On Friday we finished Week 12 of Core 3, which means we're 1/3 of the way through this "school year!" That's a relative concept around here, since most of the time we typically school throughout the summer, taking breaks whenever we want or need to. I was thinking we would do Cores 3 and 4 slowly, over the course of 3 years total, to give Arden a little more time to catch up, but honestly, I'm not sure what I was thinking we "should" be waiting for! Arden is doing just fine...he may not be paying as close attention to some of the history reading as his older sibs, but he's doing great for a 7-year-old participating in this rich Core. Even Kenna enjoys some of our readings, particularly science, which currently involves lots of pictures of interesting sea creatures. And I'm not sure that she isn't taking in our read-alouds, either! We just finished The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which, surprisingly, was a hit with EVERY student in our household! Even Kenna would chant, "Wi-itch, wi-itch, wi-itch" with the others when they were begging us to read just "one more chapter." I can't imagine that she would have truly followed the story line, but she seemed to know the characters' names, and who knows?! At least she's in training for listening to long stories!
So our first week back to school after a lazy holiday vacation went pretty well. Admittedly, most of our language arts time was spent writing Christmas thank you notes...but we'll get back into full swing with that next week. Charis is in the throes of a research paper, and she has discovered that she actually enjoys taking notes on the note cards I gave her. Her face was as long as a bleak Monday when I told her the assignment, but she cheerfully picked her animal (the fascinating bonobo, which she fell in love with at the Cincinnati Zoo) and has been doing some reading online. We still need to get some hard copy sources, but we have three weeks to do this thing...
In math, Charis is learning fractions, and let me tell you, I LOVE the Math-U-See fraction overlays. Way cool! I never thought fractions were all that difficult, but it's really neat to actually SEE what's going on from the beginning. Her lesson last week was adding and subtracting with like denominators. I'm sure she's thinking, "Big whoop," so I think it will be fun when we get to be able to find the common denominator. (Am I a geek for liking fractions?!)
Tobin is breezing through the beginning division facts, having mastered (for the most part) his multiplication facts, and is quickly catching on to the concept of dividing. Arden, meanwhile, somehow blasted his way through the first 17 lessons of the Gamma book, and it dawned on me yesterday...WHY am I trying to slow him down a bit?! Wouldn't it be EASIER to have him finally catch up to Tobin and have them work together?! So we'll see how that goes! Arden may, in fact, slow down when we get to multiple digit multiplication...that's coming soon, so we'll see what happens.
You know what I love? Watching what my kids do with their free time. Sure, they sometimes enjoy Wii or playing with friends, but I've noticed a LOT of reading of past Sonlight books this last week! I think Tobin discovered the Core K shelf existed, and he's been reading through all those read-alouds on his own! Charis has checked out various craft books from the library and of course keeps busy with projects and also enjoys reading the historical diary/journal type books. (Don't tell her this, but she probably now knows more about the Vietnam War era than I do...we never seemed to make it past World War II in my history classes!) Arden...well, he doesn't exactly reach for educational books, but if you want to know the major plays from the recent hockey or football games, just ask him! He has taken to asking me if he can watch game highlights on the computer the day after! (Thanks to Ted for that one!)
As for Kenna, she is making good progress herself, and I can't take a lick of credit for it! She can identify all the letters of the alphabet correctly and can recognize all the names in our family if they are written out for her. She is working on writing her own name and enjoys drawing and coloring a lot more than she used to. She has recently become a good little puzzler, which is GREAT...I give her puzzles to work on while we do our history and science lessons, and she gets the benefit of hearing us read out loud and discuss things while we get the benefit of some peace and quiet as she works!
Well, it is time for our nightly read-aloud time. We're back to the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, book 6, from which we took a bit of a break since we fell behind on our Sonlight reading with the holidays. But now we're caught up, so it's back to our extracurricular reading!