After five years in school, will homeschooling be a fit for our family? Walk with us as we try to find out!

Friday, November 9, 2012

What TS 1 Has Been Up To

As you may have read, I'm sharing about what each of our test subjects have been up to so far this year.  You can read all about TS 2's year so far here and TS 3's here.  This week is is TS 1's turn in the spotlight.  TS 1 is in sixth grade, and we are using the following curricula as part of our Classical Christian/Charlotte Mason style homeschool.

Humanities Core:
Includes History, Geography, Church History, Music and Art Appreciation

Language Arts


Foreign Language:

Typing Instructor for Kids

Art/Music/PE/Sci, SS or Lit Enrichment:
Activities within Tapestry of Grace
Weekly Piano Lessons
Weekly Homeschool Co-op (PE, Art and U.S. Government and Elections Class)
Community Sports (Baseball and Basketball)

This year, I decided to try TS 1 in the Dialectic level of TOG.  He is a sixth grader this year, which is the first year that TOG recommends trying the Dialectic Level of the curriculum.  Since TS 1 enjoys history and is a fairly quick reader, I thought he might be able to handle this level.  The difference between the Dialectic level and the level he was on last year (Upper Grammar) is that in addition to learning important facts about people and events, the student is also challenged to make and articulate connections across events, people and countries.  Moving up to the Dialectic level has turned out to be the right decision for TS 1.  He is enjoying history more than ever before!  The amount of reading has not been overwhelming and he is so curious and interested in the content.  We are having a discussion of the content and the connections across the different readings and events at the end of each week plan.  We both really enjoy these discussions, but we have had to spread them out over two days because they are quite lengthy.  I can't really express in words just how delighted I am to see TS 1 enjoying history, to see it coming alive for him.  This was one of the subjects that had been so dry and lifeless for him in school, so to see this change makes my homeschooling mama heart happy :)

(What?  Doesn't everybody do their math hanging off the couch???)

TS 1  finished his MUS Epsilon book a few weeks ago- hurray!!!  He started right away on the Zeta level, and is moving quickly through the introductory lessons.  I seriously considered switching to a new math program for TS 1, as I am not sure MUS is the right fit for him.  However, since I had purchased the next level already, and he was not opposed to moving forward with it, we decided to bite the bullet.  Before we came to this conclusion, I researched Teaching Texbooks (looks great!) and even had him take a couple of the assessments to determine the level he would enter if we switched.  I also looked into Life with Fred (so fun!), but decided I would need to do too much supplementing with it to feel he had covered all he needed to for a full year's study.  In the end, I decided that it didn't make sense to switch now, when he is only one level away from Pre-Algebra.  If we still feel a change is in order, I think it makes more sense to do it at the end of this level than now.  Since he had already changed from a spiral math program at school to MUS, I was worried than another change now plus the change to Pre-Algebra next year just left too much opportunity for gaps in his learning.  I'm still not sure if we made the right decision, but a decision had to be made nonetheless!

Spelling Power has turned out to be a truly painless way to work on spelling a little every day.  Growing with Grammar works the same for us for grammar.  This year I added a handwriting component for TS 2 because his handwriting is quite poor.  He learned beautiful d'nealian print and manuscript in school, but he usually rushes when writing and produces sloppy work.  He is capable of much more in this area, so we are working on that this year.  He works on handwriting three times a week, and keyboarding once a week. 

(What?  Doesn't everybody do writing on their knees leaning on the chair???)

For composition, TS 1 has been working through IEW's Following Narnia curriculum.  The program is a combination of review of what he learned last year and assignments that build upon and expand the skills he already learned.  He is doing well with the curriculum and works independently on it for the most part.  If he had not completed the Student Writing Intensive last year, Following Narnia would have been much more challenging for him and labor intensive for me.  I would not recommend that one start with this curriculum if you are new to IEW unless the teacher had time to prepare for and directly teach each lesson. 

TS 2 continues to work through the first book in Apologia's worldview series, Who is GodI am pleased with how the curriculum teaches biblical concepts plainly and clearly and then links them to real-life situations through stories and probing questions.  We use the accompanying notebook, although it is not a necessary component of the program.  It simply enhances it and makes it easier for me to be sure he is understanding and applying what he has read. 

Tom is doing science with the test subjects again this year, and they seem to be enjoying the Human Anatomy study.  They recently completed the lesson on muscles and are on to the Digestive system this week.  I have been finding you tube videos to reinforce what they are learning this year, as the content is much more detailed than last year's Astronomy study. 

TS 2 is continuing through the first level of Rosetta Stone's Latin American Spanish course.  I believe he is almost through with Level 1.  To be honest, since this is not a required elective and won't be for some years now in our state, my goals for Spanish right now are just to provide exposure to the langauge.  As a result, I haven't been as diligent as I would like in keeping tabs on his progress up to this point.  I'm working on that :)

As for all the extras, co-op  is in full swing and TS 1 is really enjoying his classes.  He is taking U.S. Government and Elections, Physical Education and Art.  Piano lessons are also going well and he performed Bizet's Habanera from Carmen a few weeks ago at co-op assembly.  He was also invited to play on the sixth grade basketball team at the school he attended through fourth grade.  Practices have already started and games begin sometime around Thanksgiving.  He is enjoying it so far!  TS 1 also participates in a weekly baseball clinic, and has learned a lot of new skills so far.

Homegrown Learners