"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Monday, January 21, 2013

School Update - Part 1

Today we started our third quarter. (As a side, that means we're officially halfway through the school year already!) Since I didn't blog at the beginning of the school year, I thought I'd share with you what we've been up to. I love that at this point in homeschooling (seven years in), I'm happy with almost everything we're doing and have very few changes/decisions to make each summer.

Religion: This year we took a break from formal catechesis to focus on growing in virtue. A friend of mine recommended PACE (Program for Achieving Character Education), and I have found it to be a great resource. I started out intending to focus on one virtue each month (there are ten), but there was so much good stuff (prayers, short stories, recommended novels and biographies for book reports, quotes to copy and memorize, Bible verses, saint studies, discussion questions, writing exercises, plus additional enrichment activities, including art, music, and nature studies) that I decided to focus on one virtue each quarter and stretch the program out for two years. One of the best parts has been reading and discussing the short stories from William Bennett's The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass around the dinner table as a family. It has also been good to have such an extended period of time to concentrate on getting better at one thing. I highly recommend this program for use in any Catholic family, homeschooling or not.
 
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Math: Math has been a weak point (for the girls at least) since the beginning. We started out in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade with MCP. Then we switched to Shiller Math, a Montessori-based curriculum -- which does have its strong points and worked really well for The Boy. (If you're interested, I'm looking to sell ours -- I have all seven student and teacher books and most of the manipulatives.) This year we switched to Math-U-See and I'm happy to report my fifth and sixth grader are (finally!) learning their multiplication tables with ease. I had all three of my older ones take the placement test and they all three ended up in the same book, much to the girls' dismay. I've been making them work double time in math this year, so that by the end of the summer they should be back on track. Happily, also, their math grades this year are much improved and the level of math complaining and tears have decreased dramatically.

 
Latin: We continue to use Memoria Press for our Latin instruction. The Boy will complete Prima Latina this year and the girls will complete Latina Christiana II. I'm not sure where to go with them next year. Any suggestions?

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More to come ...

1 comment:

  1. I love the PACE program!! They also have a Christian one, so it's not only for Catholics. I always have it sitting out in the school room, I need to take it out and start doing it again!

    We don't do Latin.

    For Math, we've always done Saxon. One year, for one of them, I switched to Teaching Textbooks, and it ended up putting her way behind. There just was not enough memorization. She completely did not know her times table at all.

    Can't wait to hear more...

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