I like to have several different sources for the same subject so that week can keep it real and the kids don’t get bored. For example. I consider reading, phonics, writing, grammar, etc to all fall under the same subject; language arts. So for the subject language arts, I have Explode the Code, First Language Lessons for the Well trained Mind, All About Spelling, journal paper (with a space for drawing pictures), and various reading books and some other things. I usually choose one or two supplements for each day. And I really like to not use them twice in a row unless requested. I don’t want them to get bored. Emma is much more likely to focus and enjoy Explode the Code if she doesn’t have to do it every day.
I also do the same thing for math. We have one basic curriculum and then several different games and things like that for reenforcing those things learned and making it fun.
For subjects like history and science, I like to use books that have activities as well as stories or explanations. For example, the Story of the World has the book that explains the history of the world as well as gives historical stories or short historical fiction so my kiddos can relate more easily. The separate activity book provides, things like map activities, coloring pages, the family history worksheets Lucy was working on yesterday as well as suggestions for more hands on experiments (writing cuneiform or hieroglyphics in clay, building a nomadic structure etc). The science books that we use have activities as well.
This last week I got some stuff in the mail and was excited to use them today. Lucy read to and played with Spencer while Emma and I worked on her first lesson for All About Spelling, which basically consisted of reviewing sounds. Not just the letters and their sounds, but all of the various sounds that different letter combinations can make (sh, th, ng, nk, etc). She did very well. I went to put it away but she asked to keep going. So we started on lesson 2. As Emma can already read small words, this was also a piece of cake for her (recognizing the first sound of a word, then the last, and finally segmenting each sound in three letter words). She really liked that activity because she had three plastic circles and moved one per sound of the word. d/o/g. It was pretty great to have her be so excited, not just because she is learning new things, but also because I was able to see how far she has come with her reading. She may drag her feet, but she is very good.
After that, she played playdoh with Spencer while Lucy and I worked a bit on First Language Lessons. That didn’t take long at all. So we moved onto homophones. It was published by the same people who did All About Spelling. In 10 minutes she was able to complete all of the homophone worksheets for first graders… Matt really likes homophones too. She must take after him.
We switched off again. Lucy was on baby duty while Emma and I played a great FREE game I found online! It’s called Add-it (not to be confused with Math-it). After much trying, with the help of this game. Emma has finally grasped the concept of addition! YAY! (look how tan she is!). The person who made this also made a Subtract-it. You can find them here at her website. She has a LOT of great freebies, especially for exactly for the age range of my children!