Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week 11 Report


We studied the Depression and the Dust Bowl this week. I chose a book from TOG Classic for read-aloud. I already owned this one, so I chose it over the Redesign selection. (I'm such a rebel.) The kids loved the book. Robert, whose mind sometimes wanders during read-aloud time, begged me each day to keep reading.

This subject definitely sparked some great discussions. We talked about what caused the depression and what got us out of it. Also, with today's economic climate, we talked about whether it could happen again.


We finished Mary Poppins this week. Both kids liked it, but Robert especially loved the book. I shouldn't be surprised by that. He really enjoys quirky books (Roald Dahl is one of his favorite authors) and this fit the bill. He's already talking about reading the other books in the series.


Ruth continues with Apologia Elementary Zoology I (Flying Creatures). She was telling me how the albatross, who soars through the air effortlessly, has a terrible time taking off and landing. So, what's a mom to do, but search youtube for a video. We came across this one. It's very funny, but shows the point well. That poor bird.

Robert's science is a point of great homeschooling angst right now. He's been really struggling with Apologia General Science. He failed the first two tests miserably. I thought it was a study skills problem, so he and I worked together throughout this last chapter. I realized he's not getting the concepts of the material (and, while he did better on the test, still made a 67). After talking to a friend, and also bringing it up on a homeschool message board I visit, I realized something. Robert really struggles with reading comprehension. It is very possible that the "chattiness" of Apologia (which I love) is getting in the way of the technical information. So, I'm going to try a couple of chapters of BJU Science 6 (that I already have) with him to see if that is a better fit. If it is, I'll then have to decide if I'm going to continue with Science 6, or buy their 7th grade science. I hate wasting time like this with a curriculum that doesn't work.

I'm feeling the pressure of making sure the kids are ready for high school and it really weighs me down at times.

Math, writing, art, etc. keep moving forward with nothing very exciting to report. We are meeting with our friends on Tuesday to do our Georgia O'Keefe art project, so I'll have that to share next week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Term Hits and Misses

We finished our first 9 weeks of school recently. Woo-hoo! I planned a break week and am so thankful that I did. We definitely needed a break. :) We spent the week mainly relaxing around the house. I also spent quite a bit of time planning the next term.

Looking over the first term of our school year, I wanted to share what's working, and what's not.


History Scribe notebook pages - I really, really love these. I was struggling with how to make sure the kids are absorbing some of what they are learning and these fit that need perfectly. Having pre-made pages helps me to focus on just a few things each week, which is also beneficial. Love them! (one small criticism - I wish they had pages for more 20th century world history events, rather than focusing so much on American history)

Tapestry of Grace - I love this history program. We've read some great books and the kids have really learned a lot.

Grammar/Writing - Alternating these two subjects is working very well. We finished two chapters of Rod and Staff English 5 and the first two units of IEW. Next term, we'll do units 2 (concentrating on adding dress-ups) and 3 of IEW and one more chapter of R&S. Love it!

Workboxes - I won't write more about these, but wanted to include them in the "hits"

Schoolroom - I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I turned our dining room in a school room this year and it is wonderful. It's great to have a room that is just for school, but is still close enough to everything that I can get small housework projects done while keeping an eye on the kids. I also set it up so that I can easily turn it back into a dining room.

Activity Points - I debated on where to put this, under hits or misses. I think the idea is still a "hit". However, our implementation was sort of a "miss". Ruth did well. She hit the goal of 30 points easily. Robert, however, did not. I think the open-ended nature of this was too much. I need to either make it part of his schedule, or do a lot more hand-holding until he gets the hang of it.

Meet the Masters - I love this art program. It combines art appreciation with art instruction, so we're covering both. We covered Frederic Remington in September. I won't say he's my favorite artist, but the kids enjoyed it. We also had a good time with friends working on the final art project. I am very glad we chose this program to use this year.


Math - BJU math is a very good program, but just doesn't seem to be a good fit for my kids. They were hating math, and as a math lover, this was just killing me. I made the decision to really shake things up and switch to Life of Fred. It is going tremendously well. The kids love the stories and are doing well on the assignments. We are currently using the Fractions book. We'll do Decimals after that (assuming it's still going well). We'll finish out the year using the BJU math to fill any holes I feel were left. The biggest bonus is the kids are loving math now. Amazing!

BJU Science - Ruth was really not liking BJU Science 6, so I decided to switch back to Apologia Elementary. A friend let me borrow her copy of Zoology 1 (flying creatures), so we're doing that.

I have not done well with Robert's science program (Apologia General Science). He is doing very poorly on the tests and we're not following through with science experiments very well. I need to figure out a better way to handle this subject. Any tips would be appreciated.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how the year is going. We have more positives than negatives, and that's a good sign.