We are DONE with school for the year. Like early-done. Like totally-done. Like didn’t-have-to-leave-anything-off-done…. WHAAA????? What planet am I living on? This. NEVER. Happens. LIKE EVER. (Are you already sick of the work “like” in just the first paragraph of this blog?…I am like sorry!
So, what better time to do a wrap up on of the school year than when it’s fresh in my mind and I haven’t invaded my limited brain space to start
FREAKING OUT ABOUT working on next year’s plans.
This year I taught 8th grade (using Classical Conversations Challenge A curriculum), 6th grade, 4th grade, 3rd grade, and 1st grade.
Let’s just start with what went really well!
History – I just love Story of the World. Wholeheartedly. We like the books it recommends, the short segments and the map work. The ONLY problem I have with SOTW is their 4th book… Uggggh, I am not sure what we are going to do when we get back around to that one, but I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there. We used the Homeschooling in the Woods timeline figures that I bought years ago (I use them SOOOO much and I am so glad I made the investment in the whole set!)
Science – I only did 2 books when I normally do 3 per year. It worked out really well this year and the kids still got a lot out of them. We notebooked our way through them and that is always an easy yet effective way to retain information. You get to use all the different parts of your brain doing sketch journaling and it is fun; what’s not to love.
English – Grouping Michael and Faith together has been really advantageous. It allows me to teach one thing and have both utilize it. Also, Michael struggles a bit in this area, they are only a year apart in school and there is so much repetition and review in all grades you can easily lump kids together that are close in age. Last year I did 6th grade with my 5th and 7th grader (splitting the difference).
Spelling – I think we will be continuing to use the Spelling Workout Books I really like the format and the how each year it stays the same (just harder and more words). It enforces vocabulary and by the 6th grade Maddie was spelling words that I usually rely on spellcheck to figure out, but then again, I am not a strong speller, so take that as you will.
Math – Teaching Textbooks is probably what we will be sticking with although I always fall short of drilling multiplication tables and that SHOWS!!! I really need to get better at this. Anyone have a great way of having kids memorize their math facts? Flash cards, ipad drills and repetition are all I come up with. Math fact memorization is just boring. Plain and simple. But it has to be mastered so let’s put on our big girl panties and start a flash card frenzy this summer, eh?
Classical Conversations– We really loved this program for our oldest and plan to use it for our other kids as well. I am in the middle of deciding whether or not Maddie will start Challenge A this year or next, as she will have JUST turned 12 at the beginning of the school year. AJ learned SO much, but I am afraid Latin may be a bit much for a just turned 12 year old (AJ was 13 at the start of his Challenge A year) with NO background in Latin. If we do start her next year we will be doing a summer Latin study so she at least has a little bit of experience with it. AJ struggled hard with his Latin final, although he knows SOOOO much more than he did at the beginning of the year. He is looking forward to Challenge B next year I am I am looking forward to starting again with a bit better feel of how Classical Conversations looks and blindly trying to figure it out as we go (but that is me to a tee… #learnasido
Things that need improvement
Writing– While I LOVE Institute for Excellence in Writing I slacked at teaching it consistently. It was the subject that I tended to leave by the wayside on the days when we had too much on our plates (remember we had a baby last year… #thebabyismyexcuse!) I am planning on starting it next year with Michael (5th) and Faith (4th) although I am not sure how that will look as, like I said before, this is where Michael struggles the most. I have thought about having him keep a summer journal just to get him used to writing more and hopefully get him enjoying it.
Typing – we fell off the typing bandwagon, but I am not horribly concerned about this as most of the kids are proficient at keyboarding skills and use a computer daily for some of their school work.
Accountability – I hoping next year I am able to be a bit more organized about checking completed work thoroughly so that I can hold the kids more accountable for certain things. Accountability for them means accountability for me and last year was a tough year to keep my eye on every ball I was juggling. I think I did very well considering we had my oldest in brand new structure, I was still homeschooling my other 4, I had 2 toddlers, a newborn baby with tongue tie as well starting my new doTERRA business. Phew…
Handwriting – I LOVED having printable, renewable and super simple handwriting sheets. I DID NOT love the fact that I didn’t just PRINT THEM ALL OUT AHEAD OF TIME! But that was partly because I wasn’t done creating them. Which let me to slapping them together the morning of school that week which took more time then I had at the moment. NOTE TO SELF: I will print out a year worth of handwriting BEFORE the school year next year. I promise.
Favorite family read aloud this year: Call it Courage
Least favorite family read aloud: Samurai Tale (we didn’t even make it halfway through)
How was your year?