Hello! Here's an update from the Happy Elf Homeschool! The school year is almost over and I've promised the boys a vacation from school if they finish everything!
We're using BJU Press Bible Truths curriculum. We've completed about seven of the ten units. I would highly, highly, highly recommend this curriculum to anyone. But most especially I'd recommend it for those parents who are a little shaky on the background behind the Bible passages they want to study with their children, and for those who enjoy colourful maps, background on the characters in the Bible passages, and missionary stories as related reading. You could nix any literature program and focus on just this if you wished. Add in the recommended CD and you can sing some of the hymns that go with the character trait (for example, love or faithfulness) studied in the lessons.
It's very expensive. But I think this would be about the last thing to go if I had to pare down. It's that good. Naturally, we'll be continuing our BJU Press Bible Truths curriculum next year for fifth grade.
English and Reading 2009 - 2010
Somehow the state of Missouri counts "Communication Arts" and "Reading" as being distinct subjects. I'm lumping them together anyway as a subject, although I do count the particular hours we spend reading separately in the log book just to cover my hiney. Actually, when I log my hours down, I put the Bible studies under "Reading" because the entire curriculum is based around reading Bible passages and learning about them. This school year, we've also finished BJU Spelling 4, Landmark's Freedom Literature curriculum (uses McGuffey's Third Reader), many Great Illustrated Classics, and several other books, some with social studies tie-ins.
We're almost done with Chapter 11 in the BJU 4 English and Grammar curriculum (of 16 chapters). Hoping to finish that by July 1. Right now, we're in the chapter that works on verb tenses and I love seeing the progress Elf and Emperor are making. It wasn't too long ago that "runt" would have been listed as the past-tense form of the verb "run" by one of the children, and "rundided" would have been listed by the other. And in Spelling we've improved from spelling does "dozz," and are now spelling it correctly after about six months of the transitional "dose" spelling. Now we're working on READING THE DIRECTIONS so that whole sections of the workbook don't get done incorrectly.
Yes, I actually DO teach the children. It's up to them to learn. They'll do even better next year! :)
English and Reading 2010 - 2011
Moving on to Rod and Staff for fifth grade grammar. We'll use BJU Spelling 5 even though our literature program has its own spelling component. It's a weak spot (obviously), so I bought it after Elf and Emperor said they wanted it this year. I'm also going to use Landmark's Freedom Literature (uses McGuffey's Fourth Reader) again. You have to love a curriculum that posts a big WARNING on the inside cover that assures parents that only the King James Version of the Bible is used in all instances, except in such cases as other versions are specifically referenced to show their errors. Aaahhh... can't fall too far into the "liberal leanings" ditch with that one. :)
Social Studies 2009 - 2010
We have two LIFEPAC History and Geography fourth grade level workbooks to get through. Considering we've done longish units on the Civil War and China, that's not too bad. Right now, we're working on the "Mountain Countries" LIFEPAC which covers Peru, Switzerland and Nepal. It does an interesting job of comparing/contrasting the cultures and talking a little about Hinduism and Buddhism. I have some extra materials on the Incans and Mayans to share with the boys. Some are public school books and I also bought a second-grade level reader about the subject with many colourful pictures.
Social Studies 2010 - 2011
We'll kick off a study of Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, followed by a world history overview. I'm particularly looking forward to learning about world history with them. You wouldn't believe all the materials I've collected over the years about Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Well, maybe you would. It's in a BOX downstairs, waiting. I sometimes wonder how much of the World History we'll get through, because that in and of itself is a full-year curriculum for older children. Well... we'll get through what we get through.
We're working on Teaching Textbooks Grade 6 and Singapore Maths Grade 5. They are actually very compatible even if the label states that they're a grade apart. I would highly recommend using these in tandem if you want a maths-focused school. Emperor in particular is becoming more fluent in maths as he gets older.
We're almost halfway through both of these programs. When you use TWO full curriculum providers in the same subject, and do every exercise, it does tend to slow you down a bit. I do think that the repetition and practice and switching of particular problems (fractions here, angles there, now a word problem, etc.) helps retain the information.
Elf is starting to forget his multiplication tables, and I'm tempted to take a week off our progress in math just before we start our new school year to focus on this. He can still do the work, but he is adding and adding in his head instead of just KNOWING the answer, and that holds him up. He has also taken to cracking his knuckles during math, playing with his eraser and not concentrating. He does well with constant direction, but he needs to learn to budget his time.
Continuing with LIFEPACs in science through our next year. We have never tried any other science curriculum yet. I like the colourful books and the easy-to-read type. Some of the hands-on experiments are difficult for me to do *correctly,* though I suspect this is a problem I would have no matter which curriculum I picked. So we're pretty happy with it.
OK, those are the basics I'm required to do by law. A little about our other subjects:
In art, we've done various little crafty projects and making a little project at Home Depot each month, but have not followed a set curriculum. Year after next, I will have to get more serious about this, although I don't think either child shows a serious inclination toward the subject. Next year, we'll be doing little things like sticky tile mosaics and Ancient Greek mythology colouring pages. Fun kid stuff. :)
In music, the boys learned to play a couple of simple songs on the piano. Our resident teacher needs to be corralled for more of those magical $5 lessons over the course of the next school year.
Typing? Have that maaaaade in the shaaaade. We have a new typing program on the computer and it is working out absolutely fabulously. I have already taught the boys where all the keys are on the keyboard, but when I'd do the high-school-type lessons I got on them, I'd get a lot of, "Wait! Going too fast. Now I lost my spot. Hang on!" about every other word I'd dictate. I'm trying to teach them to not look at their hands whilst they're typing. This way they can look at the thing they're typing or the thing they're copying onto the keyboard.
And an odd subject: weekly trips. It could be a simple trip to Wal-Mart, but as you know, getting into the vehicle and going ANYWHERE with the four smaller children just makes me want to freak out. Woodjie doesn't do so well... Elf and Emperor are all jumpy about stuff, and Rose? Does just fine. And she's the only one I haven't bothered training, but have let grow up all wild and stuff. NOT FAIR. I'm sorta over that "not fair" thing sometimes.
But I think other people don't get how doggone hard it is. I am tryyyyying to teach Emperor things like not kissing other people's babies (Ugh! On the mouth! And then the mom tells him he might not want to do that because Tyler is sick today... I hope she is lying to get him away from kissing her little boy... ughh...) or telling other customers that he is really a baby giant... well, he just pretends... and there are Pokemon that evolve and get smaller did you know that but some are usually only girls and some are usually only boys but most can be either and my mom asked me not to tell you how baby pokemon get here (it's in the daycare center, I'll just tell you that much but Mom says that's distur- okayokayokayMombutjustonemorethingstoptryingto pull me awayyyyjustasec) and did you know his first word was, "Kitty?"And where do you live?
And I am tryyyying to teach Elf not to correct the grammar and theology of the people he encounters in the store. I am calling it "social skills" class. We really should do this twice a week, but honestly speaking, once a week plus Wednesday and Sunday church is stretching it for me.
Thank youuuu for reading this far. You're a true friend! :)