Ending, and then beginning again
Once upon a time I used to write up our school happenings on a very regular basis. This past year was quite possibly the worst as far as that goes. I’m sure I could blame it all on morning sickness, new baby, and the attendant lack of sleep, but the truth is also that we haven’t done very many fun activities or projects (in the past four months especially) and I lost interest in recapping the same old very basic routine we had going on. But at least we kept a routine going through most of the craziness of adding a new little one to the family and finally reached a point where I felt we could call the school year done.
C and D both finished their math books last week (Singapore 4B and 4A respectively) and A and C reached a good stopping point in their Latin. We also finished up Story of the World 3 with the Gold Rush.
We had a Primary activity at This is the Place Heritage Park where they actually got to try panning for gold:
A lot of my Big Plans for the year failed to materialize. Music and art fell by the wayside after Christmas, as did science. Even though we finished Story of the World for history, I felt like all we did was read it and add in a little mapwork. It wasn’t quite the in-depth history study I had envisioned for my 7th and 5th graders, but real life has taken precedence the past few months, and I actually feel pretty good about all that we did accomplish while learning to care for Baby A!
So that is over and done with.
There were a few things that we didn’t quite finish up (sentence analysis for A and C and the last two weeks of Writing with Skill) so I really wanted to do some summer school.
Every year I vow to do summer school. You know, just some math, music, and reading every day plus maybe another fun subject. We’ll work for an hour or so after breakfast. Every year it’s a complete failure. School work, even for just an hour or so in the morning, doesn’t happen. It’s hot here in summertime! And the boys want to get up and out the door as early as possible to play before it’s sizzling. No problem, we’ll just do a little schoolwork after lunch. That never happens either for some reason or another. (Last summer, everything failed. I spent the summer pretty much flat on my back sick, in survival mode. I honestly don’t know what the boys did; I was just glad they were all still alive by the end of summer!)
Even when we do “just a little bit of school” each day, we tend to not be very efficient and a little bit of school takes up a lot of time plus all my mental energy for the day. So this year I’m throwing out the idea of daily work and aiming instead for one day of school, morning and afternoon, per week. Monday School, that’s what we’re calling it. Only this week, we watched some friends on Monday morning and did school today. And next week, D has cub scout camp on Monday and Tuesday, so we’ll have school on Wednesday instead. But that’s the beauty of it, we just have to fit it in once a week. And I only have to plan for one day of school per week, so it shouldn’t be too taxing because I have some massive other projects that must get done this summer. (More on that later.)
So today we started. It poured rain most of the day so it was actually a really good day to stay inside and learn. (And I was glad for a chance to get prepped yesterday after a Saturday where DH was gone from 7:30 a.m. until almost 9 p.m., I got up at the crack of dawn to go to the Flag Day ceremony the scouts put on at the church, then attended a baby shower and a wedding shower and made dinner for the missionaries, among other things.)
After personal and family scripture study, we left personal work for the afternoon and began together subjects, which is the opposite of how we normally do things, but an idea I’m toying with for next year. We started with science and read chapter one of Carbon Chemistry by Ellen McHenry. She wrote The Elements that we used last fall and A has been begging to start this one. He has a passion for science lately although he seems to have lost some of his passion for history. I don’t know if that’s because history wasn’t all that exciting this year or if his interests have really turned to science. Either way, I’m a little sad about it, but science was fun today! And sometime soon we get to make graphite, diamond, and buckyball models from jujubes and toothpicks that I finally located tonight.
That was as far as we got before lunch, but after lunch we read all about John Adams. We really neglected a lot of American history that wasn’t specifically covered in Story of the World like the presidents, so this summer we’re going to learn about them and hopefully memorize them in order which we’ve never done. We read a biography of John and Abigail and the boys filled out a fact sheet. I haven’t had them do nearly enough writing this year, D especially, so I’m trying to ramp that up a bit.
A and C then did analysis of three sentences each. They have the freedom to do more in a week, for as soon as they complete their books, they are done for the summer. I can tell that’s a tempting prospect, although personally I wouldn’t mind dragging it out because it will keep the concepts fresh in their memories until fall.
C and D both watched their next Latin lesson and I think A did too, but I do know he worked on his writing assignment and everyone did some math. A is working through Life of Fred Pre-Algebra II with Economics and C and D are working on Challenging Word Problems 3 with me. With a baby in the midst, I’ve felt like math has been a very independent affair the past few months for everyone (maybe too independent.) I haven’t spent nearly the time with them that I should have this year so I’m hoping to rectify that a bit this summer and shore up some weaknesses I’ve noticed. I may try to do a few word problems together every day at breakfast.
Then I actually read some books with E and had him trace the letter H. Yes, despite starting “Letter of the Week” last what, August? We are still on H. How embarrassing. Let’s just not talk about it, ok? I’m a preschool failure.
So, that was it! It was a pretty full day, but we had a great day. Somehow knowing I only had to put forth that much effort once this week helped me do more with them than I have honestly done in weeks. Sad, but true. Somehow I’ll have to get back to doing this every single day by fall! But we’ll think about that later!
For the rest of the week, they need to do piano practice and scriptures every day plus reading time and cleaning jobs they have before any computer games or playing on Mom’s phone (and we’ve got two fun new apps they really really want to play with!) I’m debating setting time limits or making them earn screen time by reading books, but knowing me, I won’t follow through and they’re all reading a fair amount right now anyway. So that’s what our non-school days will look like. We hope! Anything has to be better than last summer . . .
How’s your summer looking?