Friday, October 14, 2011

School Check-Up

Today we finished 8 weeks of our planned school year! It has gone by very quickly, and I thought it might be a good time to review what we are doing to make sure we have the best year possible! I thought I'd just go down the list of my final curriculum choices that I posted a while back.

  • Homeschool Co-Op: We LOVE our co-op! The boys look forward to Thursdays because they cannot wait to go to their co-op classes.  I think they have really enjoyed being with other home-schooled children and have also enjoyed getting some things that they just don't get at home! (It is hard to play dodge ball with just the 3 of us...) Andrew is in Mother's Day Out at our church on Thursdays, so not only do the big boys get some fun classes, we get to work on school for a few hours together with absolutely no interruptions, and I get to go grocery shopping by myself.  Yesterday, Jerry and I even met for a lunch date out!
A & E show off their Folk Art paintings - the first project they did in their art class! Who knew they had such talent? It sure isn't from me!!

  • Sonlight Core B+C: This is turning out to be a good history and read aloud core for us.  We started reading Gladys Aylward yesterday, and I must admit that I'm a bit bummed that we have to wait until Monday to hear more of her story! My boys are also loving learning so much about world history.  The have gotten into coloring a flag for each country we talk about and taping it to the wall around our world map. I love that they took the initiative to do this themselves! 
  • E chilling in the recliner I sit in to do read alouds.  This chair has become a favorite "chill out" spot for the whole family.
  • Rod & Staff Miller Series: I am enjoying using these books to supplement our Bible readings, and my boys really like the character quality workbook we are going through this year.  They look forward to starting a new page and I am enjoying the way they are searching through the Bible to find answers. 
  • Ethan *loves* Rod & Staff workbooks!
  • Language Arts: I still love the Rod & Staff English curriculum.  This is my first year to use their grade 1 curriculum (I didn't start Aaron in it until grade 2) and Ethan is enjoying it.  He is getting a great foundation on how words are put together, and he loves the craft worksheets that go with each lesson.  I also still love the way Bible lessons are woven into each grammar and reading lesson.  I am glad we switched to Spelling Power, too.  Aaron's book is teaching him much more than what we used last year. 
  • Some cut-out people from one of Ethan's craft worksheets that go along with his reading.
  • Apologia Human Anatomy and Physiology: I cannot say enough about this curriculum!!! We are absolutely *loving* science this year, and we have loathed it until now.  The workbooks that go with this are amazing and the reading keeps the kids' attention! I highly recommend this series! 
  • After each system we study, we add a layer to our "person" in the workbook.  We just finished muscles!
    Mummifying an apple...
    Making an edible cell.  It's hard to go wrong with a science activity involving large quantities of candy!
  • Math: Aaron is really coming along with math now that he is using Abeka.  He is also understanding the concepts in RightStart's level B that he did last year much better hearing it with Ethan again this year.  I was concerned that he would resent having to do it with Ethan since he already did it once, but he is enjoying how quickly it makes sense now that he is seeing it for the second time.  I will keep him in Abeka, though, because it is taught in a way that simply clicks for him.  However, Ethan is doing perfectly in RightStart, so it looks like we will be a "two math curriculum" family.  It's only money, right??
Andrew has been much easier to deal with this school year.  He still wants to get in the middle of what we're doing, but hey! I just look at that as him getting some of his learning done early!

Finally, I was told by many that having a dedicated school room was a nice idea in theory, but that we would abandon it within a few weeks.  I don't know why we are the major exception to this statement, but we are still using and enjoying our school room. Other than Aaron escaping to a quiet spot to do his math work while I do reading with Ethan, we do all of our school in there every day.  My boys are able to understand that once we move to that room, we are there to learn.  They go to their seats at the table many  mornings without me asking and wait for me once they see I am headed that direction.  They have personalized their end of the table with a few items they enjoy and are staying much more focused when I am reading to them than they used to when we were sitting where ever we happened to be.  Jerry is also very grateful that the piles of books stay in there and not all over the living room! A nice plus has been that we have made a habit of deep cleaning the school room every Friday together, so the boys are taking some responsibility for keeping their learning environment neat and clean.  I don't think we'll be abandoning the "school room" idea any time soon!
Aaron hiding on my bed with his math work.  When I walked in the room, the cat was curled up at his side!


cuponklipper said...

We haven't abandoned our school room either! The kids were able to decorate their desks with stickers, too.

Love the new layout!

Joanna said...

I think I wouldn't have abandoned the school room, if it was right next to the kitchen. The house revolves around the kitchen and it's hard to be away from it for very long.

I'm going to check out the science curriculum. I need some inspiration!

Hey! We put Sarah in with Rachel's 1st grade math class. She just wasn't getting it, and we thought what's the point of pushing her to keep up with "3rd grade", when we're homeschooling her. She is MUCH happier in her math than she was before.

Joanna said...

What Abeka are you using for Aaron's math? Del prints out kakuro puzzles for Sarah to do.

Joanna said...

Oh, and I'm so glad you posted something because I was getting obsessed with changing the post so my eyes wouldn't be staring at me every time I came here. ACK!