Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So what about other subjects?

Yesterday I blathered on and on about history mostly, but what about other subjects?  Are there other subjects?  ;)

2012-2013 grammar for Zach will be Rod and Staff English 5:  Following the Plan.  Rod and Staff is not secular at all, but funny enough is turning out to be really what Zach needs.  He needs drill, drill and more drill to remember any fact he really doesn't care to remember.  He can tell me passages of books from memory, on and on, but cannot remember what a noun is after 4 years of our prior curriculum.  Or, if he managed to memorize the definition, looks at me completely blankly when I ask him to give an example or find it in a sentence.  We used First Language Lessons books 1-4 already for his grammar.  We liked them generally; he did like them especially compared to Rod and Staff honestly.  The problem was that he was able to fill them in with minimal writing, do most of it orally and not recall a thing afterwards.  They are a gentle introduction to grammar, and were perfect for us (so I thought), because Zach's writing capability has always lagged quite a bit behind the rest of his language arts skills.  Of note though is he is not primarily an auditory learner, and I think these are skewed towards that.  We switched late last year to R&S 4 for him, and I started seeing some better understanding of concepts.  I am actually making him write out most of the exercises, because I think he needs that, both in the practice in writing fluency and neatness, as well as learning style.  Rod and Staff has an oral part of each lesson though, and even the written can mostly be done orally if you choose.  I truly hope we can continue to see gains for that.  I do let him type his responses often and email them to me for grading, as part of the recommendations of his occupational therapy evaluation to transition him to keyboarding due to dysgraphia.

Noah often gets just an afternote, but he also is using Rod and Staff.  He also used First Language Lessons last year, and did better than Zach using it.  I think there is a lot to be gained though even for him with more drill, and a review section incorporated in each lesson rather than just periodically as is done in FLL.  I have not yet experienced a child gifted in language arts in any way, shape or form, but if I did teach such a mythical creature someday, I think I would go back to FLL.  R&S would be honestly quite dull for a child who picked up grammar easily and did not need the repetition.

Zach is going to be using Winning with Writing, as is Noah.  Again, this is something that is wonderful for Zach, sequential, completely 100% spelled out what to do and how to do it, formulaic.  It is writing for the kid that detests it and needs it spoon fed.  I would not say this is the program for any child with a natural tendency towards writing.  LOL  It even has larger than usual lines even for level 4 that we used late last year and into the summer now, perfect again for a kid like Zach who really struggles with even the physical act of writing.  Zach has a lot to say that is interesting and detailed, but he cannot get it to paper, so I hope we can gain ground on that this year.  I would love for him to be able to fluency share what is in his head via a method other than oral.  Along those lines, later in the year we actually will likely get Dragon Naturally Speaking for him, another recommendation of his occupational therapist.

Both boys will be doing the vocabulary from Tapestry of Grace that is directly related to what they are learning.  We use a free site now for learning and testing that, Quizlet.  Both boys adore that aspect.  If the computer is involved in learning, it is automatically more fun!  They will also be doing Wordly Wise at appropriate levels to expand vocabulary, Spelling Workout for spelling and Noah only Explode the Code starting at level 5 to finish up the series.  Lily will be continuing the Explode the Code series as well.  She used the A/B/C preschool series of books last year and will proceed to level 1 soon.

Lily is my one truly learning to read this year (Noah just gaining fluency).  We are trying a new program for her, having used different things for the boys. She is using Learning Language Arts Through Literature Blue level, already in week 3 or 4.  She is liking it so far.

All will have handwriting practice, Lily and Noah using Handwriting Without Tears at appropriate levels, and Zach just fluency work with things I create or think of.  Of late, we have been passing a composition book back and forth.  I write a letter to Zach, in cursive, and he answers back the same way.  He is enjoying the private back and forth conversation, and practicing his writing at the same time.  I have seen another variation where mom just writes a passage and leaves room for the student to copy it.

So that is language arts for the year, aside from literature, which is mostly incorporated into TOG, and we will just be adding little extras here and there.

Ending with a photo, because it's always better with a photo.  Noah at Seaworld recently.

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