Friday, January 30, 2009

Mid-Year Report

We're officially at the halfway point in our school year so I thought today would be a good day for a homeschool update.

For starters, I'm typing this at the exact moment Doc Brown would be starting class if he were attending school down the street. Instead, it's a rainy morning, he's curled up under a blanket and I love it.

I can't believe we've already completed 18 weeks of school. A lot of the year has been a blur and it's easy to question whether we've actually accomplished anything. But I was updating his portfolio the other day and as I looked over the weekly log entries I realized we that we really have been "doing some school".

I'll do a rundown of each subject in the order we tackle it each day:

Bible: We're reading through Egermeier's Bible Storybook each day and we're up to Elijah/Elisha. What I love about this particular bible for children is that it doesn't use a cartoony approach, but instead gives a thorough overview of scripture. Also, it doesn't shy away from some of the more challenging bible stories, but instead gently introduces these stories in a way children can handle.

Math: Doc is pretty excited about Math-U-See. We're only a few days into it, but he loves using the blocks and gets a kick out of watching Mr. Demme teach on the DVD.

Reading: Doc is reading and I attribute that success to 3 things: my mom who has been working with him weekly, Sonlight's I Can Read It! books and Explode the Code.

BREAK TIME: This is such an important part of our day. The kids eat a mid-morning snack and do some playing around the house or in the backyard while I get a chance to make some phone calls, start a load of laundry, check blogs, etc. I really should quit doing the email/blog thing during this time because I get sucked in and have a hard time getting motivated to get back to school.

Handwriting: Doc is a 6 year old boy so handwriting continues to be an issue. Only it's not an issue because I'm not pushing it too much. We just do a few minutes of practice and move on. It'll come.

Hero Tales: This is another piece of the Sonlight curriculum and I've been surprised by how much the kids are enjoying this one. Each week we read about a different missionary and a character trait that God grew in them that enabled them to reach out to others. This week we've been reading about William and Catherine Booth and the beginning of the Salvation Army. It also serves a good opportunity to pull out a map.

Read-Aloud: This is why I adore Sonlight. They've picked out some of the best books for us to curl up on the couch and read together. I don't push a Q&A afterward, but we have had some really good natural conversations as a result. Right now we're reading "The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes. Oh my goodness, I love this book, but I hope the kids don't mind when I cry at the end.

History: We've just started reading through "The Story of the World: Volume 1" by Susan Wise Bauer. It's a very cursory look at history, but it's written at a child's level and Doc seems to be enjoying it. And it serves as yet another opportunity for a map study. Have I mentioned that Doc loves maps?

So that's where we are and what we're doing. The actual school part of the equation is going well. The area where I struggle is figuring out how to balance the rest of the household stuff at the same time. And maintain a good attitude. And stay focused. And be patient. And not lazy. Oh, and realistic. And a number of other things.

But it'll come.

I hope.


Andrea said...

I am always impressed by friends that homeschool. I appreicate their dedication and structure - not sure if I could do that.
BTW - how is Bella?

Luke said...

May your year finish out even better than it began. Keep up the great work!


Cheryl said...

keep on keepin' on!

Tiffany said...

Good for you and Doc! It sounds like you are making great progress. I love the idea of a Mid-Year Report. I think I'll copy you sometime in the next couple of weeks on my own blog. Do you think you could post the titles of the "I Can Read" books? I'd love to see if my library has them for Joe.

Tree Climbing Mom said...

The books are "I Can Read It!" books 1, 2 and 3. They're written by John Holzmann and published by Sonlight so I'm not sure if your library would carry them. The ones are new editions redesigned for this school year. One of the things I like about them is that they follow the same letter and sound pattern as Explode the Code 1, 2 and 3.

Benny said...

Your day sound quite similar to our days, as far as school goes. Punky loves the read aloud time, too. We also tend to skip handwriting in any great quantity. 6 year old boys just don't seem liek they were created to sit and write much of anything!

Well keep up the good work, and I hope you keep having fun!


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