Friday, July 9, 2010


I was up until 2am last night, poring over curriculum for IF we homeschool.  I was cross referencing Cathy Duffy's Reviews.  A has never had any Phonics (well, with the exception of the summer that I taught her Phonics and she responded so well to it) and I would really like to do some Phonics with her, but they don't really make Phonics books for fifth graders and A isn't in need of intervention, she reads above grade level.  But I do think that Phonics could help her with Spelling, so I started looking at various Spelling programs.  And there really are so many.  How do you know if you are picking the right one?

I thought I had chosen a Math curriculum.  JUMP Math is a Canadian program that is designed to meet Canadian Curriculum Requirements but uses a scaffolding (building on skills for mastery) approach as opposed to a spiraling (touching on things over and over) approach.  I figured IF we do this for only a year and the girls go back to different could Canadian standards be?  Then I discovered Math U See, which seems like a phenomenal program with manipulatives and a DVD to help me to be prepared to teach each concept.  I watched a Demo video and the creator was very engaging.  This program offers books through Calculus!  And while it does prepare for word problems, it clearly states that it doesn't expect the child to do problems BEFORE they are after a year, would they be able to return to the classroom and succeed having used this program?

I know we could use Singapore, but the girls have been using Everyday Math in school and we all hate it and Singapore sounds a lot like Everyday Math.  Which would be great for returning to school...not so great for getting a real feel for getting away from school.

At 2am, I was so overwhelmed and crazed that I started looking at and thinking maybe if we moved....  But I was reminded that the town where I grew up, which is rumored to have a great school system, has similar test scores to the town where we live now AND the houses that I would be able to afford, I wouldn't want to live in.  So then I started looking at the next town over, which is huge.  The test scores are the same as here (meaning what?  Ours are not so bad?  I have no idea!) but it's an ENORMOUS school system, both the next town over and the town where I grew up have over 1000 students in each graduating class; they can't have all of their students attend a prom at the same time!  Another town nearby which also has over 1000 students per graduating class, is very affluent and the drugs are rumored to be...vast and extensive and high end and designer.  

In the middle of my searching, note taking, reviewing frenzy, P comes out to me with a lipgloss in a test tube and asks if I know what it is.  (She was supposed to be in bed).  I had no idea what she was asking me, but I clearly remembered the day I bought the lipgloss at Justice after the girls came to work with me.  P explained that A had taken the lipgloss to school and another child had asked why she had that and threw it on the floor and stomped on it.  A must have been crushed, because we had gone to Justice specifically to buy that lipgloss.  When A told the teacher, she just rolled her eyes and said, "Girls will be girls."  Which, yes, in the grand scheme of things, a broken lipgloss is not a big deal.  But when another child throws it on the ground and stomps on it.... I even ask myself if that really is THAT bad... But if I am hearing about it several weeks after the end of the school year, then I believe it affected my girls.  I know there are people who would say that kids need these experiences...why?  Adults don't grab each other's make-up and throw it on the ground and stomp on it!  Sure, there are other things that happen and maybe dealing with THIS will help prepare them for THAT...but I believe that raising them to be strong and confident will help them to deal with THAT.  And confidence, unfortunately, is something that I believe more and more that they will not get in the classroom.

So, here I am, once again poring over curriculum sites.