Friday, January 08, 2010

Homeschooling Update: Halfway!!

I thought it was about time for another homeschooling update, since today we finished our 18th week!! It's exciting to realize that we're now officially halfway through the year. If we continue on schedule with no breaks, at this point we'll get done the second week in May. I would have actually liked to finish sooner, but we took most of December off. I could always double up on a few weeks and finish earlier, but we'll see how it goes. Our school schedule is pretty light already, so I'll probably just stick with it the way it's written. Anyway, here's a breakdown of where we are in the curriculum:

Math: We have two units left in Singapore Earlybird A. Still really liking this curriculum! This week we did a unit on weight, which was fun. We were too cheap to spend the money for a scale/balance thingy, so Jim built one out of wood and used plastic lids for the trays where you put things. It's worked fine and was free. :) Sam has really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of this unit!

Handwriting: Still not Sam's favorite subject, but he does quite well with it when he concentrates on doing it right. :) He can make the letters very nicely when he wants to, but usually he'd rather be lazy, or try to embellish the letters with his own style. We have about 7-8 weeks worth of lessons left in the book (we only do three per week).

Reading: This is still Sam's least favorite subject, by far. It's sometimes a huge source of frustration to me, because I have seen him do really well some days--so I know he KNOWS how to sound out the words--but most of the time he resists, fiddles with his hands, rubs his eyes, yawns, and generally distracts himself in every way possible to prolong the lesson until I'm about to go nuts. If he'd just buckle down and DO the lesson (the way he obviously could if he wanted), we'd be done very quickly. Can you tell this has not been a great week with reading? ;) Anyway, we're on lesson 83 of the book. I think next week I'll either have to make it more of a discipline issue or just take a deep breath and slow down a little more and see if that helps.

Science, social studies, etc. are all studied using read-alouds. For science, this week we started going through the Usborne book "What's Under the Sea?" The kids have both enjoyed this one and it's been fun to learn about fish, coral, etc. Last night we watched "Finding Nemo" together to reinforce some of what they were learning about, and today it was fun to see them putting the pieces together between what they saw in the movie and what we were reading about in the book. For social studies, we just started reading a book called "Stories from Africa." We've only read one story so far, but they seemed to enjoy it.

Another fun read-aloud that we started this week is a book of Brer Rabbit stories. Both Sam and Julia are really getting into this one! In fact, they were both a little upset that there were only 3 stories scheduled from it this week. :) Both Uncle Wiggily and now Brer Rabbit have been favorites; I guess they really enjoy books about talking animals!

This year we are not doing an in-depth Bible curriculum. What's scheduled in with our Sonlight year is just a story each day from a children's Bible. We don't do it as part of our school day, but for our family Bible time at night instead. I have slacked off lately with memory verses and really need to get back to that.

Lately I've been feeling less than inspired at adding in extra stuff to the curriculum. I started off the year with a bang, adding in lapbooks and some other fun projects each week, but as the semester progressed I fell away from doing much of anything extra, and just followed the instructor's guide. I really need to work on adding in hands-on projects again this semester, even though it is a bit of extra work and time for me. Sam loves doing projects and I need to encourage that. I also know it would help him with reading incentives; if we plan to do a project each Friday if he does well with his reading the rest of the week, then I think he'd be more motivated.

Overall, I feel like the first half of the year has been good, but I'm still finding my groove. I can see lots and lots of areas I need to improve in, both as a teacher and an organized mom. :) Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to write it out for my own benefit too, to look back on later and see where we've been and how far we've come! Thanks for listening to my rambling. :)


Mrs.T said...

Wow, Carrie! I think you are doing so well to have gotten all this organized and planned out. For the first year, it seems to me you are doing very well.

Reading -- I agree, get back to using a Friday project as incentive for good reading during the week. I think this is so hard for you (as it would be for me) because you yourself loved reading and took to it like a duck to water. It's hard for me to relate because all of my children were like that with reading. But I think incentives are good... and also maybe trying to find more books that will interest him that he will really WANT to read. Just a few thoughts...

Mary Ann said...

It sounds to me like you are doing a great job, Carrie. I would have no idea where to start & I would definitely have trouble staying motivated. What an accomplishment to be halfway done & sticking to your schedule/lesson goals so well! I'm sure the rest of the year will fly by & Sam will be right where he needs to be. :-)

Alicia said...

Wow, thanks for the detailed update, Carrie! Very encouraging to see the details of how it's actually fleshing out for you guys as I endeavor to plan for diving into homeschooling with Chloe formally next year. Yikes, I'm already freaking out about it!

Mrs. Doug said...

It's always exciting to get to the halfway point. I always enjoyed getting back to school after the holiday. The kids were always ready for a more structured routine and so wasn't I. Reading is a tough thing for some children, but it's cool that Mom is the one teaching. No one knows better what his interests are than you. He's a bright boy and I know you will find new ways to get that into his curriculum. Don't be afraid to experiment a little. If he likes science, which it seems he does you can relate sounds and spelling to important science terms. Nothing more phonetic than science terms :).

We'll be praying for ya too.

Mrs. D