Friday, April 23, 2010

Week 16 - Changes

Week 15 was the week that a lot of issues with curricula and personality came to a head. After struggling with many different problems since the beginning of 2010, we had to make changes. I had kept trying to push through with several programs that all required a lot of one-on-one with my children. And, I was so stressed with trying to plan it all and not leave out the little ones...and nothing was working long-term.

In addition, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head that Mary really, really need to be able to do more of her work independently. She could do it, she just didn't want to. Part of the problem is that Mary (1) lacks confidence and (2) is an auditory learner and needs the material presented to her. It took most of my time and energy everyday just to keep her working.

When we had a several-day-long meltdown in Math over division it came to a head that she was using me to sound out her frustrations. To emotionally engage me in the battle. By the time the battles were finished nothing else was getting done - We were worn out. I hate to jump ship on Math Mammoth. I love the program and feel like it does a really good job explaining math so students really understand, but we had hit a wall. I needed to step away from Mary as her primary teacher for Math. I opted to go with Teaching Textbook 5 for her and ordered it. It arrived the beginning of this week and we started right into it.

I also went back and looked at Time4Learning again as an option for the children to use during the day. They have really upgraded the curriculum in the last couple of years, especially LA, and I have decided to give it a shot. Thanks to my mom, I enrolled all 4 children at their various levels.

So, our new plan for the time being is such:

Mary -
Time4Learning - LA and LA Extension
Intermediate Language Lessons (2x week)
Teaching Textbooks 5 - Math
Math Mammoth 4B - Math supplement
Writing With Ease (2x week)
Blend Phonics/Websters Speller Review
SOTW 3/US History
Astronomy - Science
Independent Reading/Read Alouds

Katie -
Time4Learning - LA and LA Extensions
Primary Language Lessons (2x week)
Math Mammoth 2 - Math
Time4Learning Math - Supplement
Writing With Ease (2x week)
Blend Phonics/Websters Speller Review
SOTW 3/US History
Astronomy - Science
Independent Reading/Read Alouds

Emily -
Blend Phonics
Time4Learning - Phonics and Math Activities
Math Mammoth 1 - Very slowly
Getty-Dubay Handwriting
Folk/Fairy Tales around the World

This week has been the trial week. I didn't make any big schedule and only did handwritten to-do lists for the girls. I wanted to see how time would fall and different options for getting things done. Going into next week I need to focus on making sure we get our pencil & paper activities completed more regularly.

We've had a really good week overall. We resurrected an old laptop that needed a keyboard plugged into it for Mary to use, and it gave us three computers to rotate the children through. Everyone seems really pleased with T4L and ask to get on it first thing. I am really, really pleased with the LA program - it is much more comprehensive, incorporating spelling, phonics, vocabulary, grammar, writing and teaching reading for information skills. Things I was having to use multiple programs. Plus, I know that they are doing grade-level work and getting graded on it daily. Both girls are averaging 'A's this first week, and realizing that Mary can read and work independently (when she has shown me otherwise) has been HUGE!

Mary loves Teaching Textbooks for math. She likes the immediate feedback as she is working the problems and enjoys being able to go through it at her own pace.

Using the computers have also given all of us time to work on other things during the day. We've finally gotten around to doing our Solar System models.

Which we will be finishing up today.

We read SOTW this week discussing Lewis & Clark's Expedition and Tecumseh. Were able to complete the map work, and do narrations for the sections. As an add-on we've also read about half of Holling's Minn of the Mississippi.

For myself, I managed to clean the bathroom and empty the refrigerator and wipe it out. I'm finding that I have more time for me and the things that just need to be done around the house.

I really felt guilt about using so much technology, but as the week just kept getting better that guilt has really dissipated. Now, I just hope that it continues to work so well...I'm already researching some other 'computer-taught' options for language arts down the road.

Peace,

Amy

6 comments:

WildIris said...

I hear you about struggling and getting school done etc. Those melt-down days take the fun out of home school. I hope you post in the months to come about Time4Learning. Does it work? Do you have confidence in the program? Write a review? Thanks for sharing!
Iris

G said...

Sounds like you are absolutely doing the right thing for your family, and technology can be a HUGE help! While I have Saxon 5/4 planned for next year, I am definately keeping TT as a back-up plan.

Stephanie said...

My 9 year old daughter is an auditory learner and suffers from dyslexia. I completely understand how much of your day it takes. I hope the new programs continue to work for you and I would also love to hear your thoughts about Time 4 Learning.

Stephanie said...

My 9 year old daughter is an auditory learner and suffers from dyslexia. I completely understand how much of your day it takes. I hope the new programs continue to work for you and I would also love to hear your thoughts about Time 4 Learning.

Norah said...

I totally understand. We've struggled to find a perfect fit in several subjects. I hope all gets better for you.

topsytechie said...

We've used Time4Learning for three years now and it has been THE answer for helping my son to be able to do a lot of his work independently. SO much less stress around our house since T4L became part of our homeschool. Hope it works as well for you as it has for us!!

A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.