Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I have gotten a few reader questions via email. I am terrible at replying to emails. Really, really terrible. So I thought I would gather up some of them and answer here, just in case anyone else was also wondering...
1. Are you changing for next year from the Ambleside Online Curriculum to Trail Guide to Learning, POE? If so, why?
I don't use any curriculum exclusively. I like to have a good basic booklist as a touchstone. Ambleside Online Year 1 worked really well for us. During Year 2 we have kind of transitioned more away from AO. It's hard for me to really explain why; I make a lot of decisions based on instinct. Though we are reading most of the AO literature and additional reading selections, the strong British history focus just didn't feel right for us anymore, so we dropped it all and just started reading through A Child's History of the World. Next year we are going to try Trail Guide to Learning--Paths of Exploration. I have no idea how closely we will stick to the curriculum plan. I just know that the topics related to early America interest Gerrick; I really think he'll like the books covered through POE. But I also know that my child loves to have books read aloud to him by both myself and my husband. I don't think POE will be enough for him, so we will also be reading lots of the literature and additional reading selections from Ambleside Online Year 3 as well as any other books that we happen upon that strike our fancies. (He is not typical; yesterday he actually offered to pay me to keep reading to him after I wanted to stop.)
2. Did you like dreambox? Why are you changing to Life of Fred?
We did like Dreambox, but unfortunately it just wasn't a great long-term fit for Gerrick; once the novelty wore off, he got bored with it. I knew as soon as I saw that Life of Fred was coming out with an elementary set that we would have to try it. It is a good match for him because, as mentioned in the answer to #1 above, he loves to have books read to him. Also, the chapters are short and silly and demonstrate over and over again that math is meaningful. We just finished the second book, and he is still enjoying Fred! I'm thinking about trying Teaching Textbooks in addition to Fred next year, but maybe not...Right now we're both happy with Fred and some occasional pages of Super Math.
3. I really like the idea of BFSU, but can't really find a great sample lesson. Do you think that it would be fine to start (an 8yo) on the 1st book, or just skip to the next one (Elementary Science Education)? Why do you like BFSU?
I really like BFSU (Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding). It does take prep time on the parent's part, particularly if you want to reserve related library books as I do. I've dropped the ball on it this year due to some health issues (both my own and Gerrick's) that we've been focused on working through, but I do hope to get my act together again soon. He loved it, and I like it because it is real science and because all the concepts are presented in logical order building upon one another. I don't care how old a child is, I wouldn't move on to the 3-5 book until a firm understanding of all of the first book is in place. Gerrick is 8 and will soon be registered as a third grader, but we will be continuing the K-2 book for as long as it takes.
4. Would you be willing to update your blog on a weekly basis and just plug in what you guys do for the week so we could follow along (no pictures necessary)?
Don't count on it. ;) I have never (aside from a few posts to give an idea of the variety of our days) blogged about everything we do. That would take far more of my time than I want to spend on the computer. However, I have thought about doing a weekly post that included some of the week's highlights--something similar to Winging It's 7 Snippets meme or Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-Up. I'm not making any promises, though. I've been taking a bit of a blogging hiatus, not only due to health issues, but also because Gerrick hasn't wanted me to share so much of his life with the world lately. I am truly flattered that anyone would be interested in what we do, so thank you for your interest. I'll see what I can do.