Looking For a Secular Florida Umbrella School?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


G, my reluctant reader, seems to finally be over the hump. Or maybe I am. In an unusual turn of events, the last few books I've selected for her have been met with great enthusiasm. She is requesting that I go online at Amazon.com and order the sequels to Sarah, Plain and Tall, and is digging into the first of the Little House books, Little House in the Big Woods, while she waits for her sister to finish with the latest in the Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 11, The Grim Grotto. In the meantime, she has temporarily put aside Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which she had been reading on her own after having it read aloud last year, in order to get through her newest favorites.

Wow. How did this happen? All the other books I picked were boring and stupid and dumb. I must be on a roll though, because in addition to some successful literature selections, she is also happy with the following curriculum choices:

Spelling Power – The lessons are short, no more than 15 minutes. She is more confident and encouraged because she can spell most of the words correctly and then only needs to focus on the misspelled ones. I purchased the box of activity cards and she enjoys choosing her own activity to complete the lesson.

Rod & Staff English – This was a hefty step up from Easy Grammar. It assumes familiarity with terms and lessons learned in earlier books, and had both girls grumbling at first. We started on grade level, 4 for her, 7 for her sister, and I now understand the recommendation to start one level below grade if you haven’t previously used the series; it’s challenging and rigorous. I’m happy with the all-in-one aspect, which greatly simplified our previous Easy Grammar/Mary Daly’s First Book of Diagramming/Write with the Best combo, and the comprehensive Teacher’s edition which incorporates review questions, reproduces the student’s page and includes answers to the text, tests, and supplemental pages. Her enthusiasm peaked this morning when she received a perfect score on her first chapter test.

Saxon 5/4 Math – Something about those timed drills, she just loves them. After completing the problem set, she likes to go through and check her answers, then lets me know which ones she got wrong and why. We went with the new paperback format which seems a little flimsy, but the consumable drill and test book is worth it.

The Violin Book – I don’t know yet how valid the author’s claims are, that your child should be at a junior concert playing level when the entire series is completed, but G is definitely having fun with it. She excitedly goes through her practice and is trying to teach her older sister. (Oh, yes, we found the violin two days ago -- hurray! It was at the island. She must have brought it out between storms for a little practice.)

What about my older daughter? Doesn’t she have any Picks or Pans? No, not really. She plugs along, completing the assignments she’s supposed to, I'd like to say with nary a complaint but that might be stretching it, and reads everything she can get her hands on. It’s nice to have one like that.

Looks like I might have two now.

No comments: