Home Learning 2015-2016

by Josée
The beginning of the school year has already passed and we are well into on our third year our home learning! There are several changes for us this year, all of which are exciting and a little nerve wracking. One change is that I have been officially teaching two children, and two seems like a lot more than one. My eldest is in second grade and my daughter is in kindergarten. Figuring out how to meet the needs of both definitely make me feel a little overwhelmed at times but each day I am figure out our rhythm just a little more.

This year we have continued our enrollment with Island Discovery Learning Community distributed learning (DL) program and have registered with their part-classroom program. My two children attend a learning centre one day a week where they are free to inquire, explore and be engaged in discovery with a small multi-age group of home learning children. They have been so excited to participate in this program and I have to admit that I am equally thrilled for them. We are also continuing to take part in the Learning Circle when we are able to but scheduling conflicts in the last couple months have made taking part challenging. The Learning Circle has been an important part of our community and learning experiences in the last three years and we have had some wonderful experiences and made great connections with families in this community.

When it comes to home learning we continue to do prioritize many of the same things that we did last year. As I mentioned last year, I don’t prescribe to any particular home learning philosophy but borrow from many. Eclectic home learning probably describes our family best. I value child-led learning, project-based learning and seasonally inspired learning. I want my children to have a strong foundation in reading, writing and mathematics. We love books, art and music. We use curriculum for some subjects, but not for all. This year we are using specific programs for language arts and mathematics and I have listed them below. As for French, science, social studies, art, music and physical and health education we draw our learning experiences from a variety or places, people, situations and resources. I will share some of my favourites for these topics over the next few months.

Felix: Grade Two
Reading and Writing
All About Reading 2 and All About Spelling 2
When my son completed the Primary Arts of Language (PAL) program last year we moved on to the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs. The All About Spelling 1 book was included in the PAL program and it seemed like a good next step for my son. The program itself is very comprehensive and focuses on developing a solid understanding of various sounds of the English language.

Singapore Mathematics 2A and 2B
After completing Math-U-See Alpha my son transitioned to Singapore Math 1B. He was much more interested in the Singapore math program because of the challenge of learning new concepts at a quicker pace.

Claire: Kindergarten 
Reading and Writing
Primary Arts of Language (PAL) through the Institute for Excellence in Writing
This is a very comprehensive reading and writing program for K-2. I used this program with my eldest for the last two years and now I will be using it with my daughter. I have a feeling that my daughter will move through the program at quicker pace than my son since she already seems to enjoy reading and writing. This program incorporates a variety of ways to learn about reading and writing such as games and various activities. As the parent it takes some prep work to get organized each week but it was been well worth it. Here is the link for the Canadian distributor.

Singapore Essential Math: Kindergarten A and B
After spending about a year-and-a-half using Math-U-See with my son I chose to make the switch to Singapore Math. There were elements of Math-U-See that I liked, such as the manipulative blocks and the lessons on DVD, but I found that it was quite repetitive and a little slow paced. I considered using Math-U-See for my daughter but in the end chose to start her with Singapore Math alongside her brother. So far, Singapore Essential Math seems to be a good fit for her.

Related Posts:
Home Learning 2014-2015
Shifts and Changes: Home Learning 2014-2015
We Are Home Learners
What is a Learning Circle?

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