A Mid-Year Change in Homeschool Curriculium

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Sometime after Christmas I was looking at curriculum and evaluating where Thing 1 and Thing 2 were in the year, I had a moment where I thought about bumping Thing 1 up to Essentials next year (Classical Conversations). I thought maybe she could handle it. That is until I actually looked into what they were doing. Then I had the oh no moment you never want to have as a homeschooling parent.

This past summer, a good friend from Texas and I were chatting curriculum and she said, “Tara, look at Shurley English.” I did and promptly reported back to her I was going to stick with the Abekka route this year. I wanted a simple, no fuss, curriculum this year since we were starting Classical Conversations and I was having Thing 4 in the fall. After looking through the material I knew that Thing 1 would be ok to wait on Shurley’s because she was going to learn all of that stuff between 3rd and 4th grade with Abekka. That stuff being parts of speech. After all, why change her, she was writing full paragraphs before the end of first grade. Never mind that she didn’t understand what an adjective was or what I was looking for when I said, “Be more descriptive!” At the time, I wasn’t even thinking about the impact my English curriculum would have on our Classical Conversations curriculum.

We know that we want to continue with Classical Conversations in our future curriculum. We love the results it produces and the smiles on our Thing’s faces every time we review. It is their favorite part of school. Mine too. Knowing that Classical Conversations is where we are going to root ourselves, I want to make sure that I am setting them up for success. Staying put with Abekka was not going to work. As soon as I realized where she needed to be in order to take full advantage of Essentials in 4th grade, I made the switch. Shurley’s is a 28 week curriculum. I started her in Level 2 now rather than wait until fall and Start Level 3 (which she would have struggled with greatly). My plan is to continue Shurley’s through the summer. We should be through all of our other curriculum by early May.

What is Shurly teaching?

I did not know this until I actually got my book, but in addition to teaching them vocabulary words, parts of speech, and jingles to learn the parts of speech, they are also learning states and capitals. I was very pleased about this! I know we will be learning them in CC, in Cycle 2 or 3, but I was/am happy to see the curriculum coincide so well. We made it through one full week plus part of a second before stopping to work on Memory Master. Thing 1 now knows the difference between synonyms and antonyms. She can look her vocabulary words up in a dictionary on her own, write the meaning, and she can then tell me if the vocab words are synonyms or antonyms. She has learned the capital and postal abbreviation for Alabama.

She is picking up on the jingles with out any issues. In fact, I believe Thing 2 has the verb jingle completely memorized because he and Thing 1 think the jingle is hilarious and they sing it over and over. As early as the next lesson, the students are labeling subject nouns and verbs in a sentence.

By the end of the curriculum they will be labeling parts of speech and doing Question and Answer flows. This is something that if you are going to go through Essentials, you will want to be prepared for. An example:

“The church bell rang loudly in my ears.

1. What rang loudly in my ears? bell- SN

2. What is being said about the bell? bell rang- V

3. Rang how? loudly- ADV

4. In- P

5. In what? ears- OP

6. Whose ears? my- PP

7. What kind of bell? church- ADJ

8. The- A

9. SN V P1 check

10. (in my ears)- Prepositional Phrase

11. Period, statement, declartive sentence

12. Go back to the verb- divide the complete subject from the complete predicate.”

(Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc. p 396, Lesson 27)

They will also be able to give you the capital and postal abbreviation for all of the states.

Does she like it?

Recently, her tutor from CC asked if she did and she said no. I have no idea what prompted her to say that because she really does. She LOVES the jingles. At first, I had her doing the journaling that is supposed to go along with each lesson. I quickly nixed that. Maybe next year, but for this year she can choose to write in her own journal or write a letter to someone. I think the journaling was not up her alley. She does like to journal, but on her own terms, in her own secret journal. I respect that.

I am actually super excited about Shurly’s. Over the summer when I first looked at it, I thought it was too soon for a second grader to learn and understand all of the parts of speech. That just isn’t so if it is presented the right way. I wish I had learned it this way. If your child is in CC they already know all of their prepositions and helping verbs which is helpful. Again, the curriculums pair nicely. That is about all that I can give you for now as far as knowledge about the curriculum. Feel free to ask me more as I dive deeper into it over the summer.

Which leads me to our plans for next fall. Since Thing 4 has arrived, I find myself missing the simplicity of being a SAHM and not a homeschooling SAHM. Please don’t misunderstand where I am coming from. I do enjoy watching my children learn and all that jazz… but I miss the crafting, the coloring, and the goofing off. Since Thing 4, I just can’t find the time for that. Next year is going to be different. I am thinking of schooling for a few weeks, then taking one or two off just to craft, enjoy the pool, and be a family. School a few weeks then take 2 off again. We start so early every year that I don’t see this as being an issue. Also, I believe the breathers will be welcomed in the midst of our ever- changing busy schedules. Maybe four weeks on one week off, or six weeks on and two off? I haven’t decided yet, but I need to build those breaks in. My Things are growing up before my eyes and even though I homeschool, and I am a SAHM, I am missing out on all of the things I love to do and want to do with them. That just doesn’t sit right with me so that is definitely going to have to change. Does anyone have this type of schedule for homeschool? How does it work for you? I would really love input here. I am on this adventure/journey, call it what you will, right along with ya’ll. If we can’t bounce ideas off of each other, then what?

I have a few very exciting things coming soon that I can’t share yet. Soon! Because of these exciting things, I will be making some changes on the blog. Once they are all done I will let you know. Stay tuned!

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