I have seen an e-mail from time to time that’s entitled “You Know You’re a Homeschooler When…” If I had a chance, I’d add, “You know you’re a homeschooler when you get the same euphoric glow from shopping for curriculum that most ladies get from shopping for shoes.” I took advantage of my teacher’s discount, while it lasts, to get the following finds for next school year:
Apologia Science—Zoology II (Swimming Creatures)
Making Math Meaningful—Pre-Algebra
Bob Jones Kindergarten Phonics
A Reason for Handwriting
Introduction to Logic How to Read a Book (updated 4/22/08)
Mind Benders Critical Thinking Puzzles
On the list to buy (although I’ve not purchased these yet):
Apologia Physical Science (w/ the DVD which Karen at shawtime convinced me to buy)
Vocabulary from Classical Roots
We will again use Rod and Staff with the older two for Grammar. I like English for the Thoughtful Child for younger children, which is more aligned with Charlotte Mason’s principles. I think, though, that perhaps I’ve seen too many of my college students’ papers, and I’ve seen too many problems with basic grammar. Hence, once our kids hit 3rd grade, I am a diehard fan of a diagramming-heavy grammar study with opportunities for written narration weaved throughout the learning.
We will use the second half of my own curriculum in History. In the last few weeks, I’ve talked to both kids about where I see their history studies going after next year. I was so blessed and pleased when they both decided to keep notebooking in the same way that they’re covering American History now. Our son even began shopping for his pages! It may cost me a few dollars that I didn’t have to spend, but it’s worth it to me to see them taking ownership of their learning.
The books really are the backdrop for what I truly want to do this year. We will add apologetics as a part of our reading plan for the oldest, and I’m excited about the opportunity to interact (and learn) with her over questions about our faith. We will also work on outlining, test taking skills, and research skills. The youngest can now read one-vowel words. We’ll continue to build her phonics awareness and hopefully establish a rock-solid foundation for a love of reading. Our son has his hands full, too, but I will focus on these pivotal points with the girls.
What I didn’t list were the books we’ll buy and/or borrow—lots and lots of great books. A girlfriend of mine wrote me the other day looking for more good books for her African-American son. She said that her son was using our Developing Christian Character series (see here) and devouring The Journal of Joshua Loper. She was right; it is ridiculously hard to find quality resources, particularly with black boys in mind. I can remember years ago subscribing to an Essence magazine (Essence caters to black women) reading club for children. The first couple of books I received were wonderful picture books and Afrocentric retellings of classic tales like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Then I got two books from noted authors—rapper-turned-actor Will Smith and pro basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. This is a sad statement about 1) American obsession with celebrities that propels them from whatever they were doing before stardom to points of influence in any arena, and 2) what some view as quality literature for children. Incidentally, building upon my first point, the Scholastic warehouse in our area holds half-price sales twice per year. I was so very disappointed when, as a free gift for my purchases, the sales rep gave me a copy of pop star Madonna’s children’s book. What’s sadder is that the rep was so proud of the fact that they were sharing the books with all the public school systems because of the valuable lessons it could teach children. Maybe I’m the crazy one, but I thanked him and told him to hang on to the book.
I know from visits about that some of you are listing your curriculum finds as well and giving me great ideas and thoughts for the future. I look forward to seeing your choices as well.