We are about to embark on our fifth year of homeschooling. Five years! This is never the path that I thought we would take. But here we are. And I spent this past Friday shopping at the Homeschool Expo. Now, if you don't want to read this post because you are sure it's a snoozer...feel free to move on. This post is more denim jumper than flash. More this:None of this:Normally, I am not a big fan of going to the expo. I am not exactly the target audience for many of the vendors. I am not looking for Math from a Christian perspective. And I can usually find all that I need online. And if I want to see a particular book before I buy...usually someone in my homeschool group would have it for me to look at.
But this year was different. I wanted a sales pitch. I wanted to be sold. I had it narrowed down between two choices. The one I thought I would purchase. And the one I wanted to hear more about. So...I put it in their hands. And told them to convince me which was the best writing program for us.
The program I thought I would use is called IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing). It's an expensive program that is DVD based. And I have never heard anything negative about the program. The other program is called Write At Home. It's computer based. Even more expensive. And I don't know anyone who has tried it.
This is what we need: I don't have a reluctant writer at all. I have a child who says she wants to be a writer. But where we need help is in teaching her to write formally.
At the expo...I went to each vendor. Explained that I wasn't sure which program would be best. And told them I wanted their best pitch. At the IEW booth, I was told I would have 6 DVDs to watch - a 12 hour seminar - and then I would be equipped to teach writing to Katie. The seminar comes with 15 lessons. Which I can then expand upon based on when I think she needs more help or reinforcement.
With Write at Home - Katie would log into the company's website each week, read her instructions and submit her writing. Then she would have a personalized instructor/mentor that would read her work - and send it back with an embeded PDF including corrections, critiques, suggestions, and praise. Each writing assignment would be done in three drafts before they would move on to the next lesson.
And which one did I choose? (insert your own dramatic pause) After listening to both pitches - it was a no brainer. I chose Write at Home. With all that we are doing this year, I love that this is one lesson I don't have to plan. And I love that someone other than me will be evaluating her writing. I think she needs that impartial judge to send her down the correct path.
After pluncking down my $400...I still managed to spend more money on things that will be great to supplement our plans for the year.
I had decided that we were going to stop doing formal grammar and spelling. Katie did not like doing it last year. But I think she didn't like it because it was too easy. She's about to enter her fourth year of Latin - so she has a really good grasp of grammar. And she scored 13+ on almost all of her Language Arts sections of the IOWA standardized tests. But...what I did find was Daily Grams which is published by Easy Grammar. Each lesson is six questions - covering capitalization, punctuation, sentence combining, and grammar/other concepts (like synomyms, dictionary skills, analogies, spelling, etc) - and I think we'll use these a few times a week - just to keep her fresh.
My other plan for the expo was to try and find a geography program. We have not used one before because our history curriculum has a lot of focus on mapwork. But I wanted to find something that would discuss where modern political lines are drawn - as well as have some cultural geography. Most of the books I found were solely map related. Meaning, they focused on map keys and learning how to read those. So...I decided that I would create my own plan. I found an Usborne World Geography book that has everything from political maps to topographical maps; cultures of different areas; ecosystems and more.
I thought we would use that as our base...and let Katie start with a continent. She can pick which countries we study - and we can learn the capital and flag, government, culture and some history...and then supplement all that with books from the library. I also found an Usborne book on world religions - that we'll use as we encounter different cultures. And look at my picture. I even got an art book. Shocking, I know! We'll see how we can combine all these books - plus a big wall map - so that we can put the historical contries that we've studied into the bigger - and more modern - picture.
I also got some minute mysteries to go with our logic curriculum. Both of my girls love riddles. Like: If a plane crashes on the US/Mexico border - in which country would they bury the survivors? or Mary's mother had four daughters. They are named North, East, South - and what is the name of the fourth daughter? Or...you are in a room. There is one window on each of the four walls. Each window has a Southern exposure. What color is the bear that just walked by? Does anyone know of a book with riddles like these?
What else did I find? I got Katie a nature log that she can use with our biology program.
I discovered these cool card games:
They cover lots of the topics we are going to learn about this year (and a few for next year) - but the cards are divided into levels - so I think that even Madalyn will be able to play with us.
I love Janice VanCleave books. We usually use her experiment books to supplement our science programs. And since I already have an engineer in the house - encouraging another one should be fun.And then I found a few more books that just looked fun. How is it that I have never read Beowulf...but I know the story? Maybe this book is more for me.Hey! Wake up! The post is over. Yes. You! Cover your mouth when you yawn. Rub the sleep out of your eyes. There's a little drool on your chin. No...other side. Leave a comment on your way out.