Yesterday, I shared my plans for my 8th grade daughter. I started with her because I have fewer loose ends in her plan. I have a very good start for my son, who is entering 6th grade, but there are some subjects that aren't fully decided yet.
- IEW (various)
- All About Spelling
- Peterson Directed Handwriting
- Keyboarding Skills (EPS)
- Pathway Readers
- The Bridge to the Latin Road?
- Winston Grammar?
- Grammar Island/Town/Voyage?
For the last two years we've been using All About Spelling and absolutely love it. We took a break for summer and will continue in the fall. I didn't want to halt spelling entirely over the summer, so I picked up IEW's Phonetic Zoo Level A, which can be used independently (in stark contrast to AAS). I think it compliments AAS nicely and I'll have ds continue, since it isn't very time consuming. I also like to use SpellQuizzer to practice words that are consistently wrong.
For handwriting, we will continue with Peterson Directed Handwriting. This is a program I never would have known about if not for my participation on the TOS Crew. I had all about given up on writing, but now have some hope that this can be a functional area. We'll also continue with typing skills using Keyboarding Skills put out by the same people that publish Explode the Code (EPS). This program is the old style top spiral-bound flip books with no bells and whistles. I found that the fancy computer programs were too distracting. Ds has actually been through the book once, but I think a quick run through might be a good idea since I've noticed his finger placement on the keyboard needs some correcting.
We've used Pathway Readers for years. Ds doesn't need much help with reading, but I like to have him read aloud to me somewhat regularly to correct pronunciation and work on general enunciation and voice inflection while reading. I like the short passages and simple stories, usually with a moral attached. Megawords will help with vocabulary and spelling as well. I'll work this in as we have time.
Now grammar is the one I'm really having trouble with. We used Winston Grammar last year, which is straight-forward, has minimal writing, and seems just about perfect for our needs. However, things just didn't seem to stick long-term. I added Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar Island into the mix toward the end of the year. However, what I'm seriously considering for this year is going back to The Bridge to the Latin Road, a review item from two years ago. I liked it when we used it, but the writing requirements were too much for ds at the time. I need to give it another look now. It is based on the Orton-Gillingham approach, which is geared toward dyslexics, and I seem to recall it being mostly grammar. I need to make sure I don't bog ds down with numerous time-consuming programs, though. We have so many programs on our shelves (many, many more not listed above) and so many areas that we need to work on, that is is hard to not overschedule for this subject.
Lastly, I just purchased a reasonably-priced used Linguistics Development Through Poetry Memorization, an IEW product. I'm not sure if we'll use it, but I think ds will benefit from the memorization and speaking required. If I don't use it this year, it may be something for the future. This item is hard to find used at a decent price, so I picked it up when I had the opportunity.
Whew...let's move on.
Things are a bit fuzzy for history, though for good reason. So we can concentrate on other subjects that need more work, I've decided not to lock us into a firm history plan. Plenty of historical fiction will be read, likely from Sonlight Cores 3 and 4, to coordinate with the Sonlight 100 my daughter will be studying. We also have All American History that we dabbled in last year and may go back to this year, though at a slower than normal schedule. I also have Story of the World, Volume 3 (he read Vol 1 and 2 last year) that he may do informally. All this to say, I really don't have a strong plan, but have many, many options sitting on my shelves should I decide I really need something more structured.
- Lightbearers (Summit Ministries)
- Guitar lessons
- Theater production (spring)
My son doesn't have the theater bug as badly as my daughter (as in he doesn't constantly surf the 'net for local auditions), but he really enjoys our annual spring play through our homeschool group.
- First Lego League
- Lego Moviemaking Class (in-person)
This fall, he'll also be taking a Lego Moviemaking class with the a Star Wars theme. How cool is that? Talk about combining interests!
I'm really resisting adding a "Things that I'm unsure about or want to do but not sure how to fit in" category as I did with my daughter. There certainly is plenty in that category for my son. However, I'll consider this year successful if the only thing we do it move forward and closer to grade level in the writing and spelling area. I really want to keep that a focus, so will resist the temptation to dream adding more to the schedule.
My two biggest challenges with homeschooling are over-scheduling and wanting to try every program out there. While the Language Arts department looks a bit overwhelming, I think I have a very good plan of focusing on one needed area, sticking with the tried and true in others, utilizing already owned materials, combining with my daughter's studies, and keeping flexibility in non-essential areas. Now to just figure out a schedule for it all!
Make sure you visit the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop over a Heart of the Matter to read how others are planning for Curriculum Week this week.