Friday, May 22, 2009

Quick Recap of the 2008-2009 School Year

    During the 2008-2009 school year we continued to focus on phonics, spelling and basic math facts. I used Tapestry of Grace year 1 to supplement these basics. The literature selections were great for lower grammar students. We also spent plenty of time completing the hands-on projects suggested. Here are a few highlights:

Lapbooks for Unit one – these helped bring some focus to our discussions; they also proved to be a great review tool. The kids loved making their own books.

Field Trip to the King Tut exhibit in Atlanta, GA – I thought that this might be a little too much for my young children, but as it turned out they loved it. The realization that the books that they were reading were about real events was surprising to me. Their reaction to an actual mummy only confirmed what concrete learners young children are.

Salt Maps – What a great idea for teaching geography to young students. While we were working on the maps I was skeptical. Can my 5 year old truly understand the difference between a mountain and a mesa? The end of the year verdict was, yes, she sure can.

Using a children's Bible as our main history text- In September both kept asking me, "I thought that you said we were doing history, why do you have the Bible?" It took several months of explaining that the stories in the Bible are real. Real people, real events, and most certainly real history. I appreciate the Tapestry of Grace teacher's notes that help me tie Biblical events in with other aspects of history.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An unexpected adventure?

In 2007 my husband and I made a shocking decision. We chose to homeschool our oldest child. For us, it was an agonizing decision. We loved the idea of public school. The first step in our homeschooling journey was to come to grips with the fact that the public school in our area was not the best fit for our child at that time.

During the 2007-2008 school year we limped along. I focused on phonics and basic math skills. We spent the majority of our school time reading. In the spring of 2008 I went into research mode. I wanted a curriculum that would offer plenty of guidance without feeling confining. I wanted a curriculum that integrated all subjects, did not involve me making thousands of copies, would allow us to easily add in our other children as they got older, and involved reading lots of great books. My standard was high.

By the end of May I had been introduced to Tapestry of Grace. To be honest, I was unsure. The teacher's manual was enormous. The book list was overwhelming. I was curious, but skeptical. Knowing that I would need to continue to focus on phonics and basic math facts, I chose to buy one unit of year one. The 2008-2009 school year served as a test run.

After a few weeks of Year 1 Unit 1 I knew that we had found the right curriculum for our family. This year Lampstand Press chose to begin offering a digital version of Tapestry of Grace. Now users have the option of purchasing access to all of the great material without creating a significant storage problem for themselves. I am eager to read all of the great book selections with my children. I love that I am able to focus on learning with my children rather than the preparation. I love that I can adjust their writing assignments based on 12 learning levels. And the great books, have I mentioned that already? Ultimately two factors made the decision easy for me, the organization of the material and the book lists.

I am looking forward to sharing with you our learning adventure. I hope that you will leave comments with links to any sites that you have found helpful in your schooling endeavor.