Oh, are we are at the end of the traditional school year? Goodie! We finally, at the end of fifth grade, have hammered out our fifth grade curriculum well enough for me to share. It’s not original. It’s not creative. In fact, it looks a lot like our fourth grade curriculum with a couple of welcome additions, including a baby in the mix. (So, currently, I have a fifth grader, third grader, kindergartener or kindergartner–whichever you prefer, and 9 month old.) It has been an interesting, growing year. Do you watch old cartoons? A lot of times I felt like Wile E Coyote. Or Tom. Or Sylvester. Yep. Did. Just call it, “The Looney (Home)School.” That’s it. But at the end of this year, I would be able to produce for the authorities documentation of education in the following areas:
- BABYSITTING SKILLS
- BABYSITTING SKILLS
- Physical education
- Lots of silent sustained reading
- BABYSITTING SKILLS
Onward to Math: Saxon Math 7/6
We have used Saxon Math since we started homeschooling, and in fact, I used Saxon Math myself as a sixth grader on up till graduation from high school (except for geometry). Boring and dry–but tightly and thoroughly knit. My oldest daughter has been steadily working through the 7/6 book this school year. There have been times when it proved too hard, and we slowed way down. Then, something clicked in her brain, and it became “easy.” So all year, we have moved through the book according to her mastery level, not my lesson planner. Here’s what we do.
- Start working in the Saxon Math book according to the lesson which best matches skill level. Don’t just start the book at lesson one, unless that is where the skill level lies.
- Moving forward through the book is determined by how well my daughter is scoring on the daily assignments. If she seems to understand and is consistently getting most of the problems correct, I usually pick and choose the problems for her to do. Or I may have her just do the evens or odds in a problem set. At this pace, we are moving forward at a lesson a day. If, however, she is missing several problems or doesn’t seem to understand concepts, we slow down until she starts mastering most of the problems again. At these times, she will be assigned half of the problem set one day and the other half the next. There have been times where we stop completely doing lessons for a week and simply do supplemental problems on concepts she is struggling with. Supplemental problem sets are provided in the back of the Saxon 7/6 manual. On average, we have gotten through three problem sets a week.
- I do not formally teach her the lesson content. She is supposed to read it herself and attempt to do the problems in the set. If she does not understand, I teach her the new material as I am checking her math later.
- We do the mental math component about every third or fourth lesson. We don’t do mental math every lesson, although in an ideal homeschool situation, I’d like to.
- We do not take routine tests. My daughter actually asks for the tests, and we have probably done about three this year at her request. At this age, I do not like to use tests much. I check her math, and I am very aware of what she is and is not grasping. So I don’t feel the need to test. However, later in her education, I will make sure she has tests so she is prepared for “the real world.”
- To round out our math curriculum, she does some flash cards with a sister and some “applied” math her dad.
- We will not finish the Math 7/6 book “this year” by the end of May. We will continue doing some math lessons throughout the summer. There are 120 lessons in the book, and we are on Lesson 87. Often, at the end of a book, I feel they start cramming in new concepts just for pre-exposure to the next school year. I never like this. I usually stop a book when I feel this happening and skip on to the next book, resuming at the appropriate lesson point.
What about you?
What about you? Do you use a curriculum as it is designed? Or do you fix it up for your student? Do you feel worried when you fall behind your lesson planner? Does anyone out there “unschool” for math? That would be fun to hear about! Wishing you lots of fun in your homeschooling!