We are coming upon mid-September already and school is in session for mostly everyone. For families that started early, like ours, we are already figuring out what the winners and losers are for the year. Here is a snippet of what's working so far, what's not, and what we're on the fence about.
- Saxon Phonics. We are using this phonics program for Anthony, Isabella and even Marco! I love that it's scripted and the kids haven't complained yet! It combines phonics with spelling, which I find helpful in getting the kids to understand their phonics rules. For Anthony, this is his core program. Isabella and Marco are both using the Saxon Phonics 2 program and it is completely review. It's working fantastic, although sometimes I wonder if coding all those words is helping them read proficiently. But if they are showing success with it, I can't argue!
- Famous Men of Greece (Memoria Press). We are using this for history and following Angelicum Academy's lesson plans. So far the kids love it. It's colorful and interesting to them and I like that it covers vocabulary and reading comprehension, among other things (the suggested activities are great).
- Poetry Memorization from IEW. This is super easy to do and the kids LOVE it so far! The kids recite their poetry in the morning, during lunch and then for their dad over the dinner table. It's great fun for them!
- A Nature Walk With Aunt Bessie from Queen Homeschool. This is the science I'm doing with all the kids together. It's completely from a Charlotte Mason Approach and completely fun for the kids! We do this everyday and it is something the kids look forward to. I love that it's compatible for all the kids, from Christian in preschool to Marco in 4th grade.
Runner Up. Still sitting on the fence.
- Latina Christiana. Perhaps it's my own insecurities with teaching Latin that make this program so difficult for me. Marco and Isabella do this together and they are doing well, although I'm always unsure about how well they have grasped the vocabulary. I'm hoping that as the year progresses, I'll be more confident in teaching it and the kids will continue to do well with it. For them, this is not a favorite subject...but it gets done! We are taking it super slow!
- Map Essentials. This is another Angelicum course that I have loved over the years. But now that Marco is doing his 4th grade book, it's getting more rigorous (which is great!) but less fun. And I'm all about the kids having fun when it comes to geography. Why shouldn't it be fun? It's a solid program...it's National Geographic! But I think I was hoping for something that would make learning cartography and geography more hands on. Perhaps I'll supplement if we have the time; after all, this is done only once a week.
- Vocabu-Lit. We followed Angelicum's suggestion of using Vocabu-Lit for 4th grade. The workbook is great and it uses literature to teach new vocabulary. But as we were progressing through the book, Marco began to get more and more frustrated with the work. "It's too hard! I hate it!" So I did further reading to see what the problem could be. Well, it turns out that the book that Angelicum is recommending for 4th graders is actually a 6th grade book!! That might be fine and dandy for kids who are great readers, but for the average kid...this might be a little too much. So I abandoned Vocabu-Lit and am going back to using something more grade appropriate. So I guess in the end, it really isn't the program that's a loser...it's just a loser because we were using something that wasn't suited to our grade level.
That's it! Looks like we don't really have lots of losers this year. All other materials are straight from Angelicum and we are enjoying them all. I hope that all you homeschoolers out there are having luck with your curricula. It's always a mystery as to what will work, but thank goodness that we have the luxury of tailoring our teaching to what our kids need!