Winding Down the Week...and a Review of Our Curriculum Choices, too

Winding down our first week…at the beginning there were tears, frustration and tension. I think with all the responsibilities of this season of life (and we all experience and bare it differently) coupled with the desire (and my internal added pressure on myself) to start back was too much. Maybe it was the fact that when we take our eyes off Christ and can only see the "circumstances" it seems very overwhelming. Ever been there?

Then the questions start to come and worry takes can I manage it all? Will these choices be profitable? Is the schedule going to be feasible and will we all be able to keep on track? What happens when things change and the days ahead are difficult? All of these questions take our eyes off Christ and become our focus. Staying there is never good so a renewing of the mind must take place. What is that? Being in the word and taking every thought captive.

The scriptures that helped me and continue to are:

~ Romans 8:1 ~ There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:6-7 ~ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Romans 5:3 ~More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

~ Matthew 6:34 ~ Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

~ Romans 8:37 ~ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

So, after a challenging start to our week, I say we are finishing better...praise the Lord. The children are adjusting to using some new curriculum selected for this year and are doing well with it. Our schedule has not really needed any tweaking yet, although Zach will be starting his college classes next week, so we'll see a fuller picture then.

Alyssa is very familiar with ABeka, as it is her 3rd year using ABeka academy. ABeka has a great reading/phonics program which has given all our children a wonderful foundation for reading. Their curriculum is colorful which makes it interesting for young children. The reading books are filled with good stories and character lessons, the poetry and Scripture memorization has always been solid…no need to change what’s working, especially since it fits right into this season of life.

Graham (and Kailynn) is joining in with her on some of the lessons…Bible being one of them. Since Bible is first thing in the morning they are able to participate before little ones are laid down for morning naps. I love that the Bible truths are presented with colorful visuals (when applicable), Scripture time, prayer and songs.

Both Logan and Austin are using Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum this year. Several quizzes have been completed already and projects (essay type assignments) have been started. This program is different from our usual methods, but once again, our seasons of life requires some alteration and praise the Lord we have those options available as homeschoolers!

I am fairly pleased so far with the flow of things, the presentation of the materials being taught and the integration of writing into the curriculum. My concern was that they would lose writing skills since this is a computer based program. In conjunction with using SOS, I was able to add non-SOS curriculum to their computer lesson plans, which fills in gaps we believe were important to maintain.

When I asked what they liked about SOS, they said:
  • Austin ~ “The extra Spelling Bee (an extra supplement game) has helped me improve my spelling.”
  • Austin ~ “I like that I don’t have a lot of books to have to store and that I can see my grade right away when I finish my assignments.”
  • Logan ~ “I like everything…History and Geography are probably my favorites. I like the facts and maps in my lessons.”

When asked what they didn’t like about SOS, they said:
  • Austin ~ “I wish the lessons were audio too so that you could follow along in the lesson as the lesson is read aloud. I do like that the vocabulary words can be clicked on to have them pronounced, though, because it helps.”
  • Austin ~ “I don’t like that sometimes it marks answers wrong when I may have just misspelled a word or answered in a different tense, but I am glad that I can send Mom a message so she can check it and override it if necessary.”
  • Logan ~ “It makes me have to type a lot more than I am used to, but I think I will get better at it.”

As the parent/teacher using SOS, I would say that I like:
  • That most of the grading is done for me (with exception of essay answers, writing assignments, additional curriculum lessons I have added that are not SOS).
  • That the children can move on with their assignments when I am not immediately available (whether it’s due to working with one of the other children or taking care of the three little ones) and that they can send me a message (like email within the SOS system) when they have a question, need me to check an answer that may have been scored incorrectly or to let me know they mistyped causing it to be graded wrong…once again, they are not “waiting” for me, but can send the message and continue with their work.
  • In comparison to other “boxed curriculums”, SOS is on the computer therefore there are not books to have to store (student or teacher books) which makes keeping things orderly easy.

As the parent/teacher using SOS, I would say some of the things I dislike are:
  • The sensitivity to what/how the student types the answer (although the settings can be adjusted somewhat, there have been several times this week I have had to go back in to override the computer’s grading of an answer).
  • The limited amount of written work, since everything is answered on the computer lessons. I am used to having notebooks full of schoolwork with many papers from the children during the course of the year to manage. This is a pro and con. To make sure that there is “proof” of the student’s tangible work, I have altered some areas within SOS to accommodate this such as, having them write out their essays versus typing them and adding other curriculum to their overall year that are not SOS resources, such as lapbooks which will include a lot of writing and creativity.
  • The time they are on the computer, so with scheduling I tried to block times in between their SOS times that are not on the computer…copywork, instrument practices, silent reading, etc…to break it up a bit.

Well, that’s an overview of our week and our curriculum choices for this year (at least the major ones). I am looking forward to what the Lord has in store for our year of learning and thankful for the flexibility of making alterations when necessary.

Blessings as you seek to glorify the Lord this week ~

Thanks Darcy for this week's post


Denise said...

We love Abeka for phonics and language! I enjoyed reading your post. I am now following your blog and look forward to reading more.

Lands Family Led by the Lord said...

Dear Jarnette,
Thank you so much for posting an over view of your curriculum. I know a lot of time and thought was invested in this to encourage and help others.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her lips and tongue...
Her children arise and call her blessed.
Proverbs 31:25-26,28