Update: You Can’t Do It All

17 Jun

Ok. I’ve been doing some research, having a look at a few things, and I’ve made a few decisions.

After reading this article (they’ve made a mistake with the title) on the Well-Trained Mind website, I’ve decided to definitely go with Writing Strands. It sounds fantastic. But…I will probably also buy Writing with Ease as a supplement. Writing with Ease begins in first grade, Writing Strands not really until second or even third, so we can start out with Writing with Ease and see how it goes. Maybe we’ll love it and not bother with Writing Strands.

I’ve been looking through Primary Language Lessons and Simply Grammar. I do not like Primary Language Lessons very well (if you’re thinking about using this, please do not be put off by that; I am not the best judge of curricula. I felt it jumped around too much and provides no explanation to the child; children aren’t actually taught what a verb or noun is, they just have to fill in the blanks with the correct form of the word) and Simply Grammar doesn’t provide enough practice. So, it’ll definitely be First Language Lessons along with Grammar Land and maybe 1 or 2 of the fun books I mentioned. And Mad Libs. Stiggy loves those Mad Libs.

Although I didn’t mention it, I was also in a quandary about handwriting. Should I use cheap resources from the book store? Continue with Handwriting Without Tears, which is ok, but not a very attractive font, go with New American Cursive, or italic handwriting? I’ve decided on italics. Stiggy said he liked the look of it, so we’ll give it a whirl (beginning this autumn). The reviews on Amazon also swayed me.

Math: I think at this age, one programme is enough, beefed up with living math activities, stories, and maybe some extra drill. I think Singapore lacks drill, but this is easily remedied with their practice books, or freebies from the internet, and Math Wrap-Ups. We’ll be using Singapore for Kindergarten year 2, so we’ll see how it goes before making any purchases for first grade.

As for science, here’s what I was thinking: we’ll do 2 years of life science (kindergarten year 2 and first grade). Stiggy loves learning about animals, gardening, and the body, so why not do it for 2 years? I’m not going to worry about spending X number of weeks on this, and X number of weeks on that; we’ll go with his interests using various resources, and I’ll introduce him to the scientific method. Originally, I was thinking to skim over all areas of science; life, earth, physical, and chemistry during KY2 using the Singapore Earlybird Science books, Dr. Nebel’s book and other resources like Mudpies to Magnets (which I already have), but that’s a bit manic. We may use those resources, but we’ll focus on life science. If Stiggy wants to have a look at other areas, we can. I’ll be ordering The Handbook of Nature Study and…not sure what else just yet. I’ll get one thing at a time and order more if we need it.

A big, warm ‘thank you!’ to everyone who commented and offered support on my original post. ๐Ÿ™‚


3 responses to “Update: You Can’t Do It All

  1. RegularMom

    June 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Hi there,

    Interesting that we faced the same dilemma about writing programs.

    I used Writing With Ease this year with my second grader. It was okay, I guess. But I wasn't completely impressed with it, mostly because it's the same format over and over again. For 4 years.

    So, I've decided to switch my older daughter to Writing Strands in third grade. My younger daughter – just beginning first grade – will do Writing With Ease for first and second grades, and then switch to Writing Strands in third grade. We'll supplement, every other month or so, with a week of WWE's format, to make sure she hasn't lost that skill.

    I like that WWE teaches how to summarize and narrate so thoroughly. But I also want the kids to do some different kinds of writing. That'll be Writing Strands.

    At least, this is my long-range plan for writing. We'll see how it pans out.

  2. Michelle

    June 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Regular Mom,

    Thanks for stopping by. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was kind of thinking the same thing about WWE being the same thing over and over. Your plan sounds very similar to how I plan to do it. WWE seems to teach the fundamental basics really well, but lacks the creativity and variety we need. Hopefully Writing Strands will fulfil that.

    I hadn't thought of supplementing every now and again with WWE; that sounds like a great idea.

  3. Bobbi

    June 19, 2009 at 2:44 am

    I'm a growing with grammar fan myself. One worksheet a day for most of the year and we've got most aspects covered. It is repetitive but I think that helps reinforce a noun is a person, place or thing…etc.

    I understand about the HWT font. I thought about moving to a pretty font but then I realized that my boy would hate it. HATE IT. So I'm opting for the legible and complaint free HWT again this year.

    Thanks for the writing thoughts. I've not even touched that yet. But I do want to have some sort of writing this next year.


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