Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ready, Set ... Not YET!

I've been so excited for school to start and I feel like a race car revving its engine to start a race that doesn't actually start for a few more days.  In our case a few more weeks.  We have a few family trips that we want to take and I don't want to get all of our ducks in a row, leave for three days, come back and get set up again and leave for four days and then really start.  Sooooo... we wait.
I know how impatient I am when I see it in my kids too.  Well, I have a hard time with Christmas and birthdays, but school?  YES!  I love school!  I bought a teacher's plan book over Memorial Day weekend on a shopping trip with my mom and I couldn't have it just sit around.  As soon as I got the last of our curriculum in a little over a month ago, I began to plan my first month of school.  I then had to just put it down.  I feel sorry for people who have come to my house for a visit because I pull out one book or another to show them.  I anticipate this more than I ever anticipated a paying job.  I think there are 2 main reasons for that.  First of all I get to teach my favorite kids in the entire world.  Second, I get to learn with them about some things.
This time I even have the teacher manuals for every class so I don't have to overextend myself and do the same work as both kids.  I found a character curriculum by the name of KONOS that I plan to use as a supplement.  It can be used as a primary curricula, but I have too much other stuff in the works too.  My mom had an art book by A Beka Books that she never used for my siblings and I will use that for this year.  Math was tough.  We were doing Everyday Mathematics which I think is a good program, but I don't want to pay $500 per kid to teach it.  The teacher manuals are the expensive part of this program and for 2 kids, it just didn't seem worth it.  No 2 math programs are the same either, so we went with Horizon's Math by Alpha Omega Publications.  It seems to be the best transition program for my kids for the money.  It was also my most expensive subject, but I think it will be worth it in the end.  We still have Horizon's Health from last year that we will continue.  It is not a required subject, so I'm spreading one book out over 2 years.  Being a nurse, I think I can manage any extra discussions we need to have.
Language Arts is a subject that I really enjoyed in elementary school.  Both of my kids got a great using A Beka curriculum, but especially my daughter didn't like the repetition once she mastered a task.  I found "Learning Language Arts Through Literature," by Common Sense Press and I like it so far.  I just hope the kids do.  My second grader has gone through a lot of the second grade things, but not much of the third grade things, so we're starting in the middle of the red book which is for second grade.  As soon as she masters it we will move up to yellow.  My 4th grader is just at the right level for his orange book and I'm excited about the approach they take with spelling.  We tried it for a few weeks last year and it really suited his learning style better.
Since we believe in Divine Creation of the world and all that is in it, I wanted to go to a place that specializes in creation science.  While the Institute for Creation Research is an awesome place, they don't offer a full science program, only a supplement.  We've chosen to go with Answers in Genesis and only bought one set this year.  We'll do the other 3 if we like this one.  It is designed for multiple ages so it will fit well in our family.  They do a lot of comparing world views to Biblical views and I like that.  I said I was excited to learn too, well this is one of those things I'm excited to learn about.
We're doing a government pack from about elections and I'm teaching the ukelele and piano and guitar and clarinet to the kids as time allows and their interest sparks.  If they really start showing skill and dedication to one particular instrument, I will work on getting lessons for them at a higher skill level than I have, but for now basic will do.  My gracious neighbor has made tapes from his record collection for us for music appreciation too.  We do swimming, baseball, bike riding and running for PE, I'm planning on keeping a better log of this this time.
Lastly, the subject I'm most excited to study with my kids will be history.  We're using The Story of the World for this portion of our day.  I'm super excited about this four years of study.  I hated history when I was young for some unknown reason, but now I want to know more.  Since I spend so much time right now doing things for my kids, it seems like history study for myself would be a burden.  So while this choice of curriculum may be a bit selfish, they do have an awesome program and a great workbook with exciting extra activities that I'm sure my kids will enjoy.
Did I mention that I'm excited to begin?  Well, truth be known, I've always enjoyed opening at least one gift on Christmas Eve.  We've actually done one lesson in each subject already.  Not like a whole school day worth of work, but we have done a few hours here and there for the last few weeks as sort of an appetizer.  So far the only complaints I've gotten are for Language Arts because of the written work that is necessary.  This was actually intentional as well.  My kids need a push in creative writing and any kind of writing.  Computers make people lazy in writing skills.  ... just my opinion ...  I want to work on disciplined penmanship and cursive writing as an art form.  I also see my kids come up with imaginative play and I know that if I can tap that in their writing skills, they will probably amaze me.  I'm hoping that I've found just the ticket.
Sorry for such a long and boring post, but I'm excited!