Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Update on Our Homeschool Journey

We have been homeschooling now since October 2013. We pulled our daughter our of 1st grade public school for a few reasons, the main one being common core. It has been the most rewarding thing I have done. We have had a blast. It has taken us until just recently to find what works for my daughter. We have had her on a few different curriculum for math and phonics. After exhaustive research, tears, and lots of prayers, we finally have her on something that works for her.

We started with Alpha and Omega LIFEPACS for all subjects. As a first time homeschooler, I wanted something all inclusive. It was fine at first but we found it a little dry for the younger grades. There were things in math and phonics she was not grasping because of the way it was presented. We ditched AOP and went with A Beka. Growing up in Christian schools, I grew up on A Beka and it worked for me. I love reading and could always read very well because of A Beka. That also was going well at first. She loved the colorful worksheets and she was learning. The more memorization she had to do of the special sounds in phonics the more frustrated she become and she would shut down when it came to reading. A thing she used to love she now hated! So I researched extensively and finally found All About Learning Press. We went with their All About Reading program and she is thriving!!! It is multisensory and mastery based, the stories are fun and engaging, and teaches reading comprehension.  She once again loves reading and is doing so much better. She is on Level 2 and Level 3 has already been purchased to start in August.

playing "change the word"

Reading her story

We continued with A Beka Math and she was doing well. I will add this before I go on. A Beka is an amazing curriculum, but one curriculum does not fit all. The do teach concept in Math, but they do not touch on it enough for my 1st grader and because it is the spiral method of teaching it will touch on a new concept for one lesson before moving on to the next. It will spiral back, but I have learned my daughter does best with mastery based programs. So once again I was on the hunt for something that would work for her. Something that would not cause a look of dread or tears when I said, "Let's do math."

I had heard about several math programs, there are a lot! One that I kept hearing about was Math-U-See. At first glance I thought to myself, "no way. It uses manupulatives, I want my child to use her brain and I have heard it was aligned with common core." I decided to go to the website and watch the demonstration videos. I was immediately sucked in. I couldn't stop watching them. The man made perfect sense. I also seen the manipulatives were not used like some curriculum uses them. They are used to teach concept. The program also teaches mental math and the fact you have to memorize basic math facts to succeed. So my next concern was the fact that it aligned with common core. I called the company after talking to a friend and they put my mind at ease. They added enrichment worksheets to each lesson. There had been parents calling in concerned that their homeschoolers would not be ready for the standardized tests that are required in some states. They not once changed their teaching style. If you compare older textbooks with the newer ones, there is not a difference. I decided to take the plunge and bought both Primer and Alpha for both of my daughters. What is great about this program too is the fact there are no grade levels. There are levels based on the Greek Alphabet which you can find here.  This, like her phonics, is mastery based. You stay on one lesson until the concept is mastered. He does spiral with the worksheets in each lesson to make sure the concept is remembered which is important. I love the smiles I get when I tell her that it is time for math.

Starting in August I will be homeschooling both of my girls. The oldest will be in second and the youngest in Kindergarten. We are having a blast and I am showing my girls that school can be fun and it is not supposed to be something hard, maybe challenging, but not hard.

I will be posting more not that we are in a groove. I would love to share all we do. I find encouragement on other blogs and hope to do the same.

I hope everyone has a blessed day.

"Train up a child in the way he should: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6