Friday, March 16, 2012

Homeschool: the End is Near!

I meant the end of the School Year.  Really, I did!

Actually, homeschool is picking back up (due to the move, we'd temporarily dropped Science - it's hard to do botany in the snow, anyway.  And a few other things had taken a slide).  But we're back on track.  I think.  Maybe.  it was a good day, so I'm feeling optimistic, as opposed to impatient and unappreciated.  The Princess will finish Math-U-See Delta in the next two weeks - I have to decide if we are going to switch to Teaching Textbooks (so she can do her math on the computer, and the computer will check it, instead of me) and what level she should do, if we change - I  printed out the fifth grade placement test, and looked it over.  It was everything she had covered already this year.  So I printed out the sixth grade test, too.  I think she actually knows much of that, too.  But the seventh grade test was mostly stuff she hasn't learned yet.  Considering she's a fourth grader, I'm fine with that.  Or, we could stick with Math-U-See, which has worked for us so far (the Pirate wants to stay with Math-U-See, because even though she hates to write her answers down, she hates using the computer to do it even more.  Neo-Luddite in the making.  Anyway, the Pirate will do MUS Delta starting in August, because she won't finish Gamma until the end of June at her current rate.  Sigh.)

We're on track to finish Tapestry of Grace Year One (Ancient History) in the middle of June.  Then we'll take a summer break, until the beginning of August, when we'll start Tapestry of Grace Year Two (Middle Ages to colonization of the Americas).  I'm not thrilled with cramming that much into one year.  I would prefer to do it in two.  But on this four year cycle, we'll cover it two more times, so I can still mess with it.  I really liked TOG's first year - at some point I should critique it here, but if anyone out there is interested right now, you can just go to and check it out.

I have to decide whether or not we are going to do Institute for Excellence in Writing with the co-op in the fall, too.  That would be a drive, but only every other week.  The Princess needs a writing program.  Self-expression does not come easily for her, (unlike the Pirate, for whom a constant monologue of self-expression is seemingly as necessary as breathing).  The Pirate seems to have finally gotten over the hump as far as reading goes.  I'll let her attend continue to attend Sylvan until they go on their summer schedule.  Then we are DONE WITH THAT.  She has realized that reading adds to her great store of stories with which to entertain herself (and entertain or annoy everyone around her).  It's good to catch her reading on her own, and to have her come and say "Look what I wrote in my book!  I'll read it to you!"  Spelling words that do not follow the rules still offends her greatly, but she is willing to correct her words now, rather than simply throwing a temper tantrum, and her pen and paper.

We have two chapters left in the Botany text, which is four weeks of work.  That will take longer, though, since I had to skip some experiments in earlier chapters due to weather/season constraints.  We're going back to do those, now that we have a chance of finding some ferns in the yard.  It's okay - they'll get some real experiences when I give them each a block of the garden to plant and weed and harvest.  Then we'll do Dangerous Science experiments (just because we can), until we start next year's Science text which is from the same Exploring Creation Young Explorer Series - This time Zoology 1 - Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.  I thought that was timely, since we'll be getting chickens in June.  I admit to having a few issues with the Young Explorer Series.  The section on bees in the botany book was poor, and contained errors.  Needless to say, I corrected the mistakes in the text.  And the sloppy thinking evidenced in some of the young earth "proofs" is irritating.  I skipped those.  And while the kids really enjoy the conversational tone of the text, I'd like the grammar to be cleaner.  Since I've been reading it aloud, I usually just fix it myself as I go along, so it's tolerable for now.  The experiments are well though out, and the girls particularly enjoyed them.  I liked the handwriting exercises, since I didn't start another handwriting curriculum with them when they finished the last one.  The notebooks were sometimes a hit (anytime they got to glue plant parts into them) and sometimes a hassle (anytime the plant parts fell out).  I would definitely buy the notebooks again, though, simply for the ease of having everything right there, ready to go, when we need it.

I found some other cool things - word problem a day, creative thinking, logic, etc., that I'll have to investigate further for next year.  But at least I know what I'll be doing for History, Bible, Art, Science.  Probably.  Ha.

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