Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2010-2011 School Year Recap

We are nearing the end of our school year. I used to go all year and then take off a week here and there as needed. We would finish a level in history and immediately start the next one, regardless of where we were in the school year. But then one year we took a month off during the summer. And I realized that it really helped me to have a beginning and an end. At least with most of our subjects we do it that way....but if a child does finish a math book they do start the next one, except during our shortened summer break. (My kids go into math brain freeze if we don't do it for longer than a month.)

So since we are getting towards the end, I thought I would share how our year has gone.

Bible - Training Hearts and Teaching Minds and Balancing the Sword

This year we read a chapter of the Bible every school morning and also during family worship. I looked back at this blog post and we have come all the way from Joshua to 2 Chronicles this year. We are also continuing to go through the Westminster Shorter Catechism and absolutely LOVE the Training Hearts book. The two older children now know 50 of the catechism questions by heart.

History - Mystery of History Vol. 2 The Early Church and Middle Ages

I loved this history curriculum. Linda Hobar does a great job of opening history up and touching on so many different stories. The activities could be a little dry and so I am thinking of adding some things for the younger two for history next year.

Vocabulary - English From the Roots Up

This was another good one; but we went super slow. We only got through the first 30 cards or so, but the kids know them pretty well. Even Nutsy can tell me what skopeo means in Greek.

Logic - Red Herring Mysteries

These were lots of fun. We worked on 1 or 2 a week and when the kids would get really stumped we would try to figure them out during dinner with dad. I did skip a few of the lessons; some I knew would be over their heads and a couple of them had some inappropriate content. But it sure did make them think outside the box. Towards the end of the year I found this book You Be the Judge, at a thrift store for $2. This was another fun way to teach the children to become more observant.

Grammar/Spelling - Language Arts by Christian Light Publications and First Language Lessons

That first one was one of my flops this year. For years I taught my older two children Shurley Grammar. If you are familiar with that type of grammar instruction you know that they don't teach you to diagram, but to 'classify' sentences. So my two older ones never learned traditional diagramming, and CLP Language Arts assumed that 6th and 8th graders knew how to diagram already. So about a month into school last year we switched to Spelling Power for spelling and the two older ones did Daily Grams for their grammar practice. I chugged along in First Language Lessons with Dasher and will continue through to next year too.

Writing - Writing With Ease and Writing Skills

Writing with Ease was a huge hit with Dasher this year. I really enjoyed the literature selections and the exercises. So she will be moving up a level and I'll be starting Nutsy in level 1 next year. The two older ones did Writing Skills. This was a good book and built through the whole year up to essays, which they are working on for the next two weeks. Next year my friend is going to be teaching a writing/grammar course in our co-op for them.

Math - Math U See

Math U See is great. We kept on track this year....one child had some trouble so we slowed way down and this is when I was thankful for Math U See's online worksheet generator and drill pages.

Science - Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day

The two older ones read through this book all year, and they also answered the thought questions at the end of each chapter. Science was pretty low key this year, but hold onto your pants for next year. I am going to be teaching Apologia Flying Creatures in co-op and we are going to do notebooking pages, experiments, sketches and lots of hands-on learning.


Phonics - Explode the Code and Phonics Pathways

This was the bulk of Dasher's school this year. And she made huge strides in her reading with these two great phonics courses and workbooks. 

Co-op - Matres Magistres

I know I linked to our co-op's blog above, but no one has updated it since last summer. Hey, we have our priorities. Co-op went well this year. We did a full year of California History using His California History. Each of the moms rotated the teaching responsibilities as we worked through the book. We did a few field trips and went to an old Indian village, saw where gold was discovered, and learned about the animals in our area. We continued with our hymn study and went through 4 hymns, and went once a month to a friends house for art history. The other weekly lessons were a nature study, poem/scripture memorization and composers study. We have plans for next year with a more 'meatier' co-op....science, writing, literature and geography.

4-H 

4-H is tons of learning so it really does count towards school. This year we did the rabbit and historical tours project. The kids learned so much more about rabbits and went to fair with all of them. The two older ones prepared presentations on rabbits and went all the way to the state level with their speeches. We visited 6 different historical sites through the year in our other project and learned lots about our local history. And we were able to participate in some community service opportunities at local food banks. Next year we will continue with the rabbits, the two older children will pursue leadership in being club officers (Mr. Lego is secretary and Bookworm is Sergeant-at-Arms), and possible look into taking a public speaking project. 

So that was our year; we had our good moments, bad ones.....but the Lord was gracious and we made it through. And in 2 weeks, it's summer break!

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