Friday, May 7, 2010

Weeks 30 and 31--The End Is Near!

Is this normal in homeschooling? Suddenly the weeks are whizzing by and I have no idea what happened. We're in the final stretch now, with just three more weeks of our Adventures curriculum to go. Somehow, some way, we went from being a "just thinking about homeschooling" family to one that was "just trying it out for a year" to where we are now, which is that our kids cannot imagine school any other way. Some days I still do wonder if this is truly for the best for them, but I have to just trust that if the Lord wants us to do otherwise, he will make it clear and we'll change accordingly. But for now, it looks like we will continue on! Time to start thinking about new curriculum for the fall...eek!

Anyway, the past two weeks we've just been trucking along. Here are some highlights:
  • In science, Harry and Ron continued having fun with the My First Magnets kit, as well as covering topics such as friction, light and color. Here they using a magnetic wand to move boats with metal washers attached in a pie plate with water inside. It sounds so simple, and it is, but the boys still enjoy seeing magnetic force at work.
  • Also, Harry revisited studying a number of birds this past week, which coincided nicely with our growing hobby of bird watching. We began bird-watching as part of the Adventures curriculum, and for me and the kids it has become a fun activity to enjoy together. (My husband is bemused by all the attention we give our regular feathered visitors as well as by all the feeders that are now up in our yard!) Recently, we put up a platform feeder to try to attract both the blue jays (which we pictured in the last post, clutching precariously to the side of the house feeder we had put up) and cardinals, who we often see in the yard but never see eating. It took about a week for the birds to get used to it but now we do see both those species of birds coming regularly to eat on the platform; they are both too large for our other feeders so we are learning that it takes different feeders and food to attract different species. We haven't yet been able to take a photo of either bird on the platform, though, so we'll just have to keep waiting for that right moment!
  • Harry completed his final spelling test from Rod & Staff's Spelling By Sound and Structure, scoring 98% so we were both pleased. I felt this year the words in the book were not all that challenging, but in an attempt to ease into spelling I used the curriculum anyway and I think it just helped to boost his confidence in spelling. I've also learned that Harry likes getting grades and I think it helps give him a sense of accomplishment when he scores well, although my first inclination was not to push grades so much this year. But hopefully we're finding the right balance of using grades as guideposts to help us see what we need to learn and not as the basis by which he receives affirmation based on performance.
  • Speaking of spelling, I'm totally befuddled as to what to do for spelling next year...I think that because Harry was largely a self-taught reader, his spelling is actually not strong in general. We'll probably do some remedial phonics work this summer and hopefully I'll pick a good curriculum for him...Spelling Power? All About Spelling? Spell to Read and Write? Arghhhh!! So many choices! I need to start praying for wisdom as we speak!
  • Mathwise, I've discovered that having the Singapore Extra Practice books is really helpful, especially now that we're getting into addition and subtraction of three-digit numbers with renaming. We'll definitely continue doing math over the summer, albeit at a slower pace. I think a 2 1/2 month break would completely be detrimental to our progress this year!
  • For history, we've been studying pioneers on the plains, and some of the suggested reading have come from the American Girls series of chapter books. I didn't think Harry would actually get into these books, but he LOVES them. He had enjoyed the three Little House books we read this year so I guess I shouldn't be surprised, and there doesn't seem to be anything comparable book series for Kirsten and Josefina it is for now! (I probably won't let Jason know that there is the huge American Girls store in downtown Chicago. It might make his dad a little nervous if Harry wants to go visit!)
  • As for brother Ron, he has been faithfully working through three main areas at home: reading (he's a little more than halfway through Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading), writing (I just use an off-the-rack handwriting book from the local learning store), and math (he has recently finished Singapore Earlybird A). He joins in with Harry when we do geography (he really enjoys coloring the U.S. state sheets that come with Adventures and learning their location) and science. But mostly he likes to run around and play with his big brother. He has unequivocally stated his preference not to go to kindergarten at the local public school. So, I'm trying to figure out whether to get him his own kindergarten program or do something more informal. Decisions, decisions!
  • And although this doesn't have too much to do with school, the boys and I made what we called our "Fruit of the Spirit Pizza" for fun this week...I saw a recipe in an old Family Fun magazine that looked appealing, so tried it out with them. The dough ended up being a little thicker than I would have liked, but overall it tasted good and was a fun activity. Plus, it gave us a good chance to review the fruits of the Spirit, which is always a good thing!

  • Harry and Ron's last homeschool co-op meeting for the semester was last Friday, where they enjoyed parents vs. kids dodgeball, learned a few more karate kicks, and made some lovely gifts for me for Mother's Day! I'm so grateful we have a wonderful co-op so close by where the kids can do things that I just cannot handle here at home. It's been a true blessing!

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms out there! Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Our time has definitely sped up in the last few weeks. There's a bitter sweet feeling at finishing this first year and looking at all we've accomplished. I also feel your pain at all the decisions to be made as I prepare for the coming year. It never seems to end!

  2. Sounds like a good week, Helen! Yes, things are speeding up as we head to the finish line! Woo-hoo!!

    I hope you will find what you're looking for in a spelling curriculum for next year. Sometimes I get so worked up about making a decision ... you'd think I'm marrying my choices!

    Love the fruits of the Spirit pizza - what a great idea!!

    Happy Mother's Day to you, too! Hope you have a good one! ;)