It is creeping to the middle of November. We are far enough in the year to know what is working and what is not. There have been a few things that have been demanding to be tweaked…okay, changed.
Caleb has been using Apologia’s Physical Science program. We don’t use a formal science program in the elementary grades, nature study is what we do for science. When my kids are in Gr. 8 they start using a textbook science program to acclimate them to high school science. At least that has been the plan. It worked for Emma. She has done extremely well with Apologia and transitioning to a formal program. With Caleb, well, it’s not going as well. He is having difficulties in understanding all what is being discussed in amongst the pages. I have tried to help him by going through the pages with him and highlighting the important facts. This didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I finally decided last week that we might have to go back a bit to help him transition to textbook learning. Enter Elemental Science. It is an elementary formal science program. There are extra readings from middle school encyclopedias, as well as writing out experiments and reports on the readings. I am hoping that this well help him in comprehending his reading.
Then there is Emma’s history and Great Books study. sigh This has been a major pain. We had decided to use a DVD program from Romans Road Media. There were DVDs to watch, books to read and question sheets to fill out. This was what Emma, my worksheet lovin’ girl, wanted. The problem was that this is a brand new program and, of course, their estimated time for the finished program was not met. They did offer online video but we weren’t able to access it. The few videos that we were able to watch showed me that this is an excellent program. So we decided to move on with our own booklist and see what we could salvage on our own. But then a very kind man from Romans Road offered us another suggestion so that we can continue on with the program. So that is where we are now– waiting for his suggestion to come in the mail. We will see if this works and then we will go on from there.
The problem I am facing this year is an original one for me. In the past I have always grouped all 3 kids together for the content subjects. That has made life so much easier. Now that they are older, though, their abilities are such that they need to do their own thing. So now I am doing three different sciences and three different histories. Oy vey! This has proven to be tricky and, when you aren’t home very often, almost impossible. Emma is able to do everything on her own but I still need to know what she is doing for discussion’s sake, not to mention if she comes upon difficulties I have to be able to help her through those difficulties.
I am also seeing a difference in how I am teaching. There is more of a one-on-one mentoring going on than there has in the past. I am finding that I need to sit with each child and help them as they work through a skill like outlining, writing introductory paragraphs or coming up with a sound thesis. Then there is also squeezing in time for discussion and that, invariably, is the thing that gets left out when time is short.
There has been a paradigm shift in my teaching style that will take time to smoothe out. I am afraid, though, that by the time I master the shift, the kids will be gone.