I am the most schizophrenic curriculum buyer/planner/user I know, but I finally feel that after three years, I am hitting my stride. We school year round (and with 100+ degree temps every day, why wouldn't we?), so our summer session is officially upon us. For most of the kids, nothing will really change, but I am changing a lot for Therese.
Therese is my problem child, by which I mean that I can't seem to find the best way to teach her. She is ridiculously smart, ridiculously well-read, and wants to spend all of her school time researching and writing. Happily, there is a curriculum for that! I was previously in love with Tapestry of Grace, but the amount of teacher prep was just too much with four kids, plus I didn't feel that I was getting the best value for my money. Also, although T was technically grammar stage, she was reading more at logic/rhetoric stage, so there was always a disconnect in the curriculum. I am so happy to have found just the right curriculum for the way she loves to learn. The huge benefit is that it is almost no teacher prep.
TRISMS has intrigued me for a couple of years, but I never investigated it enough to truly appreciate it before now. Cathy Duffy has written an extensive review of the program, so I'm not going to duplicate her efforts. Best of all, there is a Catholic supplement to the program. Now, Therese will literally spend most of her school day researching and writing. I'm sticking with Ten Marks for math, even though she says she doesn't like it. She is starting 8th grade math. I'm not going to pre-algebra (choosing 8th grade instead) b/c of her age (almost 10). I'd rather make sure her skills are rock solid first. For science, she is doing Apologia's Physical Science. Happily, there are daily lesson plans available. The more Therese has a daily breakdown of what she needs to do, the happier we both are. For grammar, I am trying something new, The Stewart English Program. She knows most of what is in the first book, but it is such a great, concise review for her. She is hating the idea of actually having to write her work (rather than use Grammarlogues), but that is just one more benefit, as far as I'm concerned. For Latin, we're using Latin for Children A. For Greek, Greek for Children A. Vocabulary/roots is our beloved MCT: Word within the Word 1. We'll also be using Imitation in Writing's Fairy Tales. My challenge now is to create a workable schedule :-/
The younger kids will be doing mostly the same as they have been. I was reading through what I was doing one year ago, and it is amazing how much has changed. Nicky couldn't handle Saxon 5/4. All of those problems on a page was freaking him out. I switched him to Horizons Math 6 and he has been a much happier camper. Mary-Catherine was breaking down at math every single day with Saxon 1, and she was slowing Michael down considerably. They have both found great success with Singapore, Michael in 2A and M-C in 1B. Now M-C is in 2A and Michael is almost ready for 2B. It is amazing how much changing the approach can help sometimes. M-C does mental math that I would have never believed her capable of, and Michael is thriving.
We really liked Language Lessons for Little Ones, and we'll be sticking with Queen Homeschool this year for the twins. We don't stick to one lesson per day, though...more like 4 or 5. That's the classical in me overtaking the Charlotte Mason.
The three youngest are doing Apologia's Discovering Creation with Swimming Creatures, and they love it. They are learning tons! I supplement that with Simple Schooling's small unit studies and video lessons. Therese is actually doing Simple Schooling's Forensic Science course right now, and she loves it.
I have a couple of changes/updates for Nicky, but they'll have to wait for another day...