Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekly Report 8/19/2011

Confession: This is the second try at this post. The first time was dry as dirt! Hopefully this attempt will be better.

We've actually finished 3 weeks of school so far, and I thought I would take a look back over the weeks.

First Day of School

Our tradition is to go out for breakfast. The kids chose IHOP and it was yummy!


Ruth just started Saxon 8/7 this past week. I'm actually making her do all the facts practice sheets and mental math this year. I'm mean that way. :) Actually, no complaints from her.

Robert is loving Algebra I with Mrs. Genco. He actually told me this week that math is now his favorite subject. Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor.


The kids both like Mr. Harmon. Ruth has never enjoyed DVD instruction, but this is going well. She says it's long, but she likes it. We've done one science experiment so far, but I was so involved in the experiment with the kids that I forgot to take pictures.

I plan on doing 8 labs this year and have ordered most of my supplies from Home Science Tools. BJU included a shopping list with HST part numbers, so that made it very easy. I also bought a triple beam balance off Craig's List. I have to say that I love having all this science-y stuff around. I have test tubes! And beakers! And graduated cylinders! :) I'm such a geek.


Robert is doing grammar in the fall and literature in the spring. I had planned on him doing Rod & Staff, but we had the BJU class, so I thought we'd try it. I compared the two programs and figured out if we did the first chapter of BJU Grammar and didn't like it, we could easily switch back to R&S, skipping the first couple of chapters. However, after the first test I asked Robert and he says he wants to stick with  BJU.


Ruth is doing literature in the fall and grammar in the spring. Working from a textbook is forcing me to cover all kinds of literary terms with Ruth (irony, foreshadowing, and more). I am so hopeless with this that if it's not explained in the teacher's manual, I don't really get it. It makes for some interesting discussions. Or maybe I should say, some NOT interesting discussions. I'm very thankful that we are going for an introduction here and it's not the last time these concepts will be covered.


We began our IEW SICC-B class this week. The kids are doing this with a friend's son and we will rotate houses. We started first at ours. It was an easy week because we are doing a review of key word outlines. I'm anxious to get to meatier stuff, but I do enjoy the easy start to the year.

Cultural Geography

I think this is going to be our least favorite class this year, and the one for which I'm most likely to drop the DVD instruction. I'm not terribly impressed with the teacher, but Robert hasn't complained about it yet, and we'll keep going as long as he wants. I also think that there is something to the idea of being able to learn from teachers with different lecturing styles, so it may be that we should stick with it just for that. We'll see. I am keeping our options open.

American History

Ruth's attitude about is history is "I don't care. I just want to get it over with as quickly as possible." Lovely. I'm trying to engage her more, but it's a struggle. This is nothing new, so don't blame it on the textbook approach.

I kind of wish (okay, more than kind of) that I had gotten the latest edition of BJU American History, rather than the previous edition. I like the Student Activity Manual much better in the new edition. However, this edition is being lent to me by a friend and free is good.


We are using the DVD instruction with First Form Latin. The teacher is adequate. As Ruth puts it, he doesn't talk too long and it gets the job done. I guess that's good enough!

I've decided to do Latin with Ruth this year. Since I've never learned it, I am often at a loss as to how to help her. I think I also need something to keep my brain active. (ha!)


Robert finished his assigned reading of Around the World in 80 Days.

Ruth has read Landing of the Pilgrims and Stink Alley for school. She also read The Pushcart War for free reading.


Switching to textbooks has been more of a change than I thought. It feels... strange. Not in a bad way, but it's very different. I have more things to grade and am having to do more teaching (at least with Ruth). However, it's also easier in that I'm not stressing that we are missing something. And it's getting done! I'm also very impressed with the quality of BJU textbooks. The kids are both having to do more critical thinking, which was something that was harder for me to guide on my own. So overall, I'd have to say this is working out well.