Monday, October 13, 2014

First Quarter Curriculum Update!

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It's so strange to think that the first quarter of the year is already gone.  Okay, here at our house, it's been the first twelve weeks, but hey. A quarter is a quarter, however you choose to define it!  We've been through quite a bit of our curricula thus far (including running out of logic!), so it seemed like a logical time to take a step back and look at what's worked so far this year.

The easiest way to do this, I figure, is to go by subject and that way I know I've covered it all.

  • Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ  The Giant Germ actually went extremely well. Mad Natter only had trouble with a few of the words, nothing that was even remotely a challenge. 
  • The Chronicles of Avantia: First Hero First Hero seems to be a book that Mad Natter is actually starting to get involved in. It is significantly more difficult than Giant Germ, but he's actually curious about the plot and characters!
The primary challenge for reading has been the part where you cannot read words if you are not looking at them. Finding a way to NOT be bouncing off the walls for (literally) three minutes seems to be beyond capabilities at this time.

A Child's History of the World read-aloud  This is actually going extremely well. We are able to complete the bulk of the work while doing other things - we've done history on the bus, while Mad Natter jumps on his trampoline or spins in circles...  It's been significantly easier than Story Of The World was - thankfully.

Math Mammoth 1B, We are a chapter and a half from being done with 1B. All that remains are some addition and subtraction strategies and coins.  It's fairly thorough, and I find that most times we skip our way through the pages, only doing about a third of the problems.

The Magic School Bus Slime and Polymer Lab: We are actually finishing this lab this very week. It has been fun, and a good exploration, but it is significantly redundant in many respects. In terms of science actual-learning, it's not a challenge for Mad Natter, but it is nice to find things that are genuinely hands-on for him.  I have no compunctions recommending this one, nor in using the other two sets we already have.  

Logic Safari Book 1  Logic Safari was a book of grid logic puzzles - four people doing one of each of four things, here are the clues to determine who did what. I found that while logic is Mad Natter's strong suit, his issues with focus make these difficult for him. He did, however, finish the book in the twelve weeks we were working on it, so it's not been outlandishly hard. I'm looking forward to picking up book 2 and seeing a) what is in there, and b) what he's capable of there.

Song School Latin I cannot express how much I love Song School Latin.  Mad Natter actually requests the songs whenever we get into the car. The Derivative River is his least favorite part (though it's one of my favorites), but overall, we're both learning a lot, and while he's refusing to speak the words (I suspect not wanting to split between Latin and English), he does know them, and how they're pronounced, and what the difference is between discipuli and a disciupulus is, and that's honestly good enough for me.

Handwriting Without Tears Grade 1, practice pages Mad Natter's fine motor skills are generally still his weakest area, which isn't exactly surprising to me. However, he does still enjoy working on HWT, both in the yellow book, and in the "I made these" practice sheets he's been working on. It's been extremely helpful, at least in teaching him to control the size of his writing, and it's a lot of progress for remarkably little whinging.  I like it.

All About Spelling Level 2: I'm trying really hard to stretch this out. We keep getting the spelling programs, and he keeps flying through them, and has been going through about a level and a quarter each school year. We're sitting at lesson 20 of 26 in level 2, and I'm hoping to pull enough review-without-review to make it last at least a little longer. 

English Language:
Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar Island: This has been both easier and harder than I thought it would be. The output expected is beyond our ability to sit still, so we work on it together, and at Mad Natter's speed - which is to say, he whips through the bulk of the reading part, and needs some scaffolding for the output. It has worked out really well for him, he is generally able to accomplish all the things asked of him with very little prompting.

Physical Education:
Hockey 2x/weekPark Days 2x/week: Park days got to be difficult once school started and took away our primary means of actually accessing the park, but hockey has now started, and it's already leaps and bounds ahead of last year!  I'm very proud of him, he's holding his own, following directions, and mostly not getting into any mischief!