Simply Homeschool…Winding down and looking ahead…

This is an interesting time of year as a homeschool mom.  While we are winding down the year, and I want to enjoy the slower pace, I am at the same time, looking ahead to next year’s plans.  It’s at this time I look back and think have we done enough?  What did we accomplish?  So I began writing it all out.
We’ve had good days and bad day…days where I want to scream (and DO!), and days where we’ve laughed all day….days where I feel like crying, and days where I’ve prayed all day to get through…But through it all, the Lord has been there.  And when I look back, I see that they have learned..and not just “book” stuff, but “real” stuff.  They are growing into the people God has intended…

Here is a look back on what we have done this year-
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the main topics covered.

MATH: Both boys are already on Lesson 8 of their Math U See curriculum for next year!  I plan on having them just continue with the Math books over the summer, at least a few days each week. This way there is no need for review in the fall, and they should be on the next grade level mid-year.  So they are well ahead of the game in Math.

Grace is almost finished with her Math for this year, and then she will start next year’s book as well.

LANGUAGE ARTS: Luke completed a level in SpellWell, as did Grace.  Now Luke is doing Spelling practice based on words he misses in copywork.  Grace does the same.  Luke started cursive practice, and Grace is improving on her cursive. John is working through his first grade handwriting book.
WRITING- We do various writing prompts, journal writing, Grace learned about research papers, newspaper writing, all the kids learned about poetry and wrote their own poetry. We wrote letters (Luke even got one back from the White House!) Grace completed an essay for ENOCH’s Essay Contest.  We covered basic grammar, did lots of copywork- almost everyday.
John has learned to read, Luke has progressed into more difficult chapter books, and Grace has become a voracious reader.  She has read everything from The Chronicles of Narnia, to Little Women, to lots of “fun” books, to Swiss Family Robinson. She loves reading.
We’ve read various literature together.  Right now we are reading Mountain Born together and relating it to the Bible.  It is a wonderful story about a family who raises sheep and about the relationship between the shepherd and his flock.  So many wonderful discussions have been brought about from this book!

HISTORY: We are still using Truth Quests Guide to American History. We studied the War of 1812, the burning of Washington D.C., The Battle Of Baltimore, Dolly Madison, The Industrial Revolution, and some famous inventors.  I think our favorite lesson was The Battle of Baltimore and learning about the Star Spangled Banner. We are moving into the Pioneers and just learned about church revival in America at this time.  I like learning History in chronological order and taking it nice and slow.  We learn more in depth than most traditional textbooks would teach.

SCIENCE:  We used Apologia’s Human Anatomy and Physiology this year.  We learned all about the human body from the skeletal and muscular system, to the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system.  We learned about nutrition and the senses. It’s been a very in depth program and at times I felt a bit over the heads of the kids, even Grace. Yet they enjoyed it. We completed the notebooks that went along with the regular book, and John worked on the Junior Notebook.
Grace and Luke also put together a Power Point presentation for me based on the circulatory system.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE: Still loving Rosetta Stone Spanish, and looking into what to use next.

GEOGRAPHY: We’ve memorized all 50 states and capitals.  Grace can locate most of the states on the map.  We’ve reviewed all of the continent, oceans, and geographical terms.  The kids can all read a map, use a map scale, understand latitude and longitude, and and know different types of maps.  We try to incorporate Geography into all areas, for example, if we are reading about a story that takes place in a certain country or state, we locate it on the map.

We’ve made many trips to the library this year.  All of the kids understand how to find books using the library computer system and the Dewy Decimal system.  They know the reference section of the library, and the basics of how to use the information there.

Luke and Grace practice computer art on the computer.  Luke also practices his regular drawing almost daily.  Grace is also taking guitar and violin lessons and practices daily.

We’ve learned several hymns this year, working them everyday during Bible time. From the old hymns, to children’s Bible songs, it has been really fun to see the kids singing God’s Word each day.

It would be impossible to list all of the various life lessons learned along the way, but there have been many. From basic chores around the house, to cooking, to helping Dad do repairs, to even building a wheelchair ramp, to the many, many discussions that arise during the day about all kinds of topics, ie. earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, terrorism, weather patterns, birds, constellations, royal weddings, etc. etc.!

We’ve also done nature days, listened to various classical composers, and looked at early American Art.

Overall it has been a good year. I am looking forward to taking a break this summer, yet continuing math and reading.  We just won’t have a formal schedule.  I have always admired the idea of year ’round homeschooling and taking more breaks during the year, but for me there is just something about taking a break in summer that is much needed.  We also will do some field trips. By September we will all be yearning for structure again and will have regained excitement to start a new year!

The next post will be on all of the plans I am working on for next year! Be sure to check back and please share your ideas for how you are winding down and planning ahead too!

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