Sunday, January 21, 2007

Options for K-round 2

I need to think something through - what exactly do I want to do with #2 for school next year. So, I hope I don't bore you with my thoughts as I consider and plan.

#2 will be 5-5.5 when we start whatever plan I finally pick. He's rather intelligent. Right now, at 4.5 he's reading CVC words with some confidence and improving rapidly. He's going to finish MFW K at the end of April, and he will finish Singapore EarlyBird Math before that. He enjoys reading and being read to, and he has a fantastic imagination and a mind like a steel trap. He asks for school every day, and usually completes his work with no problems. My main goal for this year has been and continues to be to teach obedience and respect. (As one would expect, that goes better some days than others.)

Now, I have math and language arts picked out already. Following the suggestions in The Well-Trained Mind, they are:
Horizons K math
Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (done first 40 lessons)
FIrst Language Lessons (start when we reach the appropriate place in the book
MCP Phonics A, and continuing (done K)
Spelling Workout A, and continuing
A Reason for Handwriting A, and continuing (done K)

Here are the current options for the rest of the subjects as I see them - I'm sure this will be one long entry, and I'm hoping that I'll talk myself around a useful circle and come to a decision. Any advice offered will be considered and appreciated.

Option#1: Sonlight Kindergarten (country/culture bent)
The plus to this program is that it is already planned out and it is about life in different places - which I think it a good thing for next year. While he is getting a grasp on time and history besides today, yesterday, and tomorrow, I know he can grab ahold of the idea of life in different areas of the world. The downsides is that all of the books used in this program are chapter books, and he just isn't ready for constantly reading from chapter books. I think he'd do better with a program that provides a gradual move from picture books to chapter books

Option#2: Winter Promise Animal Worlds
One major plus to this program is that it is already planned. I like the idea of this program, but the subject matter isn't perfect. Since we just spent this year on MFW K, we've done a lot of animal stuff. While he has enjoyed it, I don't know that he would enjoy spending another year on the animal kingdom. This program does have a mix of picture and chapter books and much information that would interest him, but I think he'd be bored if we spent another year just on animals.

Option#3: Winter Promise's new geography program for K-2
The largest downfall to this program right now is that is won't be released until April, when the new catalog comes out. If I'm going to do it, fine. But if it isn't the perfect thing, then I'll have to have another plan in place already. It may turn out to be just what I want - so I may start planning something else, but not make any purchases yet. That way I can still do this if it's perfect when I lay eyes on the new WP catalog.

Option#4: Galloping the Globe, which I would plan out completely now and begin using next fall
This is looking like the most viable option at the moment. It has several pluses - I can tailor it to #2's attention span and work to build his attention because I'll be picking books from lists instead of adhering to a particular schedule. I can incorporate the books from Animal Worlds and SL K that I think he would enjoy without having to use the ones that would most likely not hold his attention, and I can continue to fit in many books from our working reading list without having to drop other things. This unit study could be done in 40 weeks or it could be spread for a full year - since #2 needs his routine, we rarely take a week off. It's better for him to school one hour a day, six days a week, every week than to take weeks off - if we try, he begs for school until I make up something so it is easier to have something planned. I already own GtG, so I only would have to buy the spines and sort the books we have into appropriate subjects. I have a backlog of animal and geography based units from Hands of a Child and Live and Learn Press that could be incorporated into the program. Notebooking our way through would not be difficult either with the masters included in GtG and things available online and in the lapbooks and learning folders.

Option#5: Something of my own creation focusing on geography and world cultures
I want to acknowledge this as an option, but I'm more comfortable with modifying Galloping the Globe than I am with striking completely out on my own.

OK - looking back over my thinking, I can see that Galloping the Globe is probably the best choice. It's planning work for me, but that can be done little by little over the next few months, and it won't be difficult to have it done before the baby arrives. I'm off to see which of the spines are available at our local library so that I can see them before I buy them and start planning.

If you read this far, thanks for listening!

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