Friday, April 10, 2015

Back to Basics with Little Bit

     Faith is a delightful little girl. Truly. She is an absolute blast to parent. She also happens to be one of the most stubborn determined and decisive people I know. When first grade rolled around I had some ideas on how she'd do first grade, and she had her own ideas on how she'd do first grade. 

     My typical first grade sequence is First Language Lessons 1 (the older combined 1/2 book), copywork from literature, a spelling book if they're already reading well, maybe some targeted penmanship practice, First Favorites literature (Veritas Press), a solid math book, and a pile of random resources and books for covering science and history gently.

     Her ideas included a Daily Language Review workbook like the big kids have (level 2 no less, 1 was too easy), a penmanship workbook from the same company (Evan-Moor), a spelling workbook with more practice than Rod and Staff spelling 2 (perfectionist tendencies don't like mistakes on spelling quizzes), writing activities to break up the "plain" copywork (yup, 'nother workbook), buddy reading chapter books like Harry Potter instead of sweet picture books, math, paper crafts, and Song School Latin. This is Faith we're talking about. She's a pretty compliant kid when she feels thoroughly heard. I let her go with it. This ended up being a lot of pencil to paper time for a little one, but she chomped through it like a pro.

     Mid-way through the year Daily Language started getting into concepts she didn't know, but would have covered if we'd done more than just sprinkle First Language Lessons around. I just taught them on the fly, but it irritated her. Her penmanship was awesome enough I told her to drop the Modern Manuscript practice. She declined. The writing activities (Evan-Moor style) ended up annoying her so much she was glad to get back to copywork, and then she wasn't. Her spelling matured right along with her, and wasn't so difficult anymore. Yes, we're adding Spanish, Mom. The big kids are having fun with it and I want to be included, but don't you dare suggest putting my Song School Latin on a shelf. LOL 

      She realized the need for some of these changes on her own. I enforced a couple. We're back to simple without a bunch of workbook parts, and she's contentedly thriving. 
  • First Language Lessons, lightspeed, skipping tons, she memorized two of the poems in a week, I think she could have started in level 2, but she'll finish it by the beginning of 2nd grade at this speed anyway.
  • Dropped the penmanship book. She has adorable handwriting.
  • Copywork, but added Primary Lessons in Language and Composition so it wouldn't feel so plain to her. This is a charming vintage book, and being similar to Laura's lessons from Little House on the Prairie just endeared it to her more. (I write out the assignments directly in her notebook for her to copy. The assignments are in cursive, which she can't even read yet.)
  • Rod and Staff's Spelling by Sound and Structure 2 is a great fit now. She's in lesson 14 and doing well. 
  • Bring on the chapter book buddy-reading! She can read books like Boxcar Children on her own, but won't dig into Harry Potter unless I'm at her side. That Dalek Handbook on the other hand? That's her nighttime companion. ;-)
  • She's over halfway through Horizons math 2. Somedays she gripes that math is hard and she doesn't like it, and then completes the lesson flawlessly. She hardly ever makes mistakes. I can't fathom changing her curricula when it's worked that well.
  • Science has become Magic School Bus DVDs with correlated paper crafts I've found free on the internet. This week she's doing a few desert life lapbook parts every day and glueing them into a composition notebook. She's thrilled with this.
  • Geography has gone well. I scheduled more reading and culture than she gave a hoot about. We ended up tailoring the schedule to suit Grace instead, and Faith just does the mapping and lighter extras.
  • Song School Latin is over halfway through. She remembers her words, uses them in daily conversation, and loves the book. Win-win. I originally intended on holding this off for second grade, but she's had Latin in her life since she was born and was chomping at the bit to have her OWN book. This takes less than ten minutes a day.
  • Spanish is now Song School Spanish. Yes, same format as her Latin. Thus far she hasn't had any problems keeping them separate. She used random online printables and watched lots of Standard Deviants' Basic Spanish before we added SSS. Also less than ten minutes a day.

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