Come 12 Jan 2012, it will be a WHOLE YEAR since we moved to Montreal because of Tee Chiou’s work! That’s in just 2 days! I looked back (don’t we all at the beginning of a new year?) and realised how pathetic this blog has been this past year. Not only were there too few posts (I used the “too busy” excuse too often), there was next to nothing about homeschooling, which was the original intent of this blog. Sigh …
I know that the solution to writing more lies in canning that need for perfection (and for photos!) and learning to write shorter blog posts. So in order to start the year right on the blogging front, I have decided to write a SHORT post about CURRICULUM. I hope this satisfies those of you who have been patiently waiting for something … anything … about homeschooling.
We live in limbo where the school year is concerned because we still cannot get away from thinking calendar year (Singapore style), but want our children to be able to say what school year they are in when they talk to people here, or go to the right class in Sunday School, etc. Fortunately for us, we do very little at “grade level” apart from math. So to reduce the confusion, we started our children on their new math curriculum in September last year.
We made the switch to Saxon Math and they are now doing Saxon 6/7, Saxon 4/5, Saxon Grade 2. We switched from Singapore Math (which we brought from home) to Saxon Math in order to prepare them for any Canadian standardised testing we may want them to sit for in the next year or so.
We read a chapter a day of the Bible as a family every evening and share our “favourite verses”. I would like to re-start singing hymns and have ordered The Christian Life Hymnal from www.cbd.com. We are also reading Trial & Triumph for Church history and will revive the Hide ‘Em In Your Heart CDs by Steve Green for the benefit of the younger ones.
We started using Mystery of History and the kids are really enjoying it. We are not doing the activities at the end of each chapter (no time lah!), but we put our timeline figures into our timeline book (both from www.homeschoolinthewoods.com) after every three readings. We have just completed week 12 of the first book and hope to finish books 1 and 2 of the series by the end of the year.
I will be using Galloping the Globe with the preschoolers in our weekly homeschool group meeting and will do the same lessons at home with our kids. The programme is targetted at grades K to 4, but you can easily take it up a notch for older kids. I would like to get some mapwork in as well, but I think that would be ambitious to say the least.
The homeschool Co-Op we attend is using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey (I cannot spell Odyssey without checking!) Chemistry from www.pandiapress.com. I kinda influened the decision for selish reasons. :) Confession is good for the soul. We started on the Life Science one on our own and got about halfway through before we got distracted. We also bought Exploration Education from www.explorationeducation.com which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, but we have not been able to find the time to be diligent with this.
We have just started using a programme you can find online here: http://www.hwjyw.com/textbooks/. Called the Overseas Language and Culture Education Online, it is a series of textbooks and workbooks which our resident Chinese teacher has taken a great liking to. We are using the “zhong wen” series if you’re interested.
When in Rome … or Montreal … learn FRENCH! We have a tutor who comes over for 5 hours of French every week. On one day, she does individual hour-long sessions with each child, then on another day, she spends two hours with all three together, reading, singing, playing Monopoly, etc. She is using locally bought workbooks for the kids. We are also doing the L’Art de Lire programme from www.nallenart.com. This programme is great for us because it is written in ENGLISH! Ha ha.
We are continuing to use the Charlotte Mason method for teaching English (for teaching everything, really), and are using Spelling Wisdom from www.simplycharlottemason.com for copywork/dictation. The children also narrate from various books we read but I have become less diligent about requiring it of the two older ones over the years. I am working more with Nathalie (just turned 7) who seems to have more difficulty with this. Alethea is working independently from Writing Strands and I hope will be a regular contributor to the Singapore Homeschool Gazette e-zine at www.homeschoolgazette.blogspot.com.
MUSIC, ART, PRESENTATIONS SKILLS
Together with another homeschool family, we are doing Year 1 of Music and Moments with the Masters from www.cornerstonecurriculum.com, doing picture studies (I know I don’t need it but I am seriously eyeing the Picture Studies Portfolios from www.simplycharlottemason.com, and working through Beginning Public Speaking from the Institute of Cultural Communicators www.iccinc.org.
Our homeschool co-op is using Artistic Pursuits from www.artisticpursuits.com, and we have a WONDERFUL theatre trained Mom in the group who is doing such fun stuff with the kids and preparing them to put up a play! WOO HOO!
THERE! Blogging that wasn’t so difficult! Here’s to a brand new year of teaching our own! It will be our 8th year!