Mid Year Homeschool Check In

Group Lesson On Multiplication

Time for Heidi's mid-year homeschool check in!  You can read our full curriculum plan and original goals here.  I was chatting with my grandma on the phone yesterday afternoon and I realized that because of the fire, we finished school in the middle of March last year.  That is really close!  Obviously last year I didn't have a choice, but I don't know if I could live with that kind of early stop again.

What follows is my check in with self and goals.  If you have not done so, I encourage you to write written goals for this school year and then check in with them periodically through the year.  The beauty of homeschooling is that we can always change goals or change approaches to reach our goals.

As a schedule this year, we set out for a 4 day week.  This has been working very well for us and I hope to find a way to keep it as the boys grow and are doing more challenging works.  I thought Aidan would need some time in the afternoon this year for some of his bigger projects, but most of the time we are finished before lunch during our official work period.

Math- Caleb 
Caleb is done with almost everything I had planned for him this year in math.  I was planning on holding back because of his young age but he had other plans.  We still need to cover subtraction (did multiplication instead) and he needs to do the 1000 chain.  I think our extra work for the rest of the year needs to be reviewing advanced counting and reading larger numbers so he can better verbalize the math he is able to do.

Math- Aidan
Aidan is right on target with math.  Still needs to finish multiplication and cover division.  Extra work for Aidan during the end of the year needs to be basic facts enforcement.  I am impressed with his improvements in problem solving lately.  The level two book of problem solving I bought turned out to be a third grade book.  At the beginning of the year he struggled both with reading the problems and setting them up.  I had to do a lot of hinting for the set up and all of the reading, but now he can do them independently.  His mental math is incredible.

Language- Caleb
Caleb is on target here.  We added Explode the Code Online to his curriculum and it has really helped a lot, both in time management for me and building his skills with the computer (in addition, of course, to his reading).  With some sight word work, I am still hoping to help him move from reading words to reading sentences and short books this year.

Language- Aidan
This is honestly one of the places I have slacked the most.  We are still working on oral reading fluency with regular practice and we are working on orally responding to the literature we read (living books).  He is still doing Handwriting Without Tears Cursive and Words Their Way Spelling, but we are doing nothing in terms of grammar.  His letter writing has fallen to the wayside as well.  This is mostly on me as I am not assigning enough in this area.  I think I was so tired after he finally learned to read that I decided that was good enough for now!  Before the end of the year I would like to at least resurrect the weekly letter writing.  I need to address a better long term plan for this subject area past learning to read before next year.

Geography & Culture
This has been going along.  We are only doing one lesson/week, usually in the form of a living book.  The Continent Boxes are still a popular item, although I haven't moved through them quickly enough to actually finish all of them before the end of the year (we have only on our second right now).  I just assigned Aidan his first country report (which will be followed by an oral composition like we did with King Tut), so we will see how that goes!  I'm not quite on target but I don't think I'm going to change anything just now.

We are on chapter 20 of Story Of The World, V.1.  I'm not sure where that puts us.  Our timeline is getting full already so I'm not sure how we are going to fit the rest of the book on it.  I am also going to have to skip chapters, double up chapters, or be ok with not finishing the whole book this year.  I'm still deciding which.  I often skip the ancient gods legends because I've noticed that sometimes the boys are having a hard time with fact/fiction on those.

I don't think we've done nature study since our visit from the snail back in October.  Aidan did draw a very nice picture of a luggage carrier at the airport in his nature journal once!  We did quite a bit of work with insects and plants with materials and living books, but never really moved on after that.  This is one of my favorite subjects, Tim's favorite subjects, and the boys' favorite subjects and somehow it keeps getting left behind.  There is really no excuse for that!

Since my goal was basic introduction I can comfort myself that I haven't completely failed this subject.  I am not sure, however, if any of the kids could tell you even one word in spanish.  Good thing there is still time.

Surprisingly, this is probably our favorite subject! We have finished Child Size Masterpieces- Famous Paintings.  Right now we can identify all of the pictures by title and describe them without looking and are working on remembering the artist names.  Even Kylee knows a few of them! I often catch her taking out the cards and looking through them or pretending to match the title cards to the pictures.  This month I enrolled the boys in an art class for 5-7 year olds.  It is run by an artist and homeschooling mom in her home studio.  They will be covering basic techniques (very basic, obviously) with paints, oil pastels, markers, and pencils.  It is only $8/week (for an hour lesson) for both boys and they loved their first lesson.  Somehow Caleb managed to come home with marker on his nose last week!

We have learned some new songs this year, but not hymns like I had hoped.  We have also not started basic piano theory and introductions like I had also hoped.  My goal before the end of the year is to buy the primer level piano books and start working through them with the boys.  Hopefully next year we will be ready and able to find actual lessons.  Our weekly family worship did not happen the way I had imagined it (imagine that), but something that I think is better has developed- (almost every) evening family devotional time.  What started during Advent has continued beautifully in January and Tim and I are starting to look ahead to how that time can continue to grow and develop for us.

Practical Life
Kylee has grown up so much this year!  I can't believe all the ways she helps during the day now.  Self care and home care continue to be areas we are working on.  The boys (especially Aidan) have done some hand sewing.  They aren't particularly interested so I'm trying to let it go.  I would like them to know how to sew on a button and repair a basic tear, but otherwise I'm not too worried that they need to learn to sew (although it is good for them).  They have both gotten quite good with daily chores and advanced cooking in the kitchen this year.  Still working on cleaning up our kitchen messes though!

I did really well enforcing memory verses at the beginning of the school year, but that has fallen off as this area has gotten less focused. I am still using Godly Play, although it has been awhile since we did a new presentation.  Our evening family time has become the place we are covering this topic/subject, which I like.  While I had a plan for this year, I think it is naive to think that there are goals I can check off here.  Suffice it to say we have made progress and we have room to grow!

Phew!  It makes me a little tired reading that back to myself.  I knew in August this was an ambitious plan, and that has certainly held true.  We have taken a few short breaks through the year and we have another one coming up in the next month when we move into our new rental.  These breaks have been great for refreshing all of us and keeping school from getting stuck in a rut.  There are days when homeschooling seems like so much (even too much) work, but when I approach it as one part of our daily life instead of the most important or only thing we have to do, things run much more smoothly.  

Here's to the rest of the year!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I think the goal is certainly not mastery in the additional areas like history/science/arts, etc. It's an introduction. I keep reminding myself of that. With an introduction, at least their mind has been awakened (to a degree) and those are all things that they can get to when they are older. I hated history (I don't think it was ever presented in a great way through elementary years) but I'm fascinated by it now. I would love to spend more time on it (or any during the week) but for us, it's just not practical right now. In time!

Besides, with lofty goals, if you fall short, you've still accomplished a great deal! :)