Monday, July 06, 2009

Homeschool Hoopla: My 3 R's

As we have been homeschooling we are moving away from purely academic standpoint to picking curriculum which glorifies God. We now homeschool for religious reasons first and academic reasons are a distant second! Here are some of the things we will be using with our 1st & 5th grader.

Understanding Writing

This year we are using a formal writing curriculum with the girls.

A very complete, structured, thoroughly Christian writing program for grades 1-12. This program emphasizes all the basic elements of writing: descriptive, narrative, informational, and persuasive. Success or mastery of these skills is insured by the systematic, progressive building of each concept in the daily lesson plans. The plans are also very comprehensive, requiring very little, if any, parent preparation. The lessons at grade levels 1-6 must be presented by the teacher. At higher levels, students can work independently. The 360-page curriculum is divided into three parts. Part I is a discussion of the approach used in the program. Part II addresses the specific elements of content, style, and mechanics to be mastered, with examples of each. Part III contains the actual lesson plans, divided into levels 1-12. It is not necessary to begin at level one or actual grade level - a Diagnostic Check list in the appendix will help you locate the starting point for your child. Even when starting at a higher level, author Susan Braderick explains that “all students, even high schoolers, will need to study writing content and writing style materials from level 2 onward”. This is required to assure complete understanding of these skills. Older students will be able to progress through this material more quickly, however, so they should have no trouble completing the program through level 12, despite a “late” start. Reproducible PET (Planning Evaluation and Testing) sheets are used in the program as tools to help students plan their writing before they begin, functioning as a blueprint for their compositions, and as a parental reference for evaluation of the students’ writing. A 50 page tablet of PET sheets and a durable plastic line template to use in lining unlined paper and stationary are included. Note that Understanding Writing is a writing & grammar program - concentrating on mastering God-honoring written communication. Phonics, handwriting, spelling, and reading are not included. Additionally, the program requires the use of A Beka and Rod and Staff English handbooks, a good dictionary, a thesaurus, a comprehensive grammar course (at levels 7 and above), and the book Elements of Style for levels 9-12.
My girls will do both Christian Light Reading and read the Sonlight readers. They will both receive the typical textbook instruction with an ample dose of real books!
Here is Rainbow resources review of Christian Light Reading...

This series just might have everything you are looking for in a reading program. With a major goal of teaching children to think clearly and logically, the readers are highly readable and include enjoyable anthologies of stories and other prose selections as well as poetry and a generous dose of Bible selections (KJV). These selections have a strong character building emphasis as well as a foundational biblical and Christian worldview. Vocabulary development is enhanced by boldfaced words that are listed in a glossary in each book along with literary terms. On a practical note, the hardcover books are a nice, just-right-for-small-hands size that lay flat with ease. As you would expect, font size gradually diminishes throughout the grade levels. Colorful covers and inside accent color produce an inviting appearance, but there is a reminder of the program’s Mennonite origins visible in the illustrations depicting their particular mode of women’s apparel.
Just reading through the program would be beneficial, but the support information is well done as well. Light Units accompany each reader. These are magazine-size worktexts that review phonics (lower elementary), competently cover reading comprehension (all levels), emphasize vocabulary development, and introduce literary analysis (middle school). Integrating these studies with practical application of Bible verses, there is also biblical review and an encouragement toward Bible memorization. The Light Units are designed so the student can work somewhat independently, with symbols to indicate when teacher help is needed. Each Light Unit has three sections; each section has four lessons plus a quiz or self-check. To be completed in 17 days, day 16 is a review and day 17 is a Light Unit test and extra reading time. In grades 4-8, answers to Light Unit exercises are found in the Light Unit Answer Keys. Light Unit answers for grades 1-3 are found in the Teacher’s Guidebooks.
Teacher’s Guidebooks (coil-bound) are designed to be used with the Reader and the Light Units to provide a guided reading program. Well-organized and laid out, the lessons are easy to follow. Lessons are complete with an overview, detailed teacher’s instructions, and daily schedules. Helpful appendices include: study words, story verses, an index of character traits, scope and sequence, index of skills taught, alternate reproducible tests with answers (Light Units also contain tests), books for extra reading, and alphabetical lists of all stories and poems

This is our third year using Horizon's math (K-3rd) and we love it! We started Parker in Kindergarten I and I am very very happy with this program.
Here is what Rainbow resources had to say about Alpha Omega's Horizon....
Admittedly, no math program will work for everyone - but I find few flaws in this motivating and well-laid out program. Although it may be more advanced for grade level than the “average” program, I don’t consider that a negative. Because of the developmental approach to learning in this program, even a non-math type can easily succeed, while the “math whiz” will be challenged by the advanced topics introduced early. Concepts are introduced incrementally, then practiced, developed, and continually reviewed as other concepts are introduced. Pertinent Biblical concepts reinforce the math lessons, also. I found these to be interesting and appropriate to the material, not “forced” as mere add-ons. Horizons lays a solid foundation for numerical literacy with an early emphasis on hands-on, concept learning via manipulatives and one-on-one lessons. The program relies on few separately purchased manipulatives by utilizing common household items and including charts and number lines found in the teacher’s handbooks. A useful table in the handbook shows the integration of manipulatives in lessons so you can tell at a glance just what you’ll need. Analytical reasoning and mental acumen are stressed throughout the series, and memorization and drill are not neglected. The teacher handbook is the heart of the program, containing daily lesson plans that are easy to implement. Reduced student pages are a tremendous aid in planning and supply answers to the worktext exercises. Besides plans, the handbook contains an overview, materials list, activities, and supplemental worksheets (approx. one for each 4 lessons). Designed for homeschoolers, the activities, language, and lessons require no alteration. There are 160 lessons per level, each requiring approximately 20-30 minutes per day. Tests are given after every 10 lessons to assess retention of cumulative skills. While a good part of each lesson is oral (especially at the K level), the enticing, colorful student worksheets lay foundations for lessons and review concepts previously taught. There are two workbooks per grade level. Please note that the actual lesson is to be taught by you - there are only brief instructions on each page of the workbooks, which are not intended to be self- instructional. Boxed set contains teacher book and 2 student workbooks.

Just a peek into our curriculum here at Rooster Hill Academy


Anonymous said...

Thanks, this really helps. I think academics should come second. I know I am obligated by law, though! My son Anthony will be doing 1st grade too, this is new to me so thankyou much.

Anonymous said...

I am going to be using doorposts as my bible training for my boys.
Shannon ( I understand if you delete this lol)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Don't forget to check out our farm blog: Rooster Hill Farm we are currently accepting new broiler & egg customers!

Topics: farming, homesteading, chickens, garden, buff orpingtons, kids, Christ, Christian Homemaking, Bible, rabbits, chicks,cooking, food, comfort food, country food, nurishing traditions, organic, Baptist, raising kids, farm, fun, black homeschoolers, black homeschool, lamplighter coupon, lamp lighter discount, decorate small house, country decor, reformed baptist, Mama

Site Meter