Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today I spent some time updating my sidebar to reflect what curricula the boys are each currently using. We are using a few new programs this year for the first time: Tapestry of Grace (TOG), Growing with Grammar (GWG), Elemental Science (ES) and Writing with Ease (WWE) being the main ones.

Tapestry has me still in what I have heard called "The Tapestry Fog" and I have not managed to navigate my way out just yet. One of the many strengths of TOG is that it's a buffet. One of its weaknesses is that it's a buffet. ;) It takes time to figure out just how to use this program and for each family it looks a bit different. I have developed a Weekly Planning Page which I am hoping will help me use TOG more effectively. Tomorrow we begin week 16 of school but only week 6 of TOG. Clearly we need to do better here.

Growing With Grammar has been a hit with Haddon. I.just.couldn' ;) I don't know what it is, but FLL wasn't a good fit for us. GWG has been a breath of fresh air. I am more CM in my approach to grammar (delayed start to formal lessons) and have loved JAG and JAG: Mechanics with Thatcher. I plan on taking the same path with Haddon when he gets to 4th and 5th grade, but in the meantime GWG takes five minutes a day or less, is painless and very gentle. Haddon is a workbook kid and loves the satisfaction of a completed page in front of him and I like knowing I am not leaving grammar out completely. With Thatch I had more time to discuss his readings and roll more "informal" or "incidental" grammar into our daily lessons across all subjects. Now that I am schooling all three GWG helps me know I am covering the basics until we get to JAG in a few years.

Writing With Ease has been great. I really wanted a program I could stick with from start to finish and Susan Wise-Bauer has really filled a hole in the world of homeschool curricula in that respect. Haddon has done beautifully in Level 1 and truly enjoys writing each day. Yes, a first grader, not to mention a boy, who adores writing! Wohoo!!! At the start of the year, I put Thatcher in Writing with Skill, Level 1 (SWB's next level in her program designed to be started around 5th grade). Even though we completed Writing Tales 1 and lots of outlining in SOTW 4 last yearWWS was still just too much. I spent a few weeks trying to build some skills that would help him be more successful but in the end decided to back up a full level to WWE 4. It was a rough start. But we are about to begin week 10, and Thatcher is showing solid growth. I couldn't be more pleased and look forward to using this program for years to come.

I hope to post great things about Elemental Science soon, but we have not started it yet this year (a huge blushing face would really come in handy here ;) Thatcher's ADHD has been especially challenging this year as his core subjects have really ramped up and he has struggled academically for the first time since we started homeschooling seven years ago. We have always struggled to be consistent in history and especially in science and this year has proved no different. This coming week we are trying a new schedule where we do history and science FIRST thing in the morning. It is already stressing me out just to think about not jumping straight into math and writing (Thatcher's subjects that require the most concentration out of him) but we are going to try it. I reserve the right to change my mind though! :)

Well, just a few new things around SSA. Hope your week gets off to a great start tomorrow.


Andrea said...

I agree with you about the FLL - I forced it on my firstborn, more leftbrained kid but couldn't do it for the next one. We now use Simply Grammar for her. Also have found that Institute for Excllence in Writing has stopped the tears for our 5th grade boy's writing assignments.

Don't fret or blush about whether you've started a certain subject or not. You are focusing on that which needs to be focused on for YOUR kids' needs. A new or different schedule can often jumpstart learning or ease burnout! Sometimes we will take a week for a lapbook project or science project or art project and drop all other subjects just for that week - the kids love it and we feel fresher when we get back to the 'routine'.
You've accomplished a TON in 16 weeks! Be encouraged!

Raspberry Leaf said...

Thank you for posting your updates! I would love to see a reading list of what your boys, especially your 5th grader are reading.

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