We took a TWO WEEK winter break.
Don't judge me. It's my first year homeschooling, I get to be slightly bad, especially since we started in August. I could try to go all "unschooler" and claim that we read books (we did) and baked cookies, which counts as math (we did, but it doesn't), and went hiking and that's natural science, but I'm just going to own it and say we were on a break for two weeks.
Now it's time to get back to work, which is really exciting! I had some time over our break to evaluate what's working and what's not working about the way we've been doing school here at Casa di Kotlii. Here's what I've come up with.
We are kicking reading's booty. Riley has progressed beautifully and is currently working through Harry Potter Book 1, in addition to several age/level appropriate readers on various non-fiction topics. Logan is creeping ever closer to being done with TYCTR (In the 70s!) and enjoys sight word readers and Level 1 books. He's still very stuck on the way things look "different than my reading book", but is gaining comfort and confidence.
I love Singapore math and it continues to rock our world. Logan will transition from Kindergarten A to Kindergarten B this week, just on schedule. I plan to start Savannah on Kindergarten A next September because it's actually very low-level for what Logan can do, and I think she'll be ready for it. Riley already moved from 1B to 2A and is doing a great job plugging along. We're going to work on adding some fun math games the boys can do together. I'll report back on the success of the ones we ordered for Christmas as we try them out!
Logan is going to start All About Spelling this week. Riley is far enough ahead now that I feel we can dive in, and Logan is ready. AAS is really below Riley's level as far as spelling words he could be having, but I picked it as a "reading recovery" tool and I attribute a great deal of his fluency and progress to learning the basic rules that he wasn't taught in school over the last 2 years learning to read. We're going to add in some "harder" words that follow whatever rule he's working on, in addition to continuing the AAS curriculum.
Riley continues work on cursive and Logan on printing. When Logan writes by himself, he does whatever he wants as far as letter formation, but if I call it handwriting, he's very diligent about the formation of his letters and starting and ending in the correct place. Riley enjoys cursive and feels very grown up about using it. Austin blessed me greatly with a new printer/scanner/copier in November, and I am super excited to be printing our handwriting trace sheets instead of feeling like a dork with a marker. I'm using this website, which will generate worksheets with whatever text you want for free. Bonus.
Initially the idea was that we would use supplementary books from the library for science, but I haven't been happy with that approach since it's very hit or miss on the level (too high/too low) and quality. Additionally, I really enjoy having a textbook so that I can look at it and see we've progressed. Riley really also needs to be doing a great deal more writing than he's currently doing, and having end of the chapter questions will be good for that. We're going to try out this as a text for our Chemistry unit, in addition to our memory work on the Periodic Table, which we'll supplement with The Periodic Table in Pictures and this website's quizzes, and we'll make a periodic table for the wall for review with sticky notes, as well as a model of dihydrogen oxide (yup, water for dorks) out of styrofoam and wire. The plan is to introduce the scientific method and do a few experiments that the kids write up. I've ordered a wipe-off poster with the different parts of the S.M. for them to fill in and present with. We're also hosting 1 "Science Club" a month, Lord help me, because I didn't want to drive Logan an hour away for the nearest science club in his age group. We've had a great response from our CC friends and will be using a book I found at the library (but can't find online) called Science for the Seasons: Holiday Experiments and Projects.
We're going to keep chugging along! We may try a review lapbook, but basically, more reading, more story of the world. More field trips (!) and just generally being awesome.
I actually downloaded a lapbook for review here. I'm hopeful that will help with our memorization!! Adding sign language was definitely a help, too!
We're starting another fine art segment, this time focusing on famous artists. We'll be attempting some painting, coloring, etc.
I've put in a call about piano lessons for the boys.....apparently I don't love myself.
Logan will continue hockey. He LOVES hockey. Savannah is beginning skating lessons, too, and is asking about gymnastics. All 3 continue to skate. Riley is on an off season right now as no winter sports appealed to him, but he keeps busy riding his bike. I want to look into the homeschool swim team for next cycle as well as FISH soccer, which are both weekday and very affordable. They'll still be able to be on outside sports teams, too. Riley plans to play lacrosse in the spring with his friend.
I put off foreign language until we were more established, but I've now gotten serious about Spanish for Riley (who wants to be a missionary like, yesterday) and German for Logan, who took to it in preschool.
More journaling, more story writing, going along with our IEW curriculum, which I still love and think is the best thing ever.
So- to sum up this insanely long and overly-complicated post:
1) I love everything I bought! Hooray for too much research and analysis!
2) I like textbooks!! Hooray for needing external validation!
3) My kids haven't gone stupid yet! Hooray for homeschooling!