Friday, May 07, 2010

Homeschooling Update: In the Home Stretch!!

{image courtesy of}

I thought it was about time for another homeschooling update! I should have been doing better keeping up with this on my blog, but it's probably not as interesting for you to read as it is for me to write (since I can look back on the year and realize how far we've come). :) I actually wrote most of this post earlier this week, but didn't get around to finishing it till now. I was going to link to all of the various curriculums I mentioned, but right now it's late and I'm feeling too lazy to do that. So, if you have a question about any of them, let me know and I'll post a link for you.

This is "officially" week 34 for us, but I'm planning to combine weeks 34-36 into two weeks instead of three. It shouldn't be difficult, seeing as Sam's schoolwork is still pretty easy. :) When I originally planned out the year, I had hoped to be done halfway through May, so it looks like we should still be able to meet that goal. Here's how things are going with the different subjects:
  • Math: probably Sam's favorite subject. We're in unit 18 of Singapore Earlybird B. This unit covers a very basic intro to telling time, days of the week, months of the year, etc. Most of it is pretty familiar to him already, but he's really enjoying it. It's been a nice change of pace from the addition and subtraction units that we've been doing lately, although he did enjoy those, too.
  • Handwriting: much more enjoyable than at the start of the year! Sam finished his handwriting book about a month ago or so, so I've been printing out some worksheets from this site for him to do to finish up the year. He really enjoys them. It also helps that we only do them twice a week. :)
  • Reading: we're making strides! Reading is going a whole lot better and this is the main area where I love looking back and seeing how far we've come. I would say it's still Sam's least favorite subject, but he is doing SO much better with it, and it's been exciting to see things starting to "click" a lot more. We are currently on lesson 102 in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. He's reading quite a few 5 and 6 letter words, and is doing a lot less stumbling/sound out every syllable and a lot more reading without stopping. Yay!
  • Other stuff: We're in the 4th and final workbook of the Developing the Early Learner series. Honestly, I'll be glad to see the end of these, but Sam still enjoys them. I know they have been helpful in many ways, but they're just not my favorite workbooks ever. :) A highlight of our school time continues to be "couch time," which is when we pile on the couch (or sometimes outside on the deck) to do our read-alouds. The kids really love this time, and so do I. The whole reading-aloud/literature based approach was what drew me to Sonlight in the first place, and it's been wonderful. I don't necessarily love every single book that we've read, but most of them have been great. We've skipped some stuff here and there, depending on the kids' interest, too. It's funny, some of the books that I thought they might not really get into that much have turned out to be some of their favorites. Old- fashioned books such as Uncle Wiggily, Milly-Molly-Mandy (they loved this one so much that I'm planning to get them the sequel sometime), and Brer Rabbit. Next week we will be reading some of Beatrix Potter's stories and I'm really looking forward to that--saving some of the best for last! :) We have also incorporated stories by Robert McCloskey (quite possibly my all-time-favorite children's author) and Virginia Lee Burton (Mike Mulligan, etc.), as well as many others. The kids just love to listen to these stories, and I am thrilled! Yes, it does take time to sit and read to them, but it's so worth it to build these memories, learn together, and hopefully instill a love of reading that will last for years to come. :)
As we finish up this school year, I've been thinking ahead to next year a lot. I am planning to stick with Sonlight (Core K--which I'm super excited about!!), Singapore Math, and A Reason for Handwriting. I'm planning at this point to use God's Design for Science (from Answers in Genesis) as our science curriculum, and am also hoping to use Writing with Ease as part of our language arts. We will continue with the Ordinary Parent's Guide through the summer, probably just a couple of days a week, and hopefully that way Sam won't lose any of his reading skills. :)

I guess that is a long enough update . . . how is everything going for the rest of you homeschoolers? I was also curious about how many of you take a summer break, and how many do school all year round with short breaks here and there? I have heard pros and cons to both--and for myself, I am really excited about having the summer off--but I am just wondering what works best for your families?


Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie,
It was fun to read about your schoolyear.:)We love homeschooling too.We school all year, mostly because it makes me feel not so guilty for taking days off during the school year.:)This year we got a new baby which made for some extra days off.I also love to use summer months to go on all those field trips we miss in the fall and winter.:)There seems to be an endless supply of free children days here and there and I love going places and doing stuff with my kids.~Nikki

mindee said...

You have done an amazing job! It is not easy to hs with young ones, and it must feel great to be in the home stretch!

We take summers off technically, but this summer, like you, I plan to continue with phonics/reading with my two younger kids, and work on writing and learning typing with my oldest. It will probably be a few times a week, and only 15-30 minutes or so per day.