School’s Out!

We crossed our required 180 days of instruction threshold early last week, but it made sense to keep going a little longer in order to finish up some books and start our summer break with a fun trip.  We’ll be exploring the living history museums at Williamsburg and Jamestown next week, and also visiting some historic sites at Princeton.  Other than those field trips {note to criminals: we are not leaving the house unattended: Josh is staying home, and he is fierce, so burgle elsewhere!} I’m calling this school year well and thoroughly over at 190 days total!  Here is a round-up for each child:

Hannah, age 8 (2nd grade by age)

This year Hannah grew a lot in her ability to do independent work.  She learned about how to manage assignments throughout the week, which is a good skill for studying and general time management.  I saw a lot of growth in her ability to analyze and integrate facts and ideas.

  • Math: Hannah finished a Singapore math book and then we moved back to Saxon because it’s a better fit for our family right now.  She finished Saxon 3,which goes through multiplication and division.  She and I will do some review of long division concepts over the summer, because she needs some reinforcement there and I don’t want to have to start from scratch in the fall.
  • Language Arts: We got most of the way through First Language Lessons 3 (diagramming) and Writing With Ease 3, although I saved some of the supplements to tie in with projects next year.  She also did additional writing assignments that tied in to her history and literature studies, such as writing compare and contrast essays, plays, and poetry.
  • Spelling: We squeaked through the second grade level lists in Spelling Plus.  Barely.
  • Handwriting: Hannah’s cursive saw much improvement in New American Cursive II, and she also did copywork and sometimes spelling in cursive.
  • History/Literature/Geography:  In our Tapestry of Grace Year 2 studies, Hannah covered history, literature, geography, church history, and other related subjects at the upper grammar level, and also did most of the dialectic level readings.  She read an untold number of additional books on the side, because she loves to read.
  • Latin: We worked through part of Latin for Children Primer A, but then switched back to Prima Latina for review and to regain confidence.
  • Fine Arts: We enjoyed lots of art projects related to our history studies, and also studied several artists and composers throughout the year.  Our attempt at piano lessons taught by Mama was mixed.
  • Science:  Our co-op group did lots of great experiments from a children’s physics curriculum, and we also continued our study of birds from Apologia’s Flying Creatures text and activity book.

Jack, age 6 (first grade by age)

Jack started voluntarily reading longer chapter books on his own this year, and his writing really took off.  He loves to draw and build things, has great spatial awareness, and has done a lot of voluntary creative writing.

  • Math: Jack did a Singapore math book and then completed Saxon 2, which starts multiplication.
  • Language Arts: He finished most of First Language Lessons 2, which covers more complicated parts of speech, and Writing With Ease 2, in addition to writing letters and doing other writing assignments along the way.
  • Spelling:  Jack completed All About Spelling Level 2, which incorporates dictation and seemed a great fit for him.
  • Handwriting: I was surprised when Jack asked to learn cursive, but he did a good job of completing New American Cursive I, and has a legible cursive signature complete with John Hancock type flourish!
  • History/Literature/Geography: For the most part Jack’s assignments were from the Lower Grammar level of Tapestry of Grace Year 2, but by the end of the year he also did the Upper Grammar literature readings.
  • Fine Arts: We enjoyed lots of art projects related to our history studies, and also studied several artists and composers throughout the year.  Our attempt at piano lessons taught by Mama was mixed, but Jack can play simple songs.
  • Science: Our co-op group did lots of great experiments from a children’s physics curriculum, and we also continued our study of birds from Apologia’s Flying Creatures text and activity book.

Sarah, age 5 (pre-school 4/5 by age)

Sarah learned to read this year, at long last!  She had been asking for a long time, and one side-effect of waiting until she was 4 1/2 to start lessons was that it was a lot easier to teach her.  She also went crazy with math and basically always tries to do whatever the older kids are doing, so this wasn’t really a preschool year for her.  I have mixed feelings about that.

  • Math: I had not intended to give Sarah a math curriculum for PreK, but she asked for one so I got her Saxon K.  She finished that, so I got her Saxon 1. She completed the first half of Saxon 1, plus a chunk of lessons from the second half of Saxon 1.
  • Language Arts: I let Sarah sit in on First Language Lessons 1 (parts of speech) while I reviewed it with the big kids this fall.  Then I went through it with her again once the other kids moved on.  After she sailed through it the second time we went through it once more, because it seemed weird to move a preschooler into the second grade book.  But this is a girl who knows the basic parts of speech down COLD!
  • Reading: Sarah did the first 130 lessons from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.  The book covers phonics concepts and builds reading fluency, but Sarah is in the phase where she can read complicated stories in the reading book but doubts her ability to read regular books.  I think summer reading will help.
  • Handwriting: I don’t know how Sarah learned to write but she did, so I just assigned her copywork every day, including her name, the date, and a sentence or poem or something related to what she was reading or learning in another subject.
  • History/Literature/Geography: Sarah enjoyed the Lower Grammar books from Tapestry of Grace Year 2, which I read aloud to all of the kids.  I also tried to make sure that I read her several literature-quality picture books each day, taken from the Sonlight selections we enjoyed so much with Hannah and Jack.
  • Fine Arts: We enjoyed lots of art projects related to our history studies, and also studied several artists and composers throughout the year.  Our attempt at piano lessons taught by Mama was mixed, but Sarah does know where Middle C is now, and can identify basic stuff like the staff, treble clef, etc.
  • Science: Our co-op group did lots of great experiments from a children’s physics curriculum, and we also continued our study of birds from Apologia’s Flying Creatures text and activity book.

In conclusion, I would say that overall this has been a really great year of school for us.  We have learned a lot, grown a lot, and had a great time together (for the most part).  I’m not going to lie to you, homeschooling is really hard work.  Parenting issues become classroom issues, my own faults are made glaringly obvious, and that can be draining and discouraging at times.  But what I’ve come to realize more over the course of this year is that I am really passionate about education–particularly about how to personalize education for my unique children–and the value I see and satisfaction I find from homeschooling far outweighs the challenges.

Happy Summer to All!

 

Disclosure: The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.  If you ever choose to buy something from Tapestry of Grace based on my reviews, I’d love it if you list me as your reference [chgillespie {{at}} gmail {{dot}} com], but my Tapestry of Grace links are not direct affiliate links.

3 thoughts on “School’s Out!

  1. I love your homeschool posts! I’d be interested to know how you are approaching teaching the piano to your children as I intend to start teaching some of mine later this year.

    I didn’t get round to commenting at the time (I’ve been a little distracted with our new addition!), but I really enjoyed your family update the other week. You all look well and happy. Such a lovely family!

  2. I love your homeschool posts and have been meaning to comment here. 🙂 Homeschooling is hard work but you are clearly passionate! I love that. We’ve had an interesting year. We decided for a variety of reasons to put Stefan in school for Kindergarten. It is a very small school and his teacher has been great. But….it’s been hard. While we did learn a lot culturally it has made it abundantly clear to us that our family thrives better in the home environment. Also…I’m way too passionate about education for this to work for very long! 😉

    We had already planned on only doing one year, but I suppose if it had been “great” we would have considered more. What surprised me most was that Stefan didn’t really like it. He has gotten used to us reading and doing our learning mostly related and surrounding stories we’ve read. He didn’t thrive at all in the “work page” environment.

    If anything, though, this experience has confirmed that we want to homeschool and will hopefully help me through the days that are really really hard because I now have first hand experience how really hard the school experience has been for us. So difficult as it may be we are forging ahead and I’m very excited to see how we map out this next year.
    Johanna recently posted..Embracing seasonal shifts

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