Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reading Lists

I just updated my Reading Lists page with the books we've been reading this year and plan to read next year. They are mostly from Sonlight (from the PreK cores to Core C for next year) and Ambleside Online (years 1-3), plus a few of my favorites (and ones I just found on my shelves). For next year, I also listed the books from Beautiful Feet's History of the Horse, which we will probably start this summer.

The read-alouds have mostly been just for the benefit of my oldest, but I expect my middle child will start listening in to more this coming year. I also have a separate (smaller) set just for her next year. For the next year or two, I will probably have more separate readings, but I hope, by the following year, to be more on the same page (no pun intended) with all 3 kids. I hope that by then, my youngest will have a bit longer attention span. If not, then he can just listen in when he wants.

Some of the read-alouds I listed for next year will really be within the reading level ability of my oldest, so I may just let her read some of them by herself, if she wants. I really want to read all of them myself too, though, including the readers, so I think I need to start getting busy reading all of them now!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CLE Math

Wow, it's already April. I really do have good intentions about keeping up with blog posts. I have ideas all the time about what to write. But I just run out of time and energy. By the time it's quiet at my house (after bedtime), I just want to relax and do what I want to do, for once, and I have way too many projects I want to do - cross stitch, reading, researching curriculum....

Yes, I research curriculum for fun. And around this time of year, I start planning and buying for next year. In fact, I think I've just about gotten everything for next year already.

I researched math curriculum again for my oldest, who will be in 3rd grade. There are a lot more options available once you reach 3rd grade, I guess since most kids are pretty good readers by then, and more independent. Switched-on Schoolhouse and Monarch start at 3rd grade, our public free virtual school option starts at 3rd grade, Teaching Textbooks starts at 3rd grade....  I showed my daughter some of the options a while back (Teaching Textbooks, Horizons, Math Mammoth, etc.), and she continues to say that she wants to stick with CLE (Christian Light Education) for math.

And I'm still surprised.

I really had no idea CLE math would be such a big hit with her. It is not colorful, it has at least 4-5 pages of work each day, and it is spiral. I do understand that she prefers the spiral method in math now, though earlier I had been just sure that a mastery-based method was better. I'm still shocked that she loves to do speed drills (but extremely pleased that her computation skills are so much better now). And she keeps doing extremely well on her quizzes and tests, with a high A average so far this year. And math is pretty much her favorite class. She still complains occasionally, when I tell her to stop playing and go do her math, but once she gets started, she just lights up and enjoys herself.

I sure hope this lasts!  CLE doesn't go all the way up to Calculus, but we'll figure out something else when we get higher up.

Now I need to start figuring out what my other 2 kids will do best with - CLE, or something else. I get the impression that my middle child will not be the same. My youngest and my oldest are rather similar, but that middle child.... She likes variety, so spiral might be good still, but I'm not sure she will like the pace of CLE. I think she'd rather move faster, but we'll see. I am tempted by Critical Thinking's Mathematical Reasoning books, and I also think she might like the Life of Fred books (or is it that I might like them?). I already have CLE 1st grade math, so we'll start with that this coming year (we've already done a little), and see how she likes it. I also have Math Mammoth, but I hesitate to print it all out in color. If those aren't overwhelmingly successful, maybe I'll splurge and try out Mathematical Reasoning and/or Life of Fred Apples.

It's a little frustrating, to have just figured out what works great for my oldest and then have to figure it out all over again for the next child. But in another way, it's fun too - more curriculum to research!