Whew! All this blogging is taking up so much of my time that maybe I should look into getting paid for reviews. Hmmm...just kidding. Partly. Therefore, this post doesn't contain any affiliate links either. I'm writing because I enjoy it. Really. Oh great, now I feel guilty spending so many hours selfishly enjoying something...ah the life of a mom!
I'm hoping I can get through everything else in one post and without any further soap box moments.
All Things Fun and Fascinating by IEW
I'm working through this curriculum with Zeke and Josh this year. I felt confident to teach it after two years of previous experience with IEW's writing method (Teaching Writing with Structure and Style). My mantra quickly became, "You can't help them too much." Help I did. At first it felt like I was writing each paragraph/story twice (once for each boy) for them, rather than them doing it. Any frustration on my part was simply the lesson God designed for me in patience (I'm a poor student). My help for the boys meant that learning to write became a possibility rather than a lesson in futility. They are learning that they can do it--and that's a great first step! We didn't quite finish the curriculum, and I haven't decided if we will or not. I'm ready for a change, and I sense that they are too. We have many great stories in the boys' portfolios now. We have our sights set on the Student Writing Intensive for next year.
As a curriculum, AFF is well-written. There is a student book (with copyright permission within each family) and a teacher's manual (ebook). The teacher's manual includes lesson plans and tips, as well as a coordinating vocabulary component. The stories in AFF are fun and interesting, living up to the book's title.
AFF alone is not enough to be a full language arts curriculum. We added in spelling and reading. For reading we tried to choose titles that coordinated with our history studies, or whatever I happened to be in the mood for. For grammar we finished up a book by Evan Moore (Daily Language Review) and just recently cracked into Daily Oral Language. None of what we have used so far have given Zeke and Josh a decent foundation in knowing the parts of speech, so I pulled out Winston Grammar a couple weeks ago. So far I like it.
For history we used BJU Heritage Studies 4 student text and the student activity book. I picked and chose which activity sheets to do based on what I thought may be interesting to my students while adding to their learning at the same time. It is clear to me that my boys learn and retain much more history when we employ delight-directed learning. That is, when they choose to read books that appeal to them. Do I even need to say it? Next year we will use TruthQuest History and our public library. ;)
We didn't do very much science this year. I purchased Science in the Beginning by Dr. Jay Wile. I love that the format is similar to the books he wrote for middle and high school science. I love that the text is rich with experiments. I simply have not had time to do more than a few lessons with the boys. We are going to study a lot of science this summer, and I hope to make it through this book! It would be really awesome if our study of science coordinated with our history timeline, but that's not going to happen this year. It's alright...I know that connections will be made where they need to be made.
I think this concludes my reviews of homeschool materials now, unless of course I forgot something that I really wanted to tell you about. I will return later this summer to share a list of what we are using for the next school year.