Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Big Curriculum Switch

Oh no, my child hates the curriculum we are using! Oh no, there are tears at seatwork time! Oh no. I see a lot of posts on various boards asking for advice on switching curriculum. I have even posted some. Sometime curriculum just doesn't work for your family.

At our house we don't like spiral math programs and Usborne based science curriculums. I also don't like to follow other people's schedules and like most of our curriculum to be fairly pick up and go. I want to be able to pick up the teacher's edition quickly scan through and teach the lesson in my own words.

We are actually at a pretty happy point in our journey and are happy with what we are using. How did we get to a place where we were happy? Well, we did try several different methods and curriculums in the first three years. And I have found that for us having two curriculums for many core subjects helps us to get past hurdles and walls.

Currently, we are working in our Singapore math books but if we hit a stumbling block or an area that needs more practice I pull the Rightstart book of the shelf and find some worksheets and strategies to get us through or give my daughter more practice. Currently we are doing subtraction with re-grouping. My dd needs more practice in subtraction facts so we go over a few regrouping problems in the Singapore text and then I give her a Rightstart subtraction worksheet. Last year, we took a break from Singapore all together because my daughter was not ready for the written work and worked with Rightstart B instead.

For phonics, I feel that Spell to Write and Read or the Spaulding method is really the best way to teach phonics but after so many lists my daughter becomes bogged down and is not ready to move forward. Do I switch? No, we continue to review phonograms but take a break and work with the Hooked on Phonics books for a while since she is a natural sight-reader. When she hits a wall in Hooked on Phonics we go back to Spell to Write and Read.

For penmanship we like to mix things up between Handwriting without Tears and copywork that corresponds with First Language Lesson. This helps keep penmanship fun. We don't just drill letters every day, some days we write letters and some days we write sentences and learn about grammar.

I have found that a nice balance really helps to keep things fun and interesting as well keep us happy with the programs that are working for us long term.

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