Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I've tried different French curricula through the years, both for high school and for younger kids, and have hated them all! The books feel like a strait-jacket, sapping creativity and the joy of teaching (which definitely diminishes the joy of learning on the other side of it).

So, with the hand-holding and encouragement of a friend, we're tackling French differently this year and it's going very, very well.

I thought I could start my olders and youngers together and split them after about six weeks, but that didn't work. I ended up splitting them after only about two weeks, but it's been good. I'll outline what I'm doing for each level in future posts.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Okay, so I haven't been planning on the blog. I've been playing around with Numbers and finally figured out how to use it (thanks to a friend who is much smarter than I am!).

School has been moving along well for 12 weeks now (with two Sabbath weeks) and I thought I'd post an update.

Our routine looks like this:

Morning Time: prayer, Scripture (the same one all week, the text of next Sunday's sermon if I can figure out what it is); reading from either Piper's Don't Waste Your Life or Spurgeon's All of Grace; either a paragraph of three from Plutarch's Lives or a few poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, our poet of the session. On Fridays, after reading Scripture, I hand out a copy of a work of art (associated with our history study, if possible, but not always) for the kids to sketch while listening to a piece of music I want them to become familiar with: this six weeks it's Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Spring.

English: altogether we parse and diagram one sentence, right now we're working through the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V; when we get to the figures, we'll do one each day. We needed to spend less time on this each day so we'd have time for their other work.

Spelling with the littles: I'm combining Tricks of the Trade, Touch-Phonics, and The Natural Speller; we do three words each day, one rule per child, but they all learn the rules the others need; we'll have a spelling bee soon, which the kids are really looking forward to. The kids look in their reading or other work for words to go with their particular rule.

Math with the little girls: I've been working with the girls, letting them solve their equations on the dry-erase board and attitudes are quickly improving, as are skills and enthusiasm for math; I'm also finding that it's contributing toward better relationships. And now that we've been doing this for several weeks, they're beginning to work more independently and do more in their books.

After lunch, we tackle French (both upper and lower levels - more about that in another post), reading aloud, reading silently, correcting math with the older kids, listening to history narrations, Gileskirk lectures, science lectures, and anything else we need to finish up.

Whew! It sounds like a lot, but we're getting so much done and enjoying the time together!

I'll try to post more about planning and French, soon.