Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winter School

School was back in session, effective yesterday.  Aside from a potty training toddler who had three accidents in the space of 1 hour, it was the best "first day" I can remember in our homeschool history.  I love the benefits of that break right smack dab in the middle of the school year.  Aside from the quality family time it provides, it gives our minds a break from the rigors of a structured school day and it gives me a few weeks to ponder what is working and what needs to change.  

This has been a happy and productive school year thus far.  We've completed five months of school (approximately 20 weeks) and we have four months left (exactly 15 weeks-- I counted!).  

We loved the scripture memory box  idea that we implemented this year.  I like, especially, that is is portable and we can review our day's verses even if we are traveling in the van. As a result of the enthusiasm the kids showed for the Names of Jesus Advent Cards we used during December, we are beginning our own set of Names of Jesus Learning and Memory Cards now and we'll pick up our daily Bible reading plan for children again when we're done.

We picked up in  The Mystery of History  right where we left off.  We're studying the kings of Israel and Judah, as well as the early days of Athens and Sparta. I don't think we'll be done with this volume until sometime next year.  I'm amazed that the author suggests completing the entire book in a year or less! 

Gavin is absolutely loving an inexpensive workbook I ordered for the kids to share this year: Maps,  Charts, and Graphs: States and Regions.  We read the lessons out loud and the three oldest kids take turns answering the questions.  Gavin has asked that I get him his own book next year so he can answer all the questions.

For the first time in Gavin's six years of homeschooling, I am 100% happy with his math curriculum.  We are using Saxon Math 65 and it is a perfect fit.  He reads the short lessons on his own  (great for fostering comprehension skills) and then works only the odd-numbered problems.  I've found this to be enough to learn the skills without  bogging him down.  We do not use the tests, but we do a modified version of the drill sheets that the curriculum provides. 

Maddie and Owen are continuing their new skill of multiplication.  I worked through Times Tales  (book, not DVD) with them right before Christmas and was reminded of how wonderfully amazing it is.  Memorizing multiplication facts in 2 weeks?!  Yes, thank you.

Strange though it sounds, we'll be finishing science for the year by the end of the month!  We are studying astronomy.  We've read books on the moon, the sun, and stars as well as observing the night sky and sketching in our science notebooks. When we finish our list of books about planets, we'll have completed everything I planned.  The health unit that we completed during the summer also contributed to our science credit, as does the  book about machines that Gavin and Brian read in January.

I have been dragging my feet about art for this winter/spring session.  We studied Mary Cassatt in the fall and loved her work, but I was uninspired when I went to pick another artist.  I had almost decided on Georgia O'Keeffe, but a blogging friend told me her family had strongly disliked studying O'Keeffe.  I hemmed and hawed for weeks, and finally settled on... Georgia O'Keeffe.  I was swayed by a story book about O'Keeffe I saw on display at the library.  I've already told myself that when we add in all the art projects we've done since August, we probably have enough art credit for the year, even if we abandon Georgia O'Keeffe after a month! 

We'll round our our year with a gym class taught by college students at one of the local universities, our small monthly co-op, extensive reading, sewing, Legos, and penpal correspondence.

What are you learning in your homeschool?  Are you beginning anything new?


  1. Right now we're in MOH 1 just about to learn about Abraham. MOH is new to us as of January.

    Science is birds this month with hopefully some birdwatching if it ever stops snowing and the birds come out again! I posted a bunch of free bird resources on my blog to go along.

    Other than that we're pretty much just trucking along with the same things. It's working so we'll stick with it!

  2. I love homeschooling posts!!

    We have 13 weeks to go. This has been a very good year. I'm just starting to ponder things for next year. What math curriculum are your younger kids using?

  3. Both of my younger kids are using SchoolZone Grade 3 math workbooks. They were $11-12 per book and came with computer software that has quizzes and games to reinforce the skills. I've tried to find a formal curriculum for early elementary and never found anything I liked so I resorted to cheap workbooks and have had great success. It does require me to do a little teaching on my own if the workbook moves too fast plus we've done drill work on the side, but otherwise it's been great for the money.

  4. After a break to catch up on some missing skills, we've jumped back into the Funnix computer (& workbook) program for both reading and math. Emahry and Jonathan do it together, although only Emahry does the workbook practice pages. Eliya usually sits with us and follows along as well. We all really like it and since it does the teaching I can focus more on subjects of interest while still knowing the kids are getting a solid reading and math foundation.

    The programs have been offered for free several times in the past so the cost (or lack thereof)is also a huge plus for us!

  5. I love hearing your plans! And thanks for the inspiration! I've been meaning to share what we're doing in the new year for weeks... thanks to your nudge, I've finally done it. :)



  6. you amaze me.

    it really sounds like your state requires much stricter records than SC. i went to submit our mid-year progress reports last week ... and was told, "oh no, you just keep those somewhere in your attic or something with your planner (that you don't turn in either)." ummm ... ok.

    hope your art goes well ... we didn't enjoy GOK either.

    did you do Apologia Astronomy? thought you said you were going to ... maybe not.

    happy back-to-school!

  7. Thanks for all the great ideas. My kids go to a university model classical school. I only homeschool twice a week.

    I have been thinking about doing pen pals for a while now, but not sure how to get started. How did you choose your kids pen pals? A family member or friend? Domestic or International?


  8. I'm tossing around Mathematical Reasoning for my kids. I feel like math is the one subject I just haven't found the right one for us. I like Singapore and I like Bob Jones. I wasn't too fond of CLE but nothing completely wows me. I've also considered teaching textbooks too. Math is just one subject I can't commit us to any one curriculum b/c none of them feel just right.


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