Monday, February 29, 2016

School's in Session

Despite the warmer weather it is not spring or summer yet! School is still in session.

 Most of our curricula for this school year is coming to an end. What a sense of accomplishment it is to see the end of each book coming nearer! So how has our year gone? Pretty good I'd say.

 My 2nd grade son finished Abeka Science months ago and began Apologia Astronomy. We have done this as a whole family. I love Apologia, and cannot say enough good about it. We have loved each lesson and experiment. I am in awe daily at the magnificent universe we live in and the even more magnificent creator who made it all. We only have two short chapters left of Apologia, and I'm truly sad that it's coming to an end.  I don't think we'll squeeze in a third science curriculum this school year, even though my son LOVES science. Instead I plan to finish up the year by just doing random science experiments from his many chemistry books. My fourth grader has been able to shadow a veterinarian a couple times a month. Talk about hands on science! Last time she went she looked at an ear infection swab under the microscope and got to see the bacteria and learn their names. She also got to do a poop sample on a dog and see that it did not have parasites. Thankfully for the dog and owner.  Her previous experience she was able to assist an ear surgery and help hold the dog's ear as the veterinarian sewed it back together. Another reason I love homeschooling...being able to allow my children to pursue their interests.

History is not as loved in our home as science, but we're still trucking along.  My son finished his history book and is now working on a president report and memorizing the states locations and capitols.  He loves doing this and enjoys playing Stack the States on our I-Pad for review.  At 7, I'm pretty impressed by what he already knows.  My kinder girl just listens to what we are going over and gets to play state games and is memorizing the presidents through song, right along with us.  My 4th grader, who loves art as much as animals, made a beautiful time line as she's gone through history.  She made it on roller paper, we laminated it, and it stretches across our basement.  She included all the early explorers and drew detailed maps of where they came from and what they discovered.  She's working her way through history and is currently covering the Louisiana Purchase. I see her text book will be drawing to a close soon too.  Which I'm sure she is all to excited about!

Math we do all year, so I don't see it coming to an end, but I do see the progress and the excitement as they finish each unit.  We do Light Units from Christian Light for math.  They get to feel accomplished each month as they finish a book and start another.  I love that it's spiral learning and keeps coming back to concepts learned so that they don't forget the past concepts.

We do spelling and writer's workshop.  Writing is another favorite for my 4th grader, who continues to fill book after book with stories.  She won a national writing contest last year and has been published.  So I no longer give her prompts.  I just let her go be creative and we work on editing together.  My son loves coming up with stories and can fill pages with his thoughts and silly illustrations, but he has yet to master writing neatly and legibly.  It's a work in progress.  Considering I know plenty of doctors and geniuses that have horrible handwriting I won't worry too much.

And my favorite, reading.  This year my fourth and second grader have spent the year reading good literature.  I've made lap books for many of them to further their understanding and remembrance of the books.  We've done an every other schedule.  One book they do with lap books, the next they read with either a literature guide or just reading and orally tell me about it, and then return to doing a reading with a lap book.  They've been getting through about 2 longer chapter books a month, including ones like The Borrowers or Susan Marlow books like Thick as Thieves.  Then they have free reading books that they read during their free time or before bed, that I log but don't count as their "reading" for school.

My youngest did All About Reading level 1.  She loved the activities just like my son did when he was that age.  Unlike my son she took a lot longer to get through lessons and had many reversals.  I love AAR still.  They have so many helpful links.  I recently used their resources on b-d reversals.  I love their blog, it has many fun games to play to help review words and create fluency.  I'm including a link below.  I hope you will find it helpful too if you have a struggling reader like my youngest.

All in all I think we've accomplished a lot so far this year.  On a daily basis it's easy to get frustrated and see all that needs to be done, but when I step back and take account of all that has been learned it's refreshing.  I know that I'm fostering a love for learning, and that's what really matters, not how many books we squeeze in now!

How is your school year going?  Are you winding down and ready for summer or are you dreading all that is left un-done?  Let me encourage you.  You can do it, keep on working, it's a hard job, but it's filled with great rewards!