Urg. This blog is so far behind now! It's Easter Sunday, and I find myself having had a 40-minute nap with a bit of time before Zaden's next feeding, so I'll do what I can to update things. This first post will be an overview of what we've been up to on the homeschool front.
The one thing we've been able to plug away with, even if I personally can't be involved in a school activity, is math. Thank the good Lord for Math-U-See! Charis is nearing the end of the the Epsilon book, while Tobin is closing in on finishing the first 1/3 of the same book. Arden is almost 2/3 of the way through his Delta book. I feel that I have not interacted all that well with the kids on their math skills, so I can only hope and pray that they are learning well enough on their own with the videos! Thankfully I have pretty good math skills myself, so I've been able to reinforce some of the things I've seen them struggle with. Mostly, though, it's just practice, practice, practice! Kenna is starting to pick up her primer book again to "do school," which is probably a good thing since she just turned 5. And one of Lucan's very favorite activities is playing with the math blocks--he reminds me so much of Arden at this age!
I am SO grateful that Tobin and Charis are such eager readers! Not only do they fly through their assigned books for Sonlight, but they have done so much extra reading on their own just from our nearly weekly trips to the library. I have told Charis that we need to take our suitcase on rollers for her--she loads up on so many books each trip! Compared to these two, Arden is more of a "reluctant reader," but it's not that he hates reading; when he finds a book about a football player, for example, or a new graphic novel that interests him, he'll curl up and read as well. But...he thinks his trip to the library is complete when he finds 2 or 3 books, and he definitely would rather be in motion than sitting and reading.
Sadly, our writing assignments have been the most neglected this year. I'm thankful that Charis, my oldest student, is at least self-motivated to write poems, journal entries, or other creative writing projects on her own. I plan to have the kids keep detailed journals during our travels this summer so they can keep those to look back on. I truly wish I could be more on top of things, but I've had to realize that this year some things just had to go, and while I wouldn't have expected writing assignments to be one of those things...they just are. I sit down now and then and go over things like the "Grammar Gems" and the application activities in the language arts worksheets with them (often doing several weeks' worth in one sitting!), but we certainly aren't doing a very thorough job of that.
And spelling. Sigh. I haven't gone over a spelling list with my kids since...well, I don't even remember! The thing is, my kids are GREAT spellers naturally--even Arden, who reads the least, surprises me by knowing how to spell most words I toss at him. (Sometimes it's the very simple ones he misses, like "realy" instead of "really.") So again, I'm giving myself some grace with that and hoping we can catch up once we return to "normal life," which may not be for another year, ha!
At last, something I've kept up with! This is because the kids all really enjoy Sonlight's core. My goal for this year was to get through half of our Sonlight curriculum (year 2 of American History), and we are on track to do that! We are in the middle of week 16--hooray! So getting through week 18 should be very doable, and maybe--just maybe--we'll keep going. The time period we're studying is very exciting, with all the inventions and industry and progress. Yet as we've discovered, human nature doesn't improve just because working conditions do! So many good opportunities for discussion! As a nod to the period we've been reading about, the kids and I are enjoying the Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman series checked out from the library.
This is another area I've had to scale back on. While we are doing fairly well at keeping up with the reading--we're staying with the same week we are on in history--I've set aside the experiments and flat out told Ted that he gets to do those in a "Science Camp" week with the kids when he returns!! And some of the reading is a bit over the kids' heads, so I breeze through some things on occasion. Still, progress...little by little. And they'll be reintroduced to the concepts later down the road, so I'm not terribly concerned.
We're in the middle of reading 1 Samuel, and the kids were working on memorizing Psalm 19. We got a little derailed, so we'll probably have to go back and review that. But again...they do a lot of memorizing for AWANA, so...kind of hard to get too uptight about that! And God has been so gracious at giving us so many life lessons during this deployment! We find ourselves stopping to pray together so often--for wisdom, for forgiveness, for healing, for provision...really, we're living out Deuteronomy 6:4-9, purely by God's grace and mercy. I'm so thankful. More than anything in our curriculum, this deployment has grown the kids AND myself in ways I never would have believed! Glory to our God!
One might argue that this whole year has been full of extracurriculars, ha! Cleaning the house and taking care of the baby--home ec, right?! But, for official activities, the older three continue to enjoy piano lessons weekly. Our dear piano teacher, Mrs. D, is already so sad at the thought of her three students going away after July! We are praying God will lead us to another good and godly piano teacher. I am so grateful for what she has taught the children--Charis is starting to learn improvisation in the hymnal and is doing a fabulous job. It brings tears to my eyes to hear her! And while the initial excitement has admittedly worn off a bit for the boys (especially now that the weather has been better), they are still plugging away and doing well. I think it will be good for them to have an opportunity to perform at the May homeschool meeting.
Charis is in the throes of the spring play, adding another production to her resume, and the boys continue with karate, likely doing another belt test in the next month or so. And the three attend P.E. classes when the schedule allows.
In addition, Charis has had the opportunity to do a couple of unique classes recently. Child Evangelism Fellowship, an organization supported by our church missions outreach, offered a 6-week class on evangelism to homeschool students. Charis has done very well with this; it blessed my heart to see her reaction when I asked her if she was interested in attending the classes. She has been diligent with learning the Bible verses and practicing sharing the gospel. I know the Lord will use this in her life to bless others and draw them to His kingdom. The 6 classes have met for an hour and a half Wednesday mornings at the CEF office downtown, giving the other kids and me the opportunity to explore the Boonshoft Museum or area parks.
Also on Wednesdays Charis has been attending a 6-week American Sign Language class that our friend Jessica is offering--Jessica is a homeschool teenager who lives just down the street, so at least I don't have to drive Charis to that! So, Wednesdays have been busy--we do AWANA in the evenings as well--but I figure the activities are good and are just for a short season, and hey, this is why we homeschool anyway, right?!
I suppose I could add to Charis's activity roster...she has had a couple of informal knitting lessons from a friend of ours from church and has gotten herself a new hobby! She has checked out books from the library and always seems to have some kind of knitting project going! If you'd like to order one of these "knitted babes," let me know, since she's looking for ways to earn extra money! And that finally wraps up this edition of the Homeschool News. :-)