It sounds like you are so
"calm and collected" about your first year of Homeschooling. I am so proud
of you! I was a total MESS and I spent a fortune on boring text books and
supplies that the girls looked at for a week or so and then God finally
gave me the smarts enough to put them on the shelf and let the girls LEARN!
move joining HSLDA. It is SO worth the annual fee just for the peace of
mind. I think their last statistic was that the number of homeschoolers
more than doubles every year!! What does THAT say about our government
Don't worry about Mary's
math and Grammar/Language Arts. I would recommend first doing some FUN
"assignments"...you know, the kind that the kids don't even recognize as
"school work"! By doing this you will have a chance to observe a few things...
#1- her style of learning (i.e.-audibly, hands-on, etc.) #2-you can get
a feel for where she's at/what her needs are...or in other words..."a starting
point" and what I think is most important #3-Mary AND You will have a chance
to RELAX and to realize how much FUN it is to learn...as opposed to the
burned-out boredom that comes from thick textbooks, uncomfortable desks,
crowded classrooms and some school officials "cookie cutter" imagine that
they think that ALL kids at such-and-such an age or level HAS to know at
such-and-such a time. (Hope I'm making sense...it's hard to type in slang...
hee hee). My ideas' for FUN activities would be.... cooking/baking for
measurement/math...as well as reading recipes, following directions, gathering
information/supplies, compiling info. (recipe collections!), etc, etc.
Play "Store" with either real or play money (if your house is anything
like mine you'll have much more of the latter...), counting and sorting
blocks, crayons, Cheerio's, or whatever....showing her what addition, subtraction,
multiplication, division actually LOOKS like..rather than just seeing numbers
on a paper. And some fun Grammar/Language Arts ideas: play "Hang Man" (the
old word game that we played as a kid...hope ya know what I mean...), have
a "Spelling Bee", lots and lots of reading aloud together on the sofa,
the front porch swing, at the park, etc. Create her own BOOKS! Either make
one with paper and staples or buy the cheapo blank ones, start a COPY WORK
collection...this is something all 3 of my girls STILL do and their in
grades 7,8 and 12! What copywork is (in case you don't know) is that Mary
would find a good quality piece of Literature, a famous quote or poem,
etc. and she would sellect a favorite passage or paragraph and she would
then COPY it word for word into her "COPYWORK NOTEBOOK", being sure to
include the author and the date. My girls have enjoyed doing this because
they now each have a wonderful collection of wonderful selections of their
favorite authors and poets (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Emily Dickinsin, E.B.
White, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, etc., etc.). In doing this copy work,
not only do they develop an appreciation of good literature but they are
able to observe and dictate CORRECT Grammar and word usage, vocabulary,
those are just a few ideas
that we have used ourselves over the years.
And then later on...once you
all are more comfortable and relaxed...then you will probably want to atleast
get a good Math Curriculum. That is the one subject that you almost HAVE
to use a text. For me...math was always my toughest subject and I was really
scared I'd not be able to sufficiently teach it to the girls. But then
I found SAXON math. i love it! It is VERY easy to teach...each lesson explains
the new skill step by step in an easy to understand format. And old skills
are constantly reviewed. Abeka has a good Math text too but it has been
my experience that it always seems to be advanced...for example if I need
a 8th grade math book for Erin I would order Grade 7.
The way that I have taught
Grammar/Language Arts is that most years I would order an Abeka Spelling
book for each of the girls. I love their spelling books! They actually
include Spelling/Vocabulary/Poetry in the same book. And then I'd quiz
the girls each Friday on their spelling words...the ones they missed would
be added to next weeks list..until they learned the word. (I've never understood
the sense in marking something wrong on a kids paper and never correcting
them...showing them what they did wrong and then having them to learn it
correctly! Doesn't make sense!!) Sorry...didn't mean to get off the subject
there :o) As far as Grammar...I have found a few wonderful resources that
I've used for each of the girls. One is called "Learning Grammar Through
Writing". This book has the student learn grammar by using it... they write
a creative writing essay, book report, science composition, etc. When I
grade the written paper...I use this text ...each grammar rule has
a code...for example..."PLacing a question mark at the end of a question=A3"
so if they wrote a question but left out the question mark I would just
write "A3" next to it. Then I gave them back their paper...and they then
had to look up the codes/rules for any mistakes. This helped them to learn
the rules of Grammar. As the girls have gotten older I've found a book
we really like called "EASY GRAMMAR" by Wanda C. Phillips. This is a text
of reproducible worksheets (I save money by buying ONE book and then making
copies of the worksheets). This book teaches grammar from a very different
approach than most...it starts with memorizing prepositions and then learning
to identify the prepositional phrase, then the subject and the verb. Later
the book teaches forms/tenses of verbs, types of nouns, etc. My girls have
done very well with this book. (On each opposite page is a copy of the
previous worksheet with the correct answers filled in)
You will find the texts
or the methods that work for your girls. My advice is to remember that
a big price does not always insure a good curriculum/text. One year I contacted
our local "extension office" (the people that run the local 4-H programs)
and I was able to get some small booklets for $1-$3 each on subjects like
"electronics", "breadmaking", "Equestrian Science" and several others.
Also...we rely a lot on our local library. I do not use texts or workbooks
for science or history. The library is an endless source for these types
of things. One really intersting way to learn history is by reading biographies
of people in history.....or by doing a "Unit Study" on Laura Ingalls Wilder's
books/her life (Once year we made homemade butter using a mason jar and
some marbles, we made a bonnet like Laura wore, we followed the trail that
her family travelled on a map, etc.). And going to the used book sales
is a really SMART thing too! Also...you might find a h.s. support group
in your area...or a church that supports homeschooling...sometimes these
groups will have "Used Homeschooling Book Sales" and I have gotten some
really good deals there as well as sold some things we didn';t need anymore.
And Ginger...tell me what
grades you're gonna be teaching...and I will look through our piles and
piles and shelves and shelves of books and see if I've got anything left
from those grades...if I do I'll be happy to box them up and send them
on to you. I'd much rather do that than to have them sit here and collect
dust and not be of use to someone. So let me know...okay?
Well, I fear I
have once again written you another "novel" :o) As you might guess, I can
be a bit "long-winded" sometimes. But it's always such a joy to share my
heart with kindred spirits....no matter how many miles may seperate us.
end this by saying how much I have enjoyed sharing my heart with you. Thank
You for allowing me to do so. For me homeschooling my girls has been one
of the greatest joys of my life. Our own homes are our "mission fields"!!
What a blessing to be with my children each day! And what an even greater
blessing it is to be able to encourage other mothers as they seek to do
the same thing!!!
loooong email and my ramblings once again. I will end this one before you
go cross-eyed!! Email me anytime...and keep me posted on how things are
going for you and your little ones.
across the miles!!
Love, Laughter & Lollipops,
Living Beyond Adversity
"The Lord is my strength and