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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{midterm}curriculum changes

January 20, 2013

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

After 7 years of homeschooling, I finally realized that if a certain curriculum works then there is no need to replace it with with something all shiny, pretty, & new.  When we ordered our 2012 – 2013 curriculum, we made sure to stick with or go back to what had worked for us before.

But if it ain’t working, fix it.

So I don’t think I’ve heard the saying go quite like that but we have made some changes at midterm because some of what we had in place wasn’t really working.  I’m not one to just throw curriculum out the window because I don’t a child doesn’t like it, but sometimes what has been chosen just doesn’t fit the child well and it’s not meshing well with his or her learning style. 

Before I begin, here’s a link to our past curriculum so that you can see what we have used and still are using up to this point.

Now for some of the changes that we’ve made this year:

January 15, 2013 007

Writing

We’ve added The Institute for Excellence in Writing.  We really have not had a writing program that I’ve felt was effective.  And I will admit that I had no idea how to teach someone to write. 

This program is definitely the answer to our lacking writing program.  I love it!  Maybe that’s not a fair analysis since I’m only a few lessons in but all ready I can see changes in my sons’ writing.  By the way, I am only using this for our 9th and 7th graders.  Next year our daughter, who will be a 5th grader, will begin the program too.  It is an excellent, excellent program!

The 1st grader has also started using Writing With Ease at midterm.  I am a firm believer in copywork, narration, and dictation as a good start to writing well.  Writing With Ease uses those things and teaches grammar at the same time. 

    November 26, 2012 087

Math

Math for most of the kids has changed or is changing.  The 9th grader is still working in Saxon Algebra but will switch to Teaching Textbooks Algebra.  The 7th grader has all ready made the switch to Teaching Textbooks and the 4th grader will once she has completed her current workbook. 

Why the switch of all of our students to using Teaching Textbooks?  Honestly, it is hard for me to teach 4 separate math lessons every day while trying to teach two children to read.  Since Teaching Textbooks is all computerized and does the teaching & grading, it will definitely lessen my load. I will just have to make an effort to be involved in the follow up process so that I’m not too hands-off, if that makes any sense.

My plan (for now) is that all students will work in Horizons math until the completion of 3rd grade.  After that, math will be through Teaching Textbooks.

August 22, 2012 019

Spelling

We gave up on Spelling Workout for the 7th grader.  A traditional approach just does not work with him.  Right now, he is using the Spelling Power that was sitting on our shelves and it’s so-so for him and his learning style.  I’m thinking about switching him to All About Spelling because it is multi-sensory and our girls have grown as spellers while using this program. 

 January 15, 2013 002sorry for the blurry picture – the lighting in our house is just not picture taking friendly 

Ninth grade

Our oldest son has probably had the most changes.  First, his Science program (Switched on Schoolhouse) would not work because we need to update our computer.  After doing what we could do, aside from buying a new computer or updating to Windows 7, we had to find a new Science program.  At this time, we are taking a bit of a delight-directed approach.  Right now, he is studying biology and animals because he is very interested in those topics. 

Also changing for the ninth grader is history.  He has been following the same history lessons as the other children and I was pulling in extra materials to make it more grade appropriate.  However, in my opinion, it was just moving too slowly for a 9th grader.  For now he is still following along with us in our ancient history studies but is also completing The Mystery of History:  The Church and the Middle Ages

 

We have found that it is sometimes necessary to make a curriculum change at midterm due to how well it is working (or is not working)for the child or our family.  Perhaps the thing that has held me back from making changes is the money spent on the original program.  We won’t waste anything we are not currently using.  Either it will be saved for a sibling’s future use, shared with someone else who may be in need, or sold to someone who would like to own it.  Once I realized these things, I was ok to make the necessary changes.

And I realize it seems I forgot about our preschooler.  I mentioned on this post that we’ve made changes for him too.  That will have to be another post. 

Have you had to make curriculum changes in the middle of a school year?

 

**None of the links above are affiliate links.  These are just items we use in our home that work for our family and I wanted to share with y’all. 

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