Well, Gess had her surgery which went really well. She had a rough first week home as her throat got infected but after some stronger antibiotics we are finally healing up. She is doing much better now so we started school on Monday August 30.
We had a really great first day of school and I think I will like all the choices I have made for this year. Today I will share what we are doing for Social Studies.
I have really struggled to find a curriculum that works well for Gess in this area. Gess should probably be in the 3rd grade, however for social skills and interaction in group activities we generally keep her one grade behind that. With that said, we are still mostly in grade 1 materials. So when I grabbed a new Social Studies Curriculum I decided to stay back at level 1.
One reason is that I really want books that Gess can read by herself, not ones that I have to read to her. While her vocabulary is really advanced and she can read the words in 2nd grade materials, she struggles reading print that is too small. Even with her glasses she still seems to need large print. I also want her to experience the independence of being able to do some of the work on her own. I also wanted worksheets, tests and materials to be easy to adapt to special needs and offer hands on experiences. After much search I finally settled on Heritage Studies 1 by Bob Jones University (BJU) Press. I found it pretty cheap on Ebay and we started using it this week.
I have found the student Text Book to be visually appealing and the text rather large so Gess can read it really well. The worksheets and tests seem to be really adaptable to special needs also. The tests offers things like matching items and circling the answers which are often in picture form rather than text. The visual choices are great for children with special needs. It really sets the test up in a way that they can succeed.
The material also seems to be more of a hands on nature. Our very first lesson took us outside making lakes in the backyard to enforce the concept that lakes (and other bodies of water) are simply water in "low" places in the earth. She not only read it but now understands that the water needs be in land that is lower than the land around it so that water can not run off. We made our "puddles" in the back yard and then talked about how that same concept on a larger scale is what makes ponds, lakes and oceans.
After we made our "lakes", we went inside and read our text book. The next day we began learning about maps and how the blue parts on the map represent the water that is in low places on the earth and the green parts is dry land that is on higher places. This makes much more sense now that she has seen how a body of water is made. I just love real life hands on examples. I think for review we will be feeding the ducks at the lake on Friday and talking about how that lake was made! What a fun way to end the lesson, don't you think?