Saturday, August 9, 2014

2013-2014 Curriculum Reviews!

Well, I'm way behind the ball this year. If you've been following our blog, you know it's been a bit of a roller coaster around here lately.  I will write more about that in other posts, but it is way past time to do my year-end review of what happened at the Preedy Academy this past school year!

My post last year about my picks, aiming for a more classical approach, included the following:

-Veritas Bible: Judges to Kings
-Math-U-See: Beta and Gamma
-Classical Writing: Primer
-All About Spelling 3 and 4 hopefully
-Elemental Science: Chemistry
-Memoria Press 2nd grade Literature pack
-Tapestry of Grace Year 3: Lower Grammar
-New American Cursive 2: Quotes from Founding Fathers versions
-McGuffey Reader 2
-Artistic Pursuits 2 (we'll try again) : ) 

-Veritas Bible: We got about 8 weeks into this, and I decided to just drop it.  It got really repetitive for us.   The amount of work was more than I wanted to do, especially considering that it was really teaching the kids the Bible from a scholarly point, but we were not getting anything devotionally out of the time we were putting in.  We shifted gears and began reading from Psalms and Proverbs everyday, and began working through the Westminster Catechism songs and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade.  Keeping it simple. :)  

Math-U-See:  We hit a bit of a wall the second half of the year.  Multiplication Mr. Steve's way was a little different from how I learned it, and I struggled to teach it well to Luke.  I was pretty distracted in this season with an international move, and I admit I didn't give it the attention it needed.  I decided to leave MUS behind, and try Teaching Textbooks this coming year.  I got the Teaching Textbooks, sat down and planned the first semester, and decided I really didn't like it either. :)  So I went back to multiplication with Mr. Steve, really figured it out, and taught it to Luke over the summer.  All is well now, and we're continuing with Math-U-See.   Maybe next year I won't doubt MUS??? :) 

Classical Writing: Kiryn did really well with Primer this year. I LOVE Primer.  I have used quite a few different language arts programs for K-3rd grade.  Primer is my favorite thing.  It's perfect for a second grade level.  It's everything you need in one book.  It runs on a four day week.  Days 1 and 3 focus on a  story, something from Aesop's Fables, Baldwin, or Beatrix Potter.  Wonderful stories.  The student listens, narrates, and illustrates the story.  There is a poem each week, broken up into four sections, which the student copies each day.  There is also a small section of spelling or grammar concepts each day.  Day 2 focuses on a nature study, and Day 4 is a picture study.  I highly recommend Classical Writing Primer for a second grade student.  

Once I had the books, I realized Primer was not going to be a challenge at all for Luke, so we began him in Aesop A last year.  I was nervous and intimidated by Aesop, but I spent the time I needed to spend preparing before the year, learning the program and the process.  I love this program too.  Luke's writing has really taken off, and we have a treasure of a copybook full of stories and illustrations by him this year.  

I'm very happy with Classical Writing! I did consider switching to Writing and Rhetoric from Classical Academic Press next year.  Both are great programs, but in the end I came back to CW because of it's all-inclusive approach to language arts/composition/thinking.  It is very thorough and rigorous. We'll continue with this next year for both kids!

All About Spelling:  We completed Level 3 and more than half of Level 4.  Still loving this program, it's producing great spellers. The kids love reciting the spelling rules, and spelling with tiles.  I love that I can open it up and be ready to go, and spend 10-15 minutes on spelling.

Elemental Science:  I loved this curriculum for earth science and astronomy.  The chemistry was a little bit different.  It wasn't near as interesting, and a lot of the experiments didn't work this year! : (  I also couldn't ever seem to purchase the right core book.  So that also made it challenging to figure out.  I have always planned to move to Apologia Science later one, I had planned to get through one cycle of Elemental Science and switch in 5th grade for Luke.  However, we opted to switch over to Apoogia Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.  We really enjoyed the few weeks that we completed before life got crazy and we moved to the US. We'll continue with this book next year. 

Memoria Press Literature:  We really didn't do anything with this.  Instead, we read a lot of Tapestry books, and read things that interested the kids just for fun.  

Tapestry of Grace Year 3:  Still love it.  I'm so very sold on Tapestry.  We made a lot of good memories this year, and loved learning all about the 1800's in America.  

New American Cursive: Luke finished book 2, Kiryn is in the middle of it.  Both kids have great cursive writing.  No complaints here! We'll move into Book 3 next year. 

Hindi: We didn't do any Hindi this year! :(

McGuffey Reader:  We're still working through these.  I still like them.  : ) 

Artistic Pursuits 2:  Once again, we just didn't get anywhere with this program.  Art just always seemed to be the thing that we didn't get time for, that I would leave off if we ran out of time.  I guess we'll give up on Artistic Pursuits! 

Added: Song School Latin Book 1: After doing a little more thinking and research on Latin, I decided to go ahead and start the kids in Song School Latin this year.  I was wrong in my understanding of the purpose of Latin.  It's not just to be able to read the Latin writings of the Roman Empire.  Latin has so much to teach kids about the grammar of the English language, and about word etymology.  There are lots of benefits from studying Latin, so we started this year.  We LOVE love love Song School Latin.  It quickly became the kids favorite subject.  Yes, really. I was floored.  They love the songs and the monkey match game, and I can't believe their level of retention.  They know those vocabulary words!  We'll continue into Song School Latin 2 next year. 

Check back in a day or two for my Curriculum Picks for next year!

1 comment:

  1. Love Song School Latin, too. And my olders are actually enjoying and learning from Latin for Children. I think we finally found a latin we like!! We did the same thing with MUS and came right back to it. Hang in there, even through the Long Division book. It was worth it because suddenly, in Epsilon, it's all clicking into place for our fifth graders. Just takes some time and patience to make sure they actually understand the concepts, not just regurgitate them on paper. Tricky. Loved reading this and getting your opinions!