I spent a little time last week pondering what was working and what wasn't with our homeschooling. And if you made it all the way through that gargantuan post, I thought you might like a little update.
We're still just barely into it, but Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space is already a much better fit for Hanna. We're finding it to be far more clearly written, easier to understand and much more engaging. Each unit can also be completed in two days a week, with a little review added in on the off days. That satisfies my need for Hanna to still be learning about science, but without overwhelming her.
I raced through The Complete Writer last week, and as someone who has always loved to write...I found it to be right on. Caleb began working through the Level 1 Workbook on Monday and the short lessons are perfect for his writing ability and attention span. Hanna is working on outlining and learning to see the structure of well crafted writing. We'll focus on this for a few more weeks and then begin to add in some short compositions. I've stopped our daily writing prompts for a time. If the kids want to write creatively, they always have that option but I'm not going to push it right now.
This photo is another new thing that's really been working well for us. I love the idea of the Workbox System, but it doesn't quite work for us. Instead, each afternoon I've been creating a file folder for each child with the next day's math pages, spelling review, handwriting and any other projects we may be doing. For Hanna, I've also been including a check list of her entire day's assignments. This has definitely been helping our mornings run more smoothly.
One of our biggest changes has been allowing Hanna to work primarily at her desk in her room, and that's a hard one for me. I like having both kids at the kitchen table for most of our school time, but add together one pesky little brother and one sensitive older sister and you get a daily time bomb just waiting to go off. Hanna is more focused with the quiet she craves, Caleb is more free to get his wiggles out and the day has been far less combative. All good things, and Hanna can always just come out to the table with us whenever she wants or we're working on something together.
I was able to spend a little time today working on the next stages of our evolution and planning out our next blocks of curriculum. We'll be adding grammar and a more formal art appreciation program very soon, as well as changing the handwriting curriculum I'm using with Caleb. The simple act of making letters is still a struggle for him and we need to go back to the basics. As I watch him write every day, I am so thankful I discovered Charlotte Mason methods and narration in particular. My boy who finds writing painful can easily narrate back anything and retains everything (even months later).
A few more homeschool related projects: Hanna wants to study Amelia Earhart, so I'm working on that . We're going to start an Olympic unit next week to go along with the Winter Olympics and our Ancient Greece studies (I'm up for anything that gives me an excuse to watch more coverage). I'm also starting to work on putting together a unit on trains to help us prepare for our train trip this summer (although after looking at the measurements of our roomettes, we might be better off practicing sleeping on the coffee table!). And I'm still trying to figure out the best way to work Bible study in.
More evolution to come!