Saturday, February 23, 2008

Week 19 - Taking stock of progress

So we managed to get through a full week of lessons this week, even though we were almost derailed again. Dh sprained his back and got a nasty bronchial cold. He stayed home almost 4 days - which always makes it hard to concentrate on lessons. It's helpful to remember to be intentional! I'm also learning to be flexible (those who know me - go ahead and chuckle, but it's the truth!). I'm not perturbed when we don't complete a lesson in the amount of time it should take or if lessons have to get done in the afternoon instead, or if Jefferson wants to choose which lessons to complete first. I am trying to teach him to start taking responsibility for his own progress by helping him to choose how to order his day and reminding him how getting things done early means more personal time later in the day. One thing along these lines that helps this and that he likes, is pulling out his own assignments from his daily hanging folders. It makes him feel good to see his progress as those papers get completed and moved into the 'Completed Work' folder. Amazing how something so simple could help me organize and could motivate him!

I decided to take time to take stock of our progress since we are halfway through the year. It turns out that we are 2 weeks behind (overall) where I'd planned for us to be at this point. One week given the Lincoln's hospital trip/stress and one to Jefferson's sprain/dh back sprain. This is not too bad were it not for having to take off FOUR weeks last Oct/Nov for Lincoln's birth. Note to self: plan babies to arrive in the summer! *tehehe* (B.t.w. - there are no more "plans" for babies so I guess that shoots that note!) Furthurmore, we somehow ended up 4 weeks behind in math as well as science! Science we didn't even start until after the baby came, but how we got so far behind in math, I have no idea. But I guess that's the beauty of homeschooling, huh? I am trying to keep my perspective as I start to plan for 2nd grade and starting Reagan in Kindergarten (officially w/ daily lessons). I will NOT let the enemy convince me that I am not doing enough or that I'm failing my children is things don't go perfectly - we live under the grace of God!

We've gone as far as we can in Phonics Pathways and Jefferson is now reading reader levels 2 and 3. I am pleased but am not sure I should have given up the Christ Centered Curriculum that we used last year. I have been looking at it recently as I think about where to begin Reagan and I am seeing (hindsight is so clear, huh?) that it would have covered phonics, penmanship, grammar, and spelling (not to mention copywork and great spiritual lessons). I think that I just didn't have a good enough concept of the classical model of homeschooling to realize that this would fit well into our trivium plans.

So for now, we are reviewing lessons from Spelling Workout A on which I think Jefferson needs reinforcement (these take him not even 5 minutes since he can now read) and also doing the workbook portion of CCC B:1 of the same phonics/spelling rule (this takes us 10 minutes). I'm still not sure if we will be continuing on into SWB - I just haven't liked it so much.

For 2nd grade, I may look into something like Adventures in Phonics from Christian Liberty Press or possibly Association of Christian Schools International's (ACSI) Spelling Workbooks (on the CCC website - I usually like their recommendations but this isn't looking like my first choice) ,or A Reason for Spelling, Level B, but I'm not yet sure. Any comments would be appreciated!

I've tried reading 'The Children's Homer' to Jefferson but I'm struggling to motivate myself since it is so difficult for him to follow. It was the same thing with 'Jason and the Argonouts' but he ended up learning a great deal even though I had to stop every page to explain what was happening. Even I can hardly keep all those gods, goddesses, names, and creatures straight! I'm thinking that we'll skip this for something that will be easier for him to grasp at this point, especially since he got a good dose of ancient greece (with lots of vocabulary and coloring activities) when we read 'Jason' while waiting for our SOTW to arrive in September.

Right now dh is reading him 'Prince Caspian' - as I'm sure many kids are reading in preparation for the next C.S.Lewis movie in May! He is so excited and is counting down the chapters (as if that will make the movie arrive sooner!).

Still moving steadily through FLL. Soooo glad to finally move from nouns to pronouns! And Jefferson was glad to realize what he has learned so far. His memory work is good but I think I need a new method to keep the pieces/verses in front of us so that we can remember to recite them more often. I'm thinking of using an index card system since that's what we'll be using for our Bible verses (from Charlotte Mason memory verse list). Still haven't implemented the use of the MP3 player that we have.... want to though. He really like technogadgets like his geeky daddy!

Also - got the 'Language Lessons for the Very Young' (by Sandi Queen) in the mail. We may or may not use this for 2nd grade. I like pictures and the subject matter but I'm still thinking this choice over.

Just got 2 new copywork books in the mail from Queen Homeschool Supplies. They are consumable and strangely formatted (just ask Jessica at Trivium!) but I will have Jefferson use his own lined paper. This way I'm not scrambling for copywork each week and I can use them again in the future. Jefferson likes this type of work because he finds it easy - that seems to encourage him! He is also copying from History Scribe and FLL each week.

According to my plan for the year, we are FOUR weeks behind in math. Maybe I didn't schedule it right, but I'm not concerned since I have plenty of time left in May and June to complete this year's book. Jefferson is completing lessons on time and with good comprehension - I've only had to repeat 2 lessons so far. Again, we are probably behind others at this point but I am seeing that he is understanding concepts and building a good foundation. He also says that it's his favorite subject! I do a little 'Yippee!' dance when I hear this, as I always struggled in this area and really want him to enjoy it.

Moving along, even if behind, in SOTW 1. Jefferson likes the topics but doesn't seem to like the narration. I'm wondering if I'm approaching narration incorrectly if he doesn't like it or if it's just something that he needs more practice doing so that it's not as difficult for him?
Pretty much decided to use Tapestry of Grace next year. I'm getting excited to buy it now that I've settled on it! I figure that with four kids, I'll want to teach them all at the same time and I'll enjoy the flexibility it offers in how deep we dealve. I LOVE the biblical aspect of it and feel like it will make history have more continuity for us. As I look at the samples and website, I've found so many reasons to use it!
Still no timeline started! Yikes! I really need to do this since I know that Jefferson learned so well from visuals. I think that his timeline book will be something that he is proud of as he builds onto it. Just got to get it started before we get too far along here!

We briefly discussed Butterflies and Moths this week. So many nice ones to look at! We have the butterfly habitat but I told Jefferson we'd have to wait for spring to do it. I'll post his narration sheet later. We are behind here since I didn't get this subject planned out until October anyway. Not too concerned though.
As far as 2nd grade, I haven't thought about a plan yet. Maybe I'll skip around your blogs to see what you all thought worked best. Let you know.

And so, if you are still alive and breathing after all that, I'm thankful if I ever see you at this site again! The reports are lengthy but they give me a good feel for what we've accomplished. And I'm hoping that the links will be informative for others who are searching around for similar info. No time to post pics this week - I barely got this typed up. Maybe I'll liven it up with some pics later (in all my free time - *snortsnort*!)....


Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

I'd say that's a pretty successful week for being derailed! I'm with ya on learning the flexibility thing - it doesn't come naturally to me, but if we don't bend, we'll break, right?
I'm glad you mentioned Prince Caspian - it's time to pull it out again. I don't think M (8) remembers much from the last time around and A (3) has never heard it!
Have a good week!

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

free time? What's that? :)

Sharon said...

Hi Andrea,
I loved your comment "we live under the grace of God!" - I have needed this for the last week or two. We have been way too busy since Josh turned 5 two weeks ago. His penmanship this week has been thankyou letters to friends and family and I had to write them all out for him to trace on the weekend - it took ages, but it's been worth it to be able to just pull out a sheet and say, "let's read this together and then you can trace it".

On another note, I use the index card system from Simply Charlotte Mason also and it is really great. At the moment we just use it for memory verses (and related Circle Time memory work like the Lord's prayer) but I am sorely tempted to start another index file for the other academic areas. Somehow, we just don't get around to them if they're not in the box. And when they are in the box, it doesn't matter if we miss a few days, we just jump back in where we're up to and it all evens out in the end.

I hope this week improves health-wise.

~Sharon at Equip Academy

Jennefer said...

What a great report. :) I just wanted to leave you 2 links to spelling programs you might want to look at:

Simply Spelling (This is what Jessica at TA is using)

Spelling Wisdom (This is what Darcy at LWM3B is using)

I love different things about both of them so I haven't decided which one we will use. We started SWO B this week after 3 years of ETC. It is okay for now but I doubt we'll continue next year. We'll see.

I love both of these spelling programs because they use great literary quotes to teach spelling in a more meaningful way! They are both CM products but dovetail nicely with the Classical model as well.

Have a great week and I hope your dh is feeling better soon!