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From: DaLynn (
Subject:         New here - and to Classical method
Date: September 10, 2007 at 9:29 am PST

Hi all!
I've been lurking for a couple of weeks, in the midst of a move though so I've just now gotten around to posting. We're in the 'new' place, with more room (including BREATHING room lol), and so I thought I'd pop on to say hello!

I'm DaLynn, 27yo Christian and married to dh Bill for 6 years now. He works nights as a baker for a national chain bakery-cafe, and so our lives and schedules are a bit awkward from most families.
My boys are Christian (8yo), Drew (4yo) and Brandon (3yo), and we've been homeschooling for just over a year. We pulled my oldest from ps after he finished first grade; he'd attended for three years - prek through first. He's ahead academically, and behind socially, and just wasn't getting what he needed in ANY area. I see now that homeschooling is just a better fit for my family and am excited to run with it full-force!

That first year, and we started a couple of weeks after ps let out, slowly at first, we tried different things to see what worked. I asked on the (at the time) local freecycle, and received a wealth of supplies to begin homeschooling. We spent NO MONEY until this past February. No joke. Between the freecycled materials, and the fact that my grandma taught 1st grade in ps for over 40 years and currently substitutes full-time, we lacked nothing. Okay, except maybe pencils!
After learning about the way my kiddo learns, and about the way I prefer to teach, as well as knowing I was going to start working with my younger ones this fall and evaluating THEIR learning styles, I did some research to find out what already-out-there "method" of homeschooling best fit what we were already doing. I wasn't looking to FIND a method - I was looking to find a NAME for OUR method, mostly to aid in searches online for materials that we could use.
I ended up reading The Well-Trained Mind, and realized that a classical education was the closest thing to what we were already doing - that, and eclectic tactics on gathering curriculum and resources. ;)

I've seen how modifying some of what we do to better fit the classical outline will work best for my kids - including the stages grammar/logic/rhetoric. What stood out to me was the emphasis of learning GRAMMAR in the grammar stage, instead of writing. This was my gut feeling, but I pushed it that first year anyway.... It was like pulling teeth.
I've since discovered that my children all have symptoms of the autism spectrum, my oldest leaning most closely to Asperger's Syndrome. Every article I've read on the subject could have been written to describe him. We're in the process of finding a doctor, and I may or may not seek an actual diagnosis. Just knowing that he has those tendancies is enough for me to research what it's about and discover the best tactics for schooling with him. In public school, he WAS diagnosed with a language disorder. I think that this hinders his writing and reading comprehension abilities, and it may jump off of the Asperger thing as well. At any rate, the child is incredible with phonics and grammar RULES. Yes, he's naturally at that age, but not only that... it's really amazing to hear him rattle those things off. And I haven't even TAUGHT him the actual rules! He has discerned them for himself, and memorized the short rule lists such as in the spelling books etc.
The littler kids also exhibit some symptoms - my little one is definately an insomniac and it's what prompted me to do research in the first place. He's also overly shy with others, even family that's not around every single day but especially with other kids and adults that we don't know. Park days are hard for him the first 15 minutes or so; he does eventually chill though. ;) My middle one would be labelled ADD if in ps. He's definately a kinesthetic learner, and I think probably has some sensory integration things going on as well. They're all speech delayed; it's why my oldest was in the program at ps, and I hope to find a speech/language pathologist for therapies with at least my middle one. The younger one doesn't seem to be quite as 'delayed' but may also still need some work/help.

Ommigosh - I'm a rambler. LOL Especially my "first post" is always long. [sigh] At any rate, that's us. Here's what we're using this year:

Drew is 4 1/2 and Brandon is 3 (Though I'm not making him do anything - if he's there and wants to learn, great. If not, he'll catch it soon - no worries.)
These two boys are all about animals, and i think that for a great while a unit study approach will work best.

+phonics - Letter People, with Letter of the Week, and a heavy emphasis on ANIMALS.
+math - numbers and counting, and colors followed by shapes and different concepts. Using a lot of resouces from Hubbard's Cupboard, mostly just piecing this on my own. Hope to use Math-U-See after the first of the year.
+bible - LifePacs, and incorporating with History. Loose and experimental on this one.
+science - Genesis for Kids, based on creation for a while, uses mostly life science. Also a science co-op that will focus mainly on physical science. A creation unit study followed by Considering God's Creation, both done with older brother. High emphasis on ANIMALS.
+social studies - just for fun. We're doing a community worker or some other such thing to go along with each letter of the week. We're starting with m and mailman, followed by t and train engineer.
+language studies - I hope to incorporate a lot of SIGN LANGUAGE, as soon as I can find a good resource!

+Language Arts:
Rod & Staff for grammar. We actually purchased this BEFORE deciding to do classical method and I was ECSTATIC with it, as soon as I quit making him do ALL of the work. LOL
Spelling Connections ps textbook right now for spelling. He's a phenomenal speller and we'll probably stop doing spelling for a while after we finish this book, to focus on vocabulary instead.
Writing - on the back burner for now. (Again, he has some language issues going on, and so this is a biggie for us and I'm in the midst of research.) I have a scholastic book as well as some resources from my grandma that I'll look at to see what will work for us or if I need to purchase something. So not worried about this until at least after Christmas. See our reading section for how we're doing things 'backwards' here.

LifePacs, 3rd grade. For now.
Also Key to Measurement for some much needed emphasis on things he never quite 'got' in school or last year.
Hope to switch to MUS after the first of the year.
Also has a great CD-Rom that he LOVES. (Math Workshop Deluxe - and it's GREAT for drilling +-x/ too!)

Mystery of History is on its way! Hope to supplement with Guerber history, newly put out by Nothing New Press, unless I can find it for cheap or free somewhere else. Going to take a LONG time to go through the ancients, because I want to study the Bible right along with it.
Timechart of Biblical History
Timechart of World History (not exact name I dont think)
Kingfisher Encyclopedia (library)
Story of the World activity guide (free from a friend)
and I may end up getting the Usborne. We'll see.
*History and Bible is going to be where most of our studies are based, and an emphasis. I LOVE this chronological order thing! It's perfect!!!

LifePacs.. sorta.
A creation unit study to last 10ish weeks
Considering God's Creation after that
and a physical science co-op

+Social Studies
We're doing this mostly to incorporate things for cub scouts, as well as the fact that we're TEMPORARILY in our state's capital. I have a ps text to use as spine, and supplements are all being researched right now.
Think: lay of the land, indians that lived here, geography, and MAYBE we'll get into state history. We shall see. We're in Texas so we've got Alamo and Davy Crocket and all that good stuff. ;) And, like I said, the kids at scouts are studying this stuff in ps and so the scout handbook has a lot of it to work towards goals there. Only doing this 2 days per week, plus the scout meeting. LOL

OH< reading.
We've just started doing literature unit studies, starting with The BFG by Roald Dahl. (His bday is the 13th if you didn't know.) This 3 days per week.
Also, for much needed comprehension help, we're using some readers put out by World Book YEARS ago. Short stories, with 3-7 vocab words each, and about 12 questions each. I'm also looking for ways to enhance our comprehension studies using the TONS of ps readers I own. Ideas?? (I know I know, blah textbooks. But free is great, and we do need lots of extra comprehension practices - without it getting boring!!)
As for doing writing backwards - one of the things we're doing with our lit studies is to outline the chapter. Right now it's simple - a box for characters, a box for setting, a box for any words he didn't know. A box for the events in the order they happened, and we love that this particular book has chapters that are only 2-5 pages long! A box for a guess of what might happen next prediction. He DRAWS most of his answers for these, except for the events sequence. We'll eventually move from this type of outline to a more standard Roman Numerals outline. His brain just functions in a way that he will totally GET this, and I think outlining what he READS might help him when he goes to deciding what to WRITE - start with an outline, not a word web. This is my theory for now....

+Language Studies
Spanish. We need to use this, and soon it will be every day conversational that we need to use. Right now he's in a horrible, awful workbook from Wal-Mart. I bought the JumpStart but can't get it to work. I'm going to ask at the library and see what resources they might have. We'll do spanish for a couple of years, until he's fairly comfortable conversating in it with other kids and politeness with adults, and then move to several years of Latin.

LifePacs, and right along with history.

handwriting - we're STOPPING regular handwriting, where we'd gone back to basics after his completion of ps and getting horrible grades for good reason. Going to start with D'Nealian copywork based on the Bible and History studies.

I need to go. This is long - sorry! See you all around!

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