Hopefully some of these ideas will help you as you teach, especially if you are looking for no-cost, low-cost options. I have spent less money than ever this year on curriculum, yet it has been our best year by far.
This year, Ian is doing much more on his own. I am directly overseeing his writing, grammar, and mathematics. We are using IEW, Grammar, Fix It and Singapore Math respectively. If you want to read more about these subjects, I posted about them here. In addition to these curriculum choices, we are doing a few extra things for these topics.
For writing, I am spending a few minutes per day dictating to him from Little House in the Big Woods. As I dictate, he writes. He always tries to spell everything on his own, and I will stop and correct him as we go. Sometimes, this spawns a discussion about various spelling rules. So far, this exercise seems to be more productive than regular spelling lists.
In addition, I have just printed off some texts in cursive that I intend to have him trace. The first one I have printed is the initial paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. We should start this exercise tomorrow. While we haven’t formally taught him to write in cursive, we realize the importance of being able to read original historical documents. I also intend to order a book that contains pictures of some of the originals in order to have him practice reading them.
My excuse for not teaching him cursive was the fact that typing seems like a much more important skill right now. That, and he is still struggling with the physical motion of writing at all, although he is improving in leaps and bounds this year. So he will spend about 5-10 minutes per day typing. We have tried two or three typing programs geared towards children, but Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is still his favorite.
I have been reading to Ian like crazy lately. Not just living history and science books, but Uncle Eric too (which is his favorite series so far). We are also reading tons of fiction together. I am beginning to wonder if we should have gone with the Sonlight curriculum this year! On second thought, they are quite expensive, and we are doing well using whatever we can get our hands on.
I am simply falling in love with our local library. I never appreciated them because they have catered mostly to children, and I never had much use for them before. Almost all of their adult books are either outdated or pop-fiction, neither of which I enjoy. But now that Ian and I are reading together so much, I am rethinking my opinion of our library.
I think there must be a homeschooling family that is selling their old books to our nearest V-Stock, because I have found tons of great resources there lately.
Also, as I mentioned in my last post, we have found LibriVox quite invaluable. Right this moment, we are listening to nursery rhyme recordings. Since yesterday, when he listened to The Story of Dr. Dolittle in its entirety, he has listened to the first hour of The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, a bit of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and now nursery rhymes. I know it seems he is too old for nursery rhymes, but I skipped over them inadvertently when he was younger, so we are filling in the gaps in his education. They are quite pleasant! I am also intending to use this site for catching up on some poetry and perhaps listening to a few things in Spanish. The usefulness of this site seems endless!
Wow, I had intended to fill you in on what we were doing for some of our other subjects this year, but this topic got away from me, so I will save those for another time.