My plans for my older son, now 13, are pretty much set. Plans for my younger, who will be 9 this fall (4th grade by age) are less certain. He’s more of a challenge now — less independent (than I want him to be, than I think he should be) in areas that he fears making mistakes, like math and composition. I’d like to see his independence increase come fall, but how to gently assist that I’m not certain. Anyway, here’s what I have planned so far.
Math: Singapore 5B, 6A, and 6B are on the schedule for fall, including the Challenging Word Problems, which are pretty darn, well, challenging, by this level. We’re both happy with Singapore in content and format, and he’d like to finish it up next year. With my older, we moved directly to Jacob’s Elementary Algebra after Singapore. It’s a progression that worked for him, but I’m not sure it’s what I’ll do with my younger. Possible next steps include Art of Problem Solving, Volume I or continuing with Singapore’s next level (New Elementary Math). As always, ideas and comments are appreciated!
Science: Since my older’s doing chemistry this fall, my younger’s interested in going along with that plan. Whew. I’m considering Ellen McHenry’s The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe and it’s sequel, Carbon Chemistry. Both are heavily activity based, which, honestly, isn’t my favorite way to teach. That may be part laziness on my part, but my boys learn quickly, and several times I’ve put far more effort into creating a material or setting up an activity only to find they master the information so quickly that the material is barely touched and the activity is unnecessary. So I’m undecided here. Again, ideas are appreciated.
History: With Story of the World IV behind us (well, in about 6 chapters it will be), we’re ready to move away from the chronological approach to history and onto thematic and topical studies. My younger has no interest in the music history program his brother will pursue and has plans of his own. He’s determined to study World War I and World War II in greater depth. He avoids holocaust study because, as he note, it’s just too disturbing. I’ve no desire to explore that topic with a nine year-old, so that’s fine with me. However, he long ago exceeded my knowledge of those wars and their times (and so many other historical periods and events), and I’m not sure how to proceed. He’s unwilling to watch many of the videos about those wars for fear of running into video including blood, and while I don’t desire to expose him to that much violence, I’m stumped at how to assist him in this study. Now for the chorus: Ideas are appreciated!
Language Arts: We’ll move on to Michael Clay Thompson’s Town series, the second level of his amazing language arts collection. I’m hesitant about using Paragraph Town with a child who rarely agrees to write a single sentence, but having watched one non-writer (reluctant would be too kind a word), I’m fine with a watch and see approach. For reading, I’m planning on using Suppose the Wolf Were an Octopus, another Royal Fireworks Press publication. None of us care for the read-and-answer-the-content questions approach that followed me through school and still seems to be the basis of most literature curricula, and the questions posed by this intelligent series reach far beyond content alone. Handwriting practice continues with the second of the cursive series from Handwriting Without Tears. My younger says he’s forgotten how to make some of the cursive letters. Shocking, given his writing frequency (note maternal eye roll).
The Rest: Piano continues with 30 minute lessons weekly and daily practice. Like his brother and I, Tang Soo Do lessons twice a week keep him on the path for black belt. He has no interest in competitive sports at this point. We’re abandoning Spanish for an assortment of reasons, which I’ll delineate in an upcoming review of Spanish for Children. Spelling plans are lacking, and I’m still not convinced that focused study on spelling is terribly valuable. Or, perhaps, I just hate directing spelling instructing. That, too, is another post.
Join me in the chorus one last time: Ideas are appreciated!