Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wrapping My head Around the Coming Year...

It's hitting me that July is almost over, that we only have a month or so of summer weather left. I went out to the garden this afternoon and despite my dismal efforts we have vegetables growing all over the place. It's been a very busy season, summer means hours at the park and pool and any moment I'm home is either me crashing in exhaustion or rushing trying to clean up from the kids that have trashed the house while I was resting from the hours of carrying/chasing/watching busy baby in the summer heat.

A Mermaid Castle the kids built in a creek.

It's been a really fun summer though...We've squeezed in a beach trip, fire works watching, many picnics, and tons of pool time. We also spent a lot of time at the library. Everyone took part in our local Summer Reading Program and the ones that could take part logged well over 2,000 minutes reading. I'm especially blown away by Roo, she logged so many books and reading time, all the prizes she won got to be a little obnoxious.

But August is around the corner, Friendly turns seven in 9 days. We're starting to make Birthday plans. And with that my mind starts to turn to our school  year and wondering if I'm covering all the things well enough.


Core Spine: Build Your Library: The Medieval World technically this is "Grade 2" I think it will be a perfect middle ground for Friendly who falls some where between 1st and 2nd grade and Roo who falls some where between 2nd and 3rd. 

What we will be covering (and some of the books we will use):
Story of the World Volume 2

Language Arts will be intertwined with history, we'll be reading about Medieval times and The Middle Ages from the Build Your Library Book Store (and supplementing whenever possible with Library Audio options, When researching for the year I was excited to find that our local Library has several of the required books available as Audio Books- less reading aloud for me.)

We'll be using BYOL's Science doing Earth Science and a Study of Space
I'm feeling a little ridiculously excited to get started. Last year when  we did the Ancient Civilizations the Science study was Nature studies (and nature notebooking) I wanted to study it so badly. I did some of the activities myself because I felt like making the observations, some times the kids would join me but generally it was a "oh That's nice, Mom.". Roo wanted to study Physiology and Anatomy, good stuff We used Apologia's program and Jr. Notebooking Journal  which is fantastic. But I don't know, maybe because it wasn't technically in the Teacher's Guide or maybe I just found it hard to squeeze in because there was so much to it, but I had a hard time consistently offering opportunities to work on it- or knowing how much to do. It was fine, the kids enjoyed it we got a few chapters of the book done and will pick it back up as interest dictates.

Okay so Science is covered.

Grammar and Spelling
The BYOL also offers opportunities to do dictation (so technically grammar, spelling, and handwriting if you want it to be). This format (using dictation from language arts that day) hasn't worked well with Roo. I think it feels too vague and unofficial for her. So we were using Spelling You See Jack & Jill I'm unsure whether she is ready to move on to the next level. Her reading comprehension and skills have jumped several grade levels in the last 3 months alone. When we started Jack and Jill last school year it was a bit too much for her. Now the spelling words are beyond easy for her, but it gives lots of practice in grammar as well as some handwriting practice. We've been skipping and doing a 5 or 6 grammar exercises in one day and 1 spelling practice and then moving on. We jumped ahead at least 10 levels in 2 weeks that way...We could quickly finish up and move on I suppose. I'm just unsure if that would be the best use of the curriculum? We can erase and use it again for Friendly, perhaps.
Which leads me to Friendly, I'm not sure if Spelling You See is the best fit for Friendly though. Due to her Auditory Processing challenges she gets really frustrated and turned around when she has to spell words from hearing me say them. She does better with concrete pictures and building the word visually. I thought about maybe going back to Explode the Code with her (we used it briefly with Roo in pre-K age, haven't used it with Roo). But I feel so in over my head in where to place her. I think we will be leaving spelling alone for now and using the Brain Integration Therapy exercises and phonic sounds flash cards to unlock her blocked learning gates and then re-evaluate at mid-year.

We've really been enjoying and learning a lot from Life of Fred  And the kids have picked up a ton of math from it! I think we're going to stick with that until we get through Edgewood and then see where the kids land. I have been really leaning towards wanting to do Teaching Textbooks with Roo, but I think I'd rather save the money and reconsider at mid-year as well. I go back and forth on this. The only thing I don't like about Life of Fred is that it's more reading out loud. It's not that I dislike reading out loud, but when you have little ones reading out loud means interruptions, constant interruptions. And that's part of life and it's part of homeschooling and it's part of reality but it annoys the heck out of me. :D I have been trying to work through scheduling stuff to reduce interruptions, but infants are infants, preschoolers are preschoolers and they are to interruption what bees are to nectar. I did begin recording myself reading chapters aloud on a private youtube channel so I can set kids up with a chapter on the ipad....

So Did I cover every thing?

Oh Bible. 

I will be doing Heart of Dakota Little Hearts for His Glory again (did it with Roo in 2013) with Pip, that has daily Bible stories and Memory verses. I think we will also be using Our 24 Family Ways every morning, or some mornings at least.

Sheesh when I type it all out I feel super overwhelmed! But then I remember, It's not all these things every day (except for Brain Integration Therapy, that's 15minutes daily). We're definitely going to have to think through a morning flow that works better than what we currently have. One that doesn't make homeschooling feel like a chain weighting down the relaxed days we want to have. But some thing that insures we're getting things done and every thing feels like they have enough structure to thrive and accomplish what they want to.

There's the rub.

More on that next time.

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