I was a bit premature on my “First Week Back” post, and only when I realized that homeschooling forums/email lists are all talking about their first complete week back on Friday (not as early as Wednesday), did I decide to do a Part II!

I’m excited about all the new curriculum we are adding to our year (and leaving out things we never got to last fall). We’re starting the subjects Writing, Grammar and Vocabulary. Today I’ll cover the writing.

We are using The Complete Writer: Writing With Ease: Strong Fundamentals by Susan Wise Bauer. For those of you who don’t know that name, she’s the one who has inspired our method of classical education homeschooling, and we have all of her curriculum (reading, history, grammar, writing). Before you make the mistake I did, the hardcover book linked above is repeated in the companion Student Workbook. The lessons are totally scripted in the workbook, with tear-out pages for the student to write as well. In fact, the hardcover book isn’t as complete as the workbook, so it’s not needed. I actually downloaded the PDF file of the student pages ($9.50), so now all I have to do is print out using my printer, unlimited copies for my family! These worksheet pages don’t need to be downloaded or bought, you can make your own easily. Next time around, I’ve learned my lesson and will only download the complete Workbook 2 PDF file.

Each week covers 4 lessons to gently introduce a first grader to copywork and narration. Monday our copywork consisted of “Pa owned a pig.” This took Satori only a few seconds, so we just wrote it over one more time, focusing on proper capitalization and a period for the sentence. I am debating whether to use our StartWrite software in HWT font for her copywork pages…

The narration consisted of reading a short fable, and then asking several questions. Answers are required to be in complete sentences. I am going to try and speak in complete sentences more often myself, and minimize my use of contractions, to assist Satori in proper language.

We’re trying to keep lessons 20 minutes or less for the big subjects like Reading and Math, and under 10 minutes for the  easy stuff like Handwriting, Writing, and Grammar. Here’s my little reminder tool we’re using, I love it! As you can see, our Reading lesson (OPG) just took 8 minutes to complete, and since it is a Friday, I was okay with that. I do not require her to read every single sentence though, we do a quick review, cover the new rule, read all the new words, and then read a couple sentences.

Satori continued to make me laugh throughout the week…

We still have the occasional inversions on “g” and “p”, but I’m told this will be completely normal these first few years. We’re going over printing lowercase once again in Handwriting Without Tears, and this time we’re going through it very slowly.

One curriculum decision I was going to make was to ditch ETC workbooks completely (pictures shown above and below). However, Satori said she enjoyed doing them. Since we are so far behind in these workbooks compared to her actual reading level, we’re going to go through them at an even more accelerated pace. I’m choosing just two pages out of each lesson, and these lessons will cover a multitude of subjects – reading, handwriting, and spelling!

If we keep the accelerated pace up, we should be caught up in ETC Book 3 or 4 to her reading level by late spring.