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Today was the first day of school for the 2014-2015 year. We're starting a lot earlier than we usually do, because we're planning to go out of town for a couple of weeks in September, and because we will most likely take a longish vacation starting in early May. I don't want to have to come back from vacation and try to get everyone back into a school frame of mind for another few weeks!

We're making major changes this year. We won't be spending nearly as much time, if at all, at co-op activities, and we'll be using a new academic approach at home. I was excited that a secular curriculum, Bookshark, based on Sonlight has been released, and purchased their "grade 3" package to use with both kids for history and literature -- it's the first year of a two-year study of US History. I also bought their readers and language arts curricula for both kids -- second grade intermediate for Karl, and third grade advanced for Erika. Although Erika is in fourth grade, I chose the third grade language arts and readers for her because it's all closely connected to the history. Plus, the age range for this level is 8-11, and she'll be turning 10 during the year, so I'm sure it'll be fine.

The first day went well! I think the kids enjoyed the books I read out loud, and I know they enjoyed the timeline and map work. Karl didn't balk at the amount of reading -- I was worried about it, particularly since I'm trying out having him read both the second grade (very easy, but connected to the LA) and second grade intermediate readers.

I like the language arts program so far; I think it's at the right level for my kids. The second grade is really going to challenge Karl, but I don't think it will be so hard as to be a problem, and he needs to be challenged after spending the last two years focused on learning to read and basic handwriting. The third grade has a fair bit of review for Erika, but I'm also OK with that -- she will benefit from spending more time on these concepts.

We're using Singapore Math US edition for math, and I spent today zipping through the first parts of 2A and 4A with the kids, identifying a few areas they need to work on and opting not to assign any written work for the rest. I want them to have enough time to work on math enrichment activities, which will never happen if they are bogged down doing every problem on every page of the workbooks.

We wrapped up the school day with some drawing with Mark Kistler's draw3d web site, which the kids had a great time with.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

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August 2014

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