Changes…

I read The Well-Trained Mind a couple weeks ago taking lots of notes and gave the kids reading and math assessments and debated and finally ordered the rest of everything we need for next year and a few things for this year.

For the rest of this year, we’re switching to Math-U-See for all three boys. Math Mammoth was great at first, but then we got to a point where it was trying to teach 3 or 4 different ways to do something (like multi-digit multiplication) 3 or 4 days in a row (hello, terrible implementation of Common Core!). This spelled disaster for Fritz. Even if he already intuitively understood one of the methods, having it explained to him in different ways in rapid succession confused the heck out of the boy to the point he could no longer figure out how to do it at all. The second half of Math Mammoth pre-algebra is supposed to come out this spring with no specific release date. Cameron is almost done the first half so we don’t really have time to wait and hope they release it on time. I think the videos and blocks and other manipulatives will be very useful for the boys, so back to Math-U-See we go. Ani didn’t mesh very well with Math-U-See when she was little. The blocks bugged her and she mostly refused to use them. She decided she wants to try Math-U-See Algebra II next year, though, so all four will be using Math-U-See by fall.

Based on the outcome of the reading assessments, I am switching Fritz from Spelling Power to Spelling Workout and adding Explode the Code and Beyond the Code for Adrian right now.

A few other changes will occur in the fall. The way we do reading, at least for Cameron, will change a bit. Instead of assigned bits of reading a chapter a day, he will have an amount of time he needs to read and will work through a list of books and will discuss them with me. I will probably not do that with Fritz, but keep him doing reading the way he did this year (read a chapter, answer comprehension questions) for one more year.

Cameron and Fritz will be adding word study to their day. Cameron will be doing Vocabulary From Classical Roots A & B and Fritz will be doing Vocabulary From Classical Roots 4. All three boys are adding cursive handwriting. Cameron will be using New American Cursive, Teach Yourself Cursive, Fritz will be using New American Cursive II, and Adrian will be using New American Cursive I. I’ve never taught cursive to a kid as young as Adrian (he’ll be 7). We’ll see how that goes.

Cameron will also be adding grammar study using Voyages in English, grade 8 and formal logic using Traditional Logic I. In addition to the regular outlining he does to add to the history I do with all the boys, he’ll be going through four Jackdaw primary source document portfolios (Reconstruction, The Russian Revolution, The Easter Rising: Dublin 1916, and Cold War and the Super Powers) at the appropriate times during the course of the year. I think the Easter Rising one will be especially meaningful to him since he has visited Kilmainham Gaol where many people were jailed following the rebellion and saw where some of the participants were executed. Adrian will also be adding Writing With Ease 1.

Religion, with all three boys, will move on to modern day prophets and their teachings. Since there is no curriculum that covers those, I will be making it up pretty much as we go along (since we have General Conference in October and April, very current teachings can be added through the course of the year). In science, we’ll be switching to Elemental Science Physics for the Grammar Stage. Unfortunately, Pandia Press doesn’t have a Real Science Odyssey curriculum for physics so we were forced to find something else. The only other thing we are adding is Classical Academic Press Latin for Children A for the boys. I’ve used part of that in the past with Ani (and Cameron was along for the ride). We got stuck at the same point twice. Hopefully with the boys being a little older it’ll go better this time.

I might start using spiral notebooks for their assignments. It sounds like a pretty good idea. Everything else we’ll continue on with the curricula we’ve been using (First Language Lessons 1 and 3 on to 2 and 4, Writing With Skill 1 on to 2, History Odyssey Early Modern on to Modern, etc.).

Ani is planning to move from unschooling to a little more structured school as she finishes her last two years of high school and prepares to enter college. Mostly, this is through live classes from the Well-Trained Mind Academy and a correspondence class or two from BYU Independent Study.

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