Sunday, 20 February 2011

What works for Adrienne...

...and what doesn't work for her. I was inspired to write this kind of post by Christina at Rockhound Place. She wrote about what curriculum works for her oldest.
Anytime is a good time to evaluate your curriculum and how it is working for your homeschool. This time of year is usually when I start thinking of the following school year, and it is important for me to evaluate our current curriculum choices.

I will be writing a series of posts, starting with this one "What works for Adrienne", then following with "What works for Andre" and then "What works for Celeste". In each post, I will also write about what works but isn't a favourite of my children and finally what doesn't work. The last post will be about the subjects we do together, again writing about what works and what doesn't. I hope you will enjoy this series.

Adrienne is 13 years old and technically in grade 8, but since we're homeschooling, we don't always follow that exactly.

On top of the list is Math. We are using Teaching Textbooks and this curriculum has been a great choice for Adrienne since we switched over a couple of years ago. I had mistakenly ordered the Algebra 1 for her this fall instead of Pre-Algebra. We decided to give it a try anyway, but after about 30 lessons, it proved to be too much. We took a break and she read a series of books on math. We thought this might help her, but when going back to Algebra 1, she still struggled. I ordered the Pre-Algebra level that she should have had and now she is doing great and loving math again! We skipped the first six units after she successfully completed the tests for those units. When I asked her which was her favourite curriculum that she did independently, she said Teaching Textbooks right away.

The next curriculum that works for her is Growing with Grammar. We have been using this grammar program for a few years. It works because it is clear and complete. Adrienne reads the lesson in her manual and then completes the exercices. I then correct her work and we go over her mistakes together as needed.

I will write more about our "together" subjects in a seperate post, but I have found that this year our Canadian History is also working well with Adrienne. She is more interested in history, maybe because we are concentrating on Canada.  

I also noticed more enthousiasm with her when we do our World Geography.

Now for what works but isn't a favourite of hers. Writing has never been her favourite. There hasn't been one writing curriculum so far that we have tried that she has enjoyed. She is capable of writing, she participated in NaNoWriMo without trouble and writes letters to her penpals regularly. She also narrates for history and science. But I think she still needs a writing curriculum to learn how to write more involved essays, reports and research papers. This year, we are using Jensen's Format Writing. I personally think it works, but she doesn't enjoy it. Because of this, we'll still continue with it, at least for this year.

Finally, here are the choices that are not working as well as we hoped.

L'Art de Lire is a French curriculum by Nallenart. Adrienne and I are both finding that it isn't enough. The workbook pages are not that interesting. The teacher's manual is mostly a repeat of the workbook with the answers filled in. I think we both would prefer a textbook, with a lesson then exercices to practice. I don't need the audio portion since French is my mother tongue, but we do need an outline and lessons to read together.  We will still continue using it for now, but we will be looking for something else for next school year.

Sequential Spelling is a great program, but for Adrienne who is a strong speller, it is not challenging enough at this level and it isn't interesting either. I have very good things to say about this curriculum, but not for her. I think she would do better with a vocabulary or a latin/greek root vocabulary program. We will finish this level and I am searching a few options for next year for this too.  

A really great idea that just didn't take off in our house was the Commonplace book. I truly believe that we need to give this another try. We use narration, oral and written, for many subjects in our homeschool, but not so much for literature. I have noticed that when we do narration for novels or short stories, we do it orally. Adrienne did use her commonplace book a little bit in the fall. She loves to read, but did not enjoy writing down about what she read. As I said, it is something I will want to try again. As a side note, I have been keeping my own commonplace book this year. I noticed that I enjoy keeping notes of non-fiction books, but not novels, so I can relate to Adrienne's feelings.

Next time, I will write about what works for Andre...


  1. i really liked hearing what worked and what didn't. i might need to do this too. zach and i used sequential spelling last year and it didn't work for him either. we use spelling wisdom from simply charlotte mason and that is working very well.

  2. I loved reading about what is working for Adrienne, Alex! It gives me some ideas for next year (especially for math, which is a constant struggle in our house).

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your curriculum and library books with us.I am a homeschool mom of 3 girls and have bought things you hve posted before & now I just purchased the grammar books & we will be working on the common place fun!Please also stop by our letter writing project,thanks!


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