Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Midyear checkup!

We've almost finished 24 weeks of school!  I thought it would be a good time to look back and evaluate what we've done and see if anything needs adjusting or tweaking.

Overall, this year has gone pretty smoothly (said in amazement!).  I honestly have to say it's been our best year ever.  One thing that testifies to that is how little I have changed course over the year.  In previous years, I would get swayed by "new" curriculum I'd run across.  I'd switch and change and realize that it had it's problems too.  Here and here I posted about our upcoming year--schedule and curriculum.  It was fun just looking back over those 2 posts, because not much has changed (unless we finished a book)!  To me that symbolizes a peace with where we are, a peace with the curriculum, and with the style of learning (Charlotte Mason).

I thought you might be interested to see the minor tweaks I've made and what we've kept.

Bible and devotions:  The boys are still reading one chapter a day in their bibles and we have moved on to a new devotion book Grace for the Moment Morning & Evening Edition.  Both boys finished their bible study books and we started The Book of Proverbs God's Book of Wisdom .  We still do scripture memory daily.  For the girls, we have started Truth & Grace Memory Book #1 and they love it!

Character issues:  I've added in Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends.  Jacob seems to be having a tougher time than usual with Connor and his AS...  Jacob longs for a brother to play with him in a more interactive way.  I am hoping that using this book will be a good sort of social story for Connor and of course, what brothers and sisters don't need to work at being better friends.  We also still read one selection a week from The Book of Virtues for Young People.

Math:  Both boys are still using Saxon Math and it's going well.  We'll stick with it!  We also finished reading Mathematicians are People Too.  The girls use the Math-U-See Primer a couple times a week and LOTS of life skills--counting, helping mom cook, etc.

History:  Gotta love the SCM History guides!  We're on lesson 146 of Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, & the Epistles.  I can't believe how much we (yes, we) are learning.  We are learning so much about the reformation that I never knew.  We have about 30 lessons left and then we move on to some American history (hoping to time it right when SCM comes out with Module 5...).  I really enjoy these guides because they aren't overwhelmingand they give you such a nice outline of daily readings, a little less work for me.  We've tried numerous ones (Weaver, SOTW, MOH...) and I always felt like it was too much--too much for me and too much for them.  Lots of stuff that was just fluff thrown in just for the sake of filling it up with activites.  SCM gives you what to read as a family (the spine and other books) and what to assign each level to read independently (if possible).  We've loved most all the books this year--The Man Who Laid the Egg, Thunderstorm in Church, The Beggar's Bible, Around the World in a Hundred Years, Christopher Columbus...and that's just our together reading!  Connor has read The White Stag, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, The Shining Company, The Magna Charta, In Freedom's Cause, and he is now on The Prince and the Pauper.  Jacob has read The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Vikings, Adam of the Road, and he is now reading The World of Christopher Columbus and Sons.  Wow, kind of an eye opener for me.  Sometimes when you're in the middle of it you don't see the big picture.  We've covered a lot of history.

Spelling and Copywork and Grammar:  Jacob does SCM Spelling Wisdom 1 and Connor does Spelling Wisdom 2.  They do it 3 times a week and Copywork the other 2 days of the week.  It is amazing to see their skills increase without using dry, boring, contrived lists.  And their handwriting!  To flip through their pages of writing and see the improvement....sure gives them a burst of encouragement.  They didn't believe it would happen and they don't see it in the day to day of it, but to go back and flip through...good stuff!  They both finished their Analytical Grammar for the year.  Connor does have to do one review selection every other week.

Reading and Handwriting:  The girls and I have been working on Get Ready for the Code - Book a and Handwriting without Tears.  Shaoey is into writing all of our names and then Grace copies Shaoey's paper!

Literature:  I added this in.  They have a literature piece to read 3 times a week and a science selection to read 2 times.  Connor has read Gentle Ben and now The Deer Slayer.  Jacob read Gentle Ben and is now reading In His Steps.  We were using Jacks' Insects for science reading, but we found it too dry for us so we switched to The Story Book of Science.  We really like the conversational tone much better.

Foreign Language:  After dragging it out longer than I should have, we finally ditched changed from Latin to Spanish and it seems to be a better fit.  We're using Getting Started with Spanish and SPANISH in 10 minutes a day®.

Science:  We are reading Discover Nature in Winter: Things to Know and Things to Do a couple of days a week and we try to take a nature walk and make a nature journal entry on Fridays.  The girls and I are reading Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 1.

Picture, composer, and poetry study:  This seems to be hit or miss.  We only do each one one day a week, but some weeks we don't hit all 3.  This would have bothered me in the past, but I feel that we have such a rounded selection that we are hitting quite a bit.  No guilt!

Extra:  We still do The Fallacy Detective and we added in Mavis Beacon Typing.

In addition, we've had numerous field trips so far this year--Houston (NASA, Houston Zoo, and the Cockrell Butterfly Museum and Museum of Natural Science), a corn maze, a Christmas tree farm, hunting in Sonora (both boys killed bucks)...

I know this looks like a lot, but would you believe we are done by noon most days!  Honestly!  We don't do every subject every day many of these things only take 10-15 minutes each.  It really is such a delight to spend the days with my children.  (Please don't read that as we never get under each other's skin...we are human, not saints!)

How are you doing this school year?  Have you made changes?  I'd love to hear about it!  I've been wanting to try my first Mcklinky and this sounds like a good place to try it.

1 comment:

Wolfe's Home said...

Fun to see what you're up to, Charlene. You are doing a great job!