We’re halfway through the school year so I’m going to do a review of everybody’s progress. In other words, long post alert!
When I asked the kids’ opinion over Christmas break, they said things are good but they would like more field trips, science experiments, and glitter glue. We’ve been on a bunch of field trips the last two months, Papa has promised to bring more experiments home from school, and I reminded them that projects with glitter glue make their mama mean. We can do one, but be forewarned.
Each year I like to pick one subject to focus on with each child, and William’s this year is writing. He has learned how to write in cursive and narrate (homeschoolspeak for the ability to orally summarize what he reads), so he’s ready to write a paragraph on his own. We tried Sonlight’s Language Arts and Writing Strands, and neither program was clear enough for him. Dry-as-a-bone Saxon Grammar and Writing 5 has turned out to be just what he needs. The program is very straightforward, although I do let him choose his own topics.
It turns out all those years of copying good literature and writing from dictation paid off. His writing style is emerging “fully formed” and it’s excellent. (He still doesn’t enjoy writing, but he can tell he’s doing a good job).
He’s reading books from Sonlight Core D about early American history. The spine is The Landmark History of the American People for Young People, which I enjoy reading with him.
Here’s his schedule (he’s in 5th grade):
Practice memory work (a Bible verse, a poem, and a few other things)
Listen to the gospel for daily Mass
Copywork or dictation and work on his current paragraph
One or two math lessons from Saxon 6/5 (usually just Lesson Practice)
Division facts on my phone
Grammar (Mon/Wed) or Latin (Tues/Thurs)
Read American History (Mon/Wed) or Old Testament (Tues/Thurs)
Exercise and sunshine
Some kind of science–I don’t have to schedule this for William as he spends his free time following the weather all over the U.S., cultivating plants, and studying field guides. We do have a biography/ activity book about Isaac Newton that we are slowly reading through (maybe a few times a month).
Louis (2nd grade)
Memory work (same as William)
All About Spelling (just finishing Level 1)
Explode the Code phonics workbook
Singapore Math Level 2A
Reading The Beginner’s Bible aloud
Listening to the day’s gospel reading, an Old Testament story, and a read aloud
Subtraction facts on my phone
First Communion prep with the First Communion Catechism
(unless I win Kendra’s new book today!)
Insert my review of All About Spelling: if your child needs the Orton-Gillingham approach, this program is engaging, requires almost no planning, and is completely reusable for another child. (yea!) It is fairly time consuming if used according to the lesson plans, but you could easily omit activities if your child is a natural speller. It’s perfect for a non-workbook approach to spelling.
Ben and Marie (Kinder)
Memory work (Bible verse and poem–they listen in on the older boys’ things too)
Explode the Code phonics workbook
Math facts drill
Reading Sonlight’s I Can Read It! books aloud
Listening to the Bible and read-alouds
The focus for Ben & Marie this year is handwriting, because they taught themselves to write the last few years while I was teaching the older boys, and they began the year forming most of their letters incorrectly. Oops–a minor homeschooling fail there. Then they whipped through their kindergarten handwriting book in a few months while I was teaching the older boys so now I’m trying to carefully watch their few words worth of copywork and I think they will be fine.
Their seatwork only takes about 30 minutes, and so they spend a lot of the morning playing outside or with Legos. This is the age where the craziness of infant twins really begins to pay off. Now they’ve got a built-in classmate and playmate, or if I need them to play with Teddy, they can take turns playing something little with him and playing with their own things.
Weekly goals (we don’t always do all this, of course–we don’t always do all the daily goals either, obviously!)
Nature walk by the bayou down the street
One weekday Mass
William did wrestling in the fall and L, M, & B take gymnastics
Soccer starts in a week for all of them
Marie’s American Heritage Girls troop
Co-op at our parish (we study one sacrament a month)
Lab class at the science museum
“Kids Book Club” and park day with our homeschool group (we missed this last semester but are glad to be back in!)
Since we quit Cub Scouts, and this was the year William was going to start camping every month, we thought we’d try for a family, or at least father/son, campout every month. We’ve been once. But we have plans to go again soon.
I also wanted to get us doing some kind of volunteer work every month. So far some friends and I have taken our kids to help at a food pantry a few times this year. We make sandwiches and sack lunches that are delivered to families with preschool age children. We might get to start delivering the lunches soon. Making this a monthly thing might be a project for Lent.
Have a happy weekend!
This is Post 5 of 7 posts in 7 days.