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Mid-year assessment continued…

February 3, 2009

Part 2 (as the previous post was getting way too long)

Subjects for everyone (at least when D cares enough to join us):

Other literature we get comes mainly from the suggestions in our history activity guide. I had planned to read through Beautiful Feet’s Teaching Character through Literature selections, but I’ve hardly looked at it. I’m not reading long books aloud nearly as much as I would like to but we do get classic children’s literature on cd to listen to in the car, and that has been good for all of us.

FIVE IN A ROW: Yes, we are doing FIAR at the rate of about 1 unit per month! Not quite my original plan for C, but it’s kind of turned into a fun extra for C and D when we get around to it. We were also going to do Folk Tales and Fairy Tales Literature Pockets for preK/K, but that fell by the wayside the first week. They seemed like busywork and while A loved cut-n-paste, the other two just don’t. We have so many other subjects to study, this got dropped and we don’t miss it a bit.

HISTORY: We still love Story of the World and the accompanying Activity Guide, although we’ve haven’t done nearly as many projects as it seemed like we were doing last year. We’re thoroughly enjoying the Middle Ages. I still haven’t put up even a simple timeline yet. We’re jumping around cultures a lot at the moment and I still haven’t grasped just what is going on in the same time period around the world, but we’re all learning so much. We have 18 chapters left, and approximately 16 weeks of school, so we’re not as terribly behind as I thought we were. I still never get to all the extras I plan, but we’re still getting an incredibly rich experience with history this year. I try to add in a little cultural geography along the way as well.

SCIENCE: After about two months of not doing science, we are very behind. I’ve finally allowed myself to say it’s ok if we don’t do every scheduled experiment and activity. We can read, do notebook pages, and move on. We still have about 5 weeks to go on earth science, although I may wait and study rocks and minerals during the summer when we can actually go out and look for some. We’re excited to move on to astronomy next although finishing that will also take us into summer. Looking at stars would be much more fun then anyway, not to mention warmer.

We did really well with the Outdoor Hour Challenges until November when the weather started getting colder and I kind of lost my drive. I do want to get back into them though. We really did learn so much and the boys love to be outside no matter the weather. This week is the winter tree study so we will definitely be doing that one. Barb also has Winter Wednesday assignments which are a little more appropriate for Utah in February so I think I’ll try to get going on those as well.

ART: Art is (still) my weakest subject and as such, has been pretty nonexistent this year, mainly due to a lack of consistency in following my own schedule. I think I need to schedule art for a day other than Friday because as hard as we try not to, we always seem to be playing catch-up on Friday afternoons and art just keeps getting pushed out of the way. For the rest of the year I’m going to try to get into the Artistic Pursuits volume 2 lessons that deal with artists from the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and tie them to our history lessons where I can.

MUSIC: Technically we have a composer of the month that we focus on. Some months are better than others. But the boys get a lot of exposure to music from my practicing and concerts, Utah Symphony children’s concerts, Kindermusik classes, and A’s piano lessons and practice. So I can’t say we’re hurting. I just need to remember to introduce Bizet this week.

NEW TESTAMENT: We’re following the seminary schedule for studying the NT this year, although we’re using Scripture Study for LDS Families: New Testament for our main study/discussion guide as we read through the Gospels, which I really like. Technically we’re about 5 weeks behind schedule, but we’re having wonderful discussions together about the life of Christ, so it really doesn’t matter. I do wish that we’d spent more time memorizing scriptures though. I want to add that back in. I also wish that we’d read through the Gospels sequentially rather than trying to follow the same events across all four books. It’s been a little crazy. But there’s always a next time.

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Wow! Now that I’ve typed that all out, I’m kind of amazed at where we are at. I’m constantly feeling like “We’re behind, we’re behind! We’ve got to catch up!” Really, we’re not doing so bad at all, especially if you ignore art (never my best subject) and science. And we are back to doing science already and I do have good intentions regarding art. There are a few things I want to add–mainly a group time each day where we do more memory work together, work on skip counting for C and D, and do more review (Latin, history, science vocabulary to name a few). I feel like we’re learning so much, but we need to check retention more often.

The best thing that I can do is set a better schedule and stick to it. We’ve accomplished all of the above without much in the way of a daily schedule and just in the last two weeks I’ve seen a huge difference as I’ve been a better manager of our school time and tried to be more diligent to the tasks at hand.

 Really we only have 16 weeks of school left and two weeks of vacation in there as well. I’m excited at how many fun things we’ve got coming up and I’m excited as I see the boys learn and grow.  I also love learning right along with them. I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2009 7:28 am

    You are doing awesome!

  2. February 4, 2009 8:24 am

    I think you do amazingly well. You fit in way more than you think. I keep thinking we need to add in Latin and will try next year but it just hasn’t happened yet. And we gave up on FIAR long ago. I just can’t plan that many different things. I just find it increasingly difficult to focus on things for one child while the others do everything they can to be disruptive. The subjects we can all do together seem to go smoothly but Language Arts and Math which are very level oriented are where I seem to struggle. But that is all part of the Homeschooling fun!

    Keep up the great work!

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