A week has passed and I haven’t mentioned that we went “back” to school last Monday. We do a bit of schooling all summer, but it seems like we really took a summer break this year because of the kids’ two vacations.
We’re all happy to be back to it. Once again, we made some curriculum changes. And I’ve neglected to write about that, too.
Instead of using the Pathways readers and workbooks for reading and phonics and grammar, etc., we switched over to using ACE workbooks, but for more than just English and Literature. We added in Spelling using ACE (for B. and C.), and also Social Studies and Science (for all). We are sticking with Teaching Textbooks for Math, and continuing one page a day in Daily Grams (excellent daily review of important grammar concepts!). And A. is keeping up with Draw Today for her art program.
I needed a change because I needed to simplify the planning involved with homeschooling. It feels like an excuse to say that I don’t have time to prepare and plan lessons, but it is true. And that’s okay because there are curriculums (like ACE) where you don’t need to plan anything.
Each subject has twelve workbooks (paces) that last the year. The kids work through them, at their own rate, or at a rate you determine ahead of time. We have determined that they should finish a pace (workbook) in each subject every three weeks. This means they must do 3 to 4 pages in each subject’s pace, each day. A. and B. decided they wanted to do two years’ worth of Social Studies – and this because they wanted to cover areas they’d not done but also do their current grade level. So in this subject, their rate is to finish a workbook every other week, or 7 to 8 pages per day in each pace.
Each time they finish a pace (workbook), they put a star in that subject on their progress chart. There are checkpoints where I go over their work, and the kids are also encouraged to do some self-checking at a separate station from their desk with a red pen (which discourages cheating). Each subject comes with Bibles verses, and they are reading and practicing those alongside – I love that!
Each pace contains its own review/practice test and final test. I don’t have to plan those, either! What I like is being available for the kids, to help them, to explain things, to check their work. But I don’t like planning and I’m not good at it, because I never have enough time. What I’ve seen so far assures me that they are learning a great deal, and having good practice at important basic skills, as well as growing in being self-motivated and self-focused. I think we’re good to go – and I might not change anything next year. I can hope anyway.