July 13, 2008

Draw Write Now

When I discovered this series, I knew it was perfect for my daughter who loves to draw. Each lesson has step-by-step demonstrations on how to draw a picture as well as a sentence that the student can copy as handwriting practice. The pictures are really cute. My daughter pours over these when she's in the mood, and makes pretty decent reproductions. I've seen the skills she's learned from these books show up in some of her other art-making.

There are eight books in the series, each one with it's own theme. We have books one and two. I'm hoping someone sends us the others for Christmas! Check out samples at the website http://www.drawyourworld.com/drawwrite.html

July 09, 2008


So far, I have resisted buying a pre-packaged curriculum. Maybe it's because I like to go against the mainstream, or because I like having control of what I teach and how I teach it. So, in my search for resources to tailor my daughter's schooling to fit she and I, I discovered Design-A-Study books. Kathryn Stout, the Christian author of these books, is a former school teacher who home schooled her own children. Each book is a complete resource for teaching a particular subject from K-8 in most subjects, and through grade 12 in others. These thin paperback books provide specific content of what to teach, and a wealth of ideas on how to teach them.

I first acquired the "Natural Speller" book, and was so impressed with it (imagine, being impressed with a spelling book) that I got the rest of the series, which includes "Maximum Math", "Comprehensive Composition", "Critical Conditioning" (which is about teaching critical thinking, reading comprehension, study skills, etc.", and "Science Scope". There's also a history book called, "Guides to History Plus" which suggests how to do unit studies for this subject. There are other books on the website also worth considering for history and literature.

As of this writing, I am using "Natural Speller" weekly for my word lists, and most of the other books for reference. I used them heavily in planning for first grade. I expect I'll gradually use the whole series more frequently as we enter 2nd grade. I can see, by flipping through these again that I need to add some of these suggested books to my library list that will enhance the study of some of the topics we're currently into.

So browse Katherine Stout's website at http://www.designastudy.com/ and maybe you'll find something you can use.

July 07, 2008

Home Learning Year by Year

This is my best resource for homeschooling! I use it constantly. It shows a scope and sequence for all grades K-12, and includes explanations of objectives, as well as resources such as library books, websites, and other curriculum aids that are helpful for teaching each objective. I used it for Kindergarten and now am using it for 1st grade. It's called Home Learning Year by Year, by Rebecca Rupp.

Since so far I've created my own curriculum, rather than used a pre-packaged curriculum, this book is my resource for planning a school year, finding free resources at the library, and gauging how much progress my daughter has made. With the Kindergarten standards in this book met, some teacher friends of mine said my daughter was ahead of where most public school Kingergarteners are. Also, whenever the objective is stated in terms I don't understand, I don't have to worry, because she explains and/or gives examples of what she means. For me, that's so much easier than reading a state or school district's list of objectives and deciphering what that means in practical day-to-day learning.

I have loaned this book out to a few friends, and then had to ask for it back because I needed it for reference. This year, though, I'm more organized, so all the pertinent info I need for 1st grade is written down in my homeschooling notebook. So if anyone wants to borrow my copy, give me a holler!

Check out the website for this resource, and other related resources at http://www.homeschoolzone.com/hsz/rupp5.htm