February 16, 2010

Homeschool Update

It's another snowy day here in Ohio, so snowy, in fact, that the base is actually closed and Ted had another day off work. Of course, they called us at 4:30 a.m. to tell us there was a two-hour delay (the original plan), so it wasn't as relaxing as it could have been. Still, with all the snow of late, plus Monday holidays, I wanted us to do schoolwork regardless so that we wouldn't fall "behind." I guess that seems a little silly, since I'm the one who controls our schedule, and we don't need to compare our progress with anyone else's!

We're in Week 21 of Sonlight's Core 2 and are thoroughly enjoying it as usual. Recent history readings have brought us through the Renaissance (with a deeper study of Michelangelo and Queen Elizabeth's lives) and into the Reformation. The Age of Exploration has been exciting as well and has captured the imaginations of the kids. Even Kenna seems to enjoy sitting in on our readings nowadays, and while I don't harbor any illusions about her capacity for historical understanding, I am impressed that she has the attention span to sit fairly quietly and not get into trouble!

We've been starting our mornings with a song from a worship DVD, followed by prayer time. Then, at the breakfast table, we go over our verse(s) for the week and do our Bible reading, which sometimes includes a reading from The Awesome Book of Bible Facts, which the kids enjoy very much.

History is definitely the favorite around here, but our science readings about weather have been interesting as well, especially with all the snow we've been getting! We're on a bit of a break with Geography Songs, having learned South America, the West Indies, and Oceania recently. Arden is our geography guru. That kid soaks up the country names and locations like you wouldn't believe! At 6 years old, he knows his way around the globe better than I do! That CD is a GREAT addition to this world history core, and I've learned a lot by listening to it in the mornings with the kids. (Now, if I would sit down and color the maps along with them, maybe I'd do better on those geography games, ha!)

We LOVED The School Story, the read-aloud we just finished this past weekend. Our new one promises to be just as exciting, The White Stallion of Lipizza. Aesop's fables continue to be popular with the crew, though Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses is merely tolerated by the boys, while Charis truly enjoys it.

As for math...Charis is about halfway through her Delta book and doing quite well, though she seems to think math is "hard" for her because she "needs help" when she begins a new lesson. [Insert Mom's eye roll here.] I've tried to explain that EVERYONE needs help when learning new things--that's what parents and teachers are for, for cryin' out loud! I'm thankful that she seems to be getting a solid grasp of the concepts, even if now and then she does make silly little mistakes. Tobin is about halfway through the Gamma book and is also doing very well. In fact, he's breezing through these lessons, having already learned his multiplication facts a long time ago through a computer game. Likewise, Arden is doing his work in a token fashion, as his skills are way beyond his writing abilities right now. I'm sure I could skip over a lot of lessons, but I hesitate to get him too far ahead...

In Language Arts, I feel we have finally hit a groove with our schedule. Our morning checklists usually allow me enough time with each child individually, and their writing skills are growing by leaps and bounds. I've been SO pleased with their progress! I think back to a couple of years ago, when it was like pulling teeth to get Charis to write 5-6 sentences in one paragraph. We would have major attitude and tears on her part and mucho loss of patience on my part. Now, she's writing not only for school, but often on her own! A simple assignment calling for a paragraph may result in a story two typed pages long, and single-spaced at that! She has put some of her work on her blog. She has some other writings from recent days that I should help her post soon. Right now she's working on her spelling list for the Spelling Bee on March 1. I realize, now that I have actually printed the list, that we should have started working on this a LONG time ago, but I'm proud of her for the effort she's putting forward so far. Additionally, she is learning what "to cram" means, LOL. Lesson learned for Mom--open emails and print attachments earlier!!

Tobin is also doing well with writing. It may not be his favorite thing to do, but at least I rarely get attitude from him. Silliness, yes, but attitude, no, thank goodness. (And anyone who knows Ted and Tobin will NOT be surprised by the silliness, ha!) He's getting the hang of connecting sentences into a fairly cohesive paragraph, and for a 7-year-old, I think he is doing just fine in this area.

Arden's writing assignments are mostly dictated to me. I'm doing a lot more of this with him than I did with Tobin or Charis, mostly because I'm actually thinking through our schedule and am not afraid to ask him to do something that I'm not certain he's capable of. Once I explain what the task is, Arden jumps right in, dictating his thoughts, and I type them out for him. His handwriting has come a LONG way since the beginning of the year, so I've let myself off that guilt trip, LOL. He's still not as coordinated in those motor skills, but such vast improvement is easily seen that I'm no longer concerned. Really, in the scheme of things, who cares if he writes a capital K instead of a lowercase k? Yes, I point it out, and we do work on it, but one thing I've learned about educating my children--perfect handwriting just doesn't make it to the top of my priority list. Legible handwriting, yes; perfect, no, LOL.

All three kids LOVE their readers--no problems there, getting them to read. I ask them questions from the IG after they're finished with a few chapters--very helpful when I don't have time to read the book myself, as is getting to be the case with Charis's longer books. I still have Arden read his daily assignment out loud to me, and it's a good time to cuddle on the couch with him. He's a good little reader, not quite as fluent as Charis or Tobin was at this age, but his understanding and pronunciation are very good. He doesn't read to himself quite as much as his older siblings do, but he does enjoy reading outside of school time.

As for extracurriculars, Charis continues to do well with her piano lessons. I rarely have to help her with anything, and she is completely self-motivated. Hooray! I hope she holds on to this passion and enthusiasm for a long time. We try to make it to P.E. at the rec center on Thursday afternoons, but with snow and grumpy babies, it isn't every week. But it's a great thing when we do go--all of us, kids and myself, have made new friends there, and giving wiggly children a chance to run off some energy is always a good thing. Other than that, we don't have any other organized activities, and it's actually been a long time since we went on an organized field trip, unless you count their trip to the Boonshoft Museum February 7 when Ted took a day off work so I could get my business paperwork together for filing our taxes.

So, that's where we are in a nutshell!


Anonymous said...

Wow! You get a call from the base? Contractors are not so lucky, and if they are not paying attention, they might miss the change from delay to canceled! ;)

We LOVED The School Story too. In fact, even though it was a school book a couple of years ago, I ended up re-reading it on Friday. Yep, the whole thing on Friday. As you know, it is that good.

Don't worry too much about being behind. We are several weeks behind where you are. We are doing cores 4 and 1 and are still in the teens. (But we are in different weeks for different things, so I don't have a clue as to exactly which week.)

I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I would have missed it if you hadn't linked it on PEACH a while back. Thanks for doing that.

Luke said...

Glad you're loving your experience right now! Stay warm and safe despite the snow [smile].