Last summer I remember not wanting to think about school until well into August. This summer I wonder if some schooltime might improve my kids’ behavior by giving them some good things to do. At the same time, I don’t like to deprive them of their summer vacation. I’m not really ready for school. I don’t have Ambleside’s suggested schedule printed out. I have a list of books I need to download or purchase, but I haven’t checked off half of them yet. I’m not ready to get serious about school, but I am ready to think about it.
Math is one thing I’m doing differently this year. I heard about The Life of Fred math books, and after some research and a sale, I decided to purchase one book for each child. They are somewhat expensive, but not consumable, so they can be reused. The Life of Fred combines math and reading and other subjects. It’s a story, and glancing through them, they look fun. The author dislikes the “drill and kill” method of teaching math. I do see benefits to repetition, so I’m not dumping my Math-U-See books from last year. Instead, I’m going to try doing both. Not really double the math work, just a varied approach. Make math interesting and unpredictable. We’ll see how it goes.
Spelling is something I’m thinking about. My seven-year-old is bad at spelling (as is his father, but there’s nothing to be done about that). Charlotte Mason does not think spelling needs to be taught as a separate subject; she thinks it will come naturally as kids read more. I’ve seen a lot of people disagree with her on that, and I am leaning toward disagreeing as well. However, I may give it one more year before I buy a spelling curriculum. The ones I like best include dictation, and they are more advanced than second grade. Maybe I’ll buy a Junior Scrabble game and be content with that this year.
I look forward to all our history readings. I feel a little uneasy following Ambleside’s history schedule because almost everyone I know uses a history spine book, and Ambleside Online does not. I think, though, that my children will still get a good history education. I just need to trust those wise people who put together AO.
Bible will probably be conducted in much the same way as last year: read Bible stories, read interesting Bible story books, glance through other homeschoolers’ Bible book lists, get ideas, make impulse purchases, and go with it. It seems as if I get just as bored as the kids doing a subject the same way all year long.
Nature study is something I need to think about, too. I need help to make it more formal. I have that big black Handbook of Nature Study, but it hasn’t been enough. Or it hasn’t been convenient. Or it’s not Midwestern enough. I’ll have to do some searching and find out what others are doing for nature study in the early years.
I haven’t listed every subject here, but it’s enough thinking for tonight. Time to go to bed. My bedtime book is really good: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. Charley is a dog. Steinbeck is an author I used to dislike, but not anymore. I’m sure I’ll be posting about that book when I finish it.