Here are some brief highlights of what Hanna and Joe have been up to in school outside of Five in a Row the last few weeks in our core subjects. (These posts are mostly for my documentation. They are good for looking back on to see what the kids are learning and when, how they are doing with particular curriculums, any curriculum changes—I like referring to them from time to time for different reasons.)
Hanna is moving along in Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra. She was fast tracking it, but as of this week (week 10) she is doing 1 lesson per day. She’s finally at a point in it where she is learning new materials and needs to slow down. She still hasn’t picked back up with Life of Fred Pre-Algebra. I am honestly not sure when she will this school year—if so, it will more than likely be our last quarter. She needs a bit more background before jumping back into Fred.
Joe is halfway through Singapore 1A. He will begin 1B in January. He is also working along in Evan Moor Daily Word Problems Grade 1 and he does quite a bit of ‘themed’ math from Teachers Pay Teachers units that I print out to go along with what we are studying. For example, this past week we studied turkeys/pilgrims and he played lots of themed math games along those lines. Math is still coming easy for him, and it’s a good thing that his teacher is happy about :-).
Hanna began Easy Grammar two weeks ago. We completed Basic Winston Grammar and it had been my plan for quite some time to pick up with Easy Grammar once she finished Winston. It is going well. I like the format of it, it’s simple to teach and we both understand it easily.
She is almost finished with Evan Moor Daily Trait Writing Grade 6+. As much as I have tried for a couple years now to like Writing Strands, I just don’t like it from a teacher’s point of view—from the way it is taught to the student, as well as the writing assignments. She will begin Write Shop 1 in January. I want her writing strong by Spring of 2013—she will take the PSAT then. I have noticed problems in her spelling of words coming up again (frequently)—this was a problem her 5th grade year, not in 6th. She and Joe both are beginning Spelling Power in January.
Joe is moving along without any problems in Language Lessons for the Very Young Vol. 1. He is learning about subjects, verbs and capitalization. I am using units from Teachers Pay Teachers and the Five in a Row manual to reinforce these things, as well as teach him the basics of sentence structure, writing short stories/letters and elements in a story.
Joe is also completing lessons each day in Evan Moor Writing Traits Grade 1. We tried this book the end of last school year, but he just wasn’t ready for it. This year it seems to be coming easier for him and he is actually enjoying it.
Joe is doing history and geography from the Five in a Row manual. I also pull history into our rows when I can according to the time period, setting, etc. of the books we row.
Hanna is completing Volumes 1-5 of History of US, by Joy Hakim this year. I had this integrated along with Story of the World Volume 3, but it was proving to be too confusing to her (and me) to do them both at the same time. I found two wonderful outlines (one from Hewitt Homeschool and the other from Love to Learn) to accompany History of US that include tests, projects, historical literature selections and movies to watch upon completing each volume from PBS. We are both loving history this year—U.S. History is my favorite and Hanna enjoys it a lot too. These books are amazing!
She just finished reading Sign of the Beaver. She wrote a report on it and designed an alternate book cover. She loved this book and read it twice.
Joe is doing simple science from the Five in a Row manual, Usborne Science Activities Volumes 1 and 2 and using the Evan Moor Great Science Resource Book.
Hanna is trudging through Apologia General Science. She finished Module 4 yesterday. This is a serious science course. It is very thorough and time intensive. She is having to put forth a lot of effort in her studies to retain and understand the material. In the teacher’s manual it states plainly that this is a college prep bound course and a tough one—it’s the truth!
She’s completed lots of experiments this year. Here are a few pictures from last week’s which consisted of broken flashlight, fulcrum experiment and pulley experiment.
This is Hanna’s first year having grades. She never had any since she always attended Montessori school. I didn’t issue her any grades the first two years we homeschooled. (I always made sure she knew the materials, knew them well and had her do corrections when she missed things though.) This year most of her curriculums have tests that require grading and I feel like it’s time to get her used to grades/report cards so she is more than ready for this reality when it’s college time. I have to be honest and say that I am being pretty strict on her this year as far as what I require. I am grading her as a teacher would and with high expectations. I am trying my best to make sure my kids are very prepared academically. She seems to be fine with the grading and she wants her grades to be high. She is doing fair with my expectations. I can’t say she is overly thrilled with some of the requirements. Some days she studies and works long and it’s been challenging for both of us. This is by far my hardest year of homeschool yet—hers too, but in the end, neither of us would rather have it any other way—we’ve talked lots about this.
I’m feeling confident in our curriculum choices right now. We are nearing the end of our first quarter and will be on break the month of December. We will be completing a Christmas unit study, crafting lots and enjoying family time. I’ll still be posting what we do throughout December. I almost have it all ready and hope to post my plans for next month within the next week.