often their developemental/cognitive skills have caught up to the curriculum & they progress much better.

  2. It is not hard to find good curricula these days, but it is rare to find a curriculum I feel was written just for us. Classical Writing seems to be one of those. We did dictation with Language Lessons, which is the course we finished recently. I am glad that decided to hold off starting Classical Writing last fall. She was ready in many ways, but I felt it would be better to finish the one we started.

    I have seen children stall out also. Thing is that you are never really sure if it is just a temporary thing or not, until later.

  3. Seeking; I meant to say. You mentioned wanting to see how I preached. I actually write out the whole thing though I use it as notes rather than reading straight off it but you're the 2nd person who has asked me about this. I put up the stuff I'd done on the old blog for MamaO & have started transfering it to the new site. Therefore a new blog has been added ~ Between the Silence. I have my ideas on Job up there now but it may be a few days before I can get any more up. I didn't keep a lot ~ about 4 in total ~ & they are hardly earth shattering but you're welcome.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.