Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to School ... Sort of ...

So here's what I do in the summer ...

I get out my well-worn copy of The Well Trained Mind, and all of the home school catalogs I've collected this year, and I sit down and start making lists.  The Well-Trained Mind is sort of the ideal guide for my book choices.  I re-read this guide every year.  I get all fired up and excited and swear to myself that I'll stick to it this year.  But it's a little too heavy for us to realistically accomplish everything.  That's why we're in our 4th year of first year Latin.  What can I say.  I do follow some of their recommendations, but there's just not enough hours in the day for me to teach it all.  Plus, there are so many wonderful companies out there with outstanding home school curriculum, so I look and choose from all over.  
You have to realize, this is about an 8 week process for me!  Seriously, I read these catalogs from cover to cover.  I drool over the book choices.  I mourn the education I never had.  I think, if only I were exposed to some of this material when I was in school.  Or, why couldn't anyone present history to me like this when I was younger, I would have enjoyed it enough to actually pay attention!

I dog-ear pages, I high-light all the books I want, I make a master list.  Then I get real.  There's no way we can afford all that!  And there's no way my kids will actually be able to read all those books.  (sigh)  So I start over.  After about 4 or 5 different revisions to my list, I'm finally ready to place my orders.

This year I ordered from Rainbow Resource, Veritas Press, Teaching Textbooks,  and A Beka Books.  I also bought some novels from Borders here in town and I have a few more coming from Amazon. 

Today everything arrived, except for the A Beka and Amazon orders.  

It was like Christmas! 

Here's what we're doing for history:
I've tried to stay on schedule with a cycle of history, starting with creation up to modern day, spread out over 4 years.  But then I discovered Mystery of History 2 years ago and I HAD to have that curriculum.  The author just came out with her 3rd volume and won't have the 4th ready in time for us to stick to the schedule, so I broke away and decided to do American history this year.  I can still have my 6th grader and my 9th grader in the same books, so that is a relief.

Of all the books I order, the science books are by far the favorite with both kids.  They both love science.  They are using the Apologia curriculum.  My 6th grader is doing Zoology, starting with marine life and moving into land animals in the spring.  My 9th grader is starting biology. I'm very excited about it too!
Then there's math ...
This year I'm trying something new with my son.  We have used Saxon Math since the beginning.  My daughter is finishing up Algebra 2 this year.  While I love Saxon, and it's a great fit for her, it wasn't going as well with my son.  So I'm switching to Teaching Textbooks.  A few of my homeschooling mom friends swear by it.  I had my son try it out online and he seemed much more at ease with it.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I've found a good match for him.

I'm also trying something new for literature for my 9th grader.  This is the one area I've stressed about for weeks.  Then I found this:
Smarr Publishers.  I have high hopes for this one.  The program is on a CD and my daughter can do her assignments on the computer.  That is, as soon as all the novels arrive.  I did find some for her, and my son, at Borders:
These books are wonderful!  They are published exclusively for Borders.  They have most all of the classics titles that you want.  They are paperback, but it's a sturdy cover with inside flaps.  And they are cheap!  I think most are $5.95 or $6.95, and I think that's a great deal for a quality book that will be read by more than one kid, plus mom, during our homeschooling journey. 

For Bible we'll move on in the Studying God's Word series.  I think we're on book F or something like that.  I buy those at our local bible store.  

My daughter is still working on Logic and Latin programs that we already have.  So all that's left is our Grammar and Writing program to get here from A Beka.  

Also, I have to come up with something for my 3-year old to do during school time.  Wish me luck on that one!  

Gotta run and find room for all these books on our shelf.  And then perhaps pick a start date on the calendar.  On the one hand, I'm excited and ready to get going, but on the other hand I'm still in the lazy summer mode.  I'll have to ask the kids what they think ...


Anonymous said...

Oooh, how fun! I'm sooo ahead of you! Heehee! I ordered in March when A Beka was offering free shipping. Plus, I was just too excited. Who publishes your Am. History? Did I tell you my plan for History? I'll have to e-mail you!

Kim said...

Check out

It is Colonial Williamsburg's website. If you poke around enough, you will find the Kids Zone with fun activities and lots and lots of resources for teachers. Great photos and bios, etc. Just explore every bit of the link called "Explore and Learn" and Teacher Resources! Great stuff! I don't know where you live, but a visit to CW is Definitly (!) worth it!