The kids a few weeks ago: Miss Z up front (K'er), Mr. D (5th), Mr. A (7th), and Miss L (3rd).
The kids are trucking away at their school work. The end is in sight!!
In the middle of thinking about next year, I find it is always a good time to review the good, the bad, and the ugly from the current year.
So what's happening this year?
Certainly not being entertained and interrupted by the cute gerbils in the room.
For Miss Z (K'er), I'm using the Who am I? series alongside our family's around the year liturgical activities. The other kids are using Faith and Life online. This is the first year to try the online version. The kids seem to like the audio/visual format, and I certainly like freer time. The kids have run into a few bugs, but overall I have heard no complaints. Looking at scores, I see a lot of up and down scores, which may say more about my kids than the program as that's par for the course for two of them.
In addition to the Faith and Life series, Miss L (3rd) reads stories of the saints. Mr. A (7th) does extra confirmation prep. While he does attend our parish's CCD program, I added extra work for him to do - copy/memory work, videos, books to read with me, etc. Mr. D (5th) also chose a few topics to create lapbooks on: the 7 sacraments, the Mass, and the Beatitudes.
Tied to our history, we have been listening to Tan Homeschool's Story of the Bible (Old and New). This has been hit or miss as we usually do it in the car when we are all in it together.
Miss Z and Miss L are using MCP math at their with my supervision. The boys are using Teaching Textbooks. One does it on the computer with the cds and a small erase board while the other struggled (an ongoing issue) and he's now back to using just the book and lots of mom-intensive math moments. Slowly...
Miss Z is all about phonics and learning to read this year so I used a variety of items for that: abc flashcards, Handwriting without Tears, and Seton phonics. I also read different books out loud to her, she's creating a poetry book (illustrates well-known poems), and has a "journal" where she narrates her stories to me. Miss Z has a big imagination and wants to draw and have me write her stories so this is an extra for her at the K level.
A little of Miss Z's creativity... The kids were writing fables.
I have the other kids reading an assigned book each quarter at their level as well as reading out of the Seton Faith and Freedom readers. Once a week the kids read out loud to me using these comprehension books which they all love to do. I like the variety of stories. Miss L also used Playful Poems for additional practice in comprehension, rhyming, etc.
My spellers use Apples & Pears spelling at their level. The boys do vocab on the computer using Word Build, which only takes about ten minutes a day for my oldest. Grammar started off as something else, but we switched this spring to IEW Grammar and Writing, doing it all together, which is freeing up our day already.
History & Geography
We do history together, roughly following a four year cycle. This year's topic is Ancient History. I decided to try mixing Tan Homeschool's Story of Civilization I and RC History. I read the "spine" from Tan Homeschool, the kids read additional books, and we do a variety of map and copy work, as well as a family timeline and a few hands-on activities.
For geography, the kids work on map skills using these books. Most of the time they can read the information given and do the problems, but occasionally I do have to help. In addition, we are studying the continents. The boys have been going through these workbooks and want to continue them into next year to finish the continents. The girls have done a very light introduction to the continents using map work, videos, music, and some hands-on activities.
Mr. A is doing his own science following CHC's grade 6 science. He's been following the workbook, which he is not thrilled about, and that is something I am tweaking next year.
The other three work together with a homemade science booklet covering monthly topics each chose at the end of last year. This has worked really well for them (and me) this year.
Surprisingly, art has fallen through the cracks this year. The thought of making yet one other mess has really kept me from doing my scheduled weekly projects. Well, that and the fact I scheduled art on a Friday when I am just so tired from the week. I had a book of lessons, but often we simply draw or make something else. Or do nothing...
This Thanksgiving Inchies project is my favorite of the year so far!
All the Other Stuff
Field trips have been few. Fatigue has been an ever-increasing issue for me. Plus, whenever we do something for a day, I somehow feel a week behind in everything else. It's a struggle. Though the ones we have gone to have been so much fun.
Awesome picture from the zoo!
Family fun night exploring a local town: seeing the oldest lighthouse in the area, snagging some homemade flavored popcorn at the Popcorn shop, and playing at a park.
Music... The boys are meh about music. I try to play a variety to listen to, and point out music at Mass. I did catch my 13 year old singing to some music the other day so I know he can sing! The girls play piano. It is a bear to practice with them at home and some weeks I just want to give up, but then I hear them play or struggle through a piece only to come out the other side playing it beautifully that I keep on. One of my kids needs plenty of physical and artistic outlets so piano works as one of those activities.
P.E./Health... This is daily stuff for us. Most of my kids eat a ton, and then move around a ton, and all is good. I do want Mr. A to start making exercise a habit though as karate has been shelved for now. The girls are in dance again this year. Miss L and Mr. D played basketball. If the weather ever warms and dries up, I want to start having family hikes on Saturday mornings.
This girl needs to run! This was at a homeschool field day in the fall. Miss L had to take her shoes off mid-race and run in her socks the rest of the way.
All in all, this has been a good year for us. We have moved steadily through our scheduled work, and growing in all kinds of ways. I'm happy with this year, but I have a few ideas for next year. Until then...