Our Family

Our Family

Monday, January 1, 2018

Homeschool Goals for the Spring Semester

It is cold here in Arkansas! As I sit here this morning it feels like 7 outside!  And I just came in from checking on and feeding all of the outside animals.  My face still feels numb.  We are just not used to that kind of cold around here.  So I'm thankful to be able to sit in front of this for awhile.

Yesterday we woke up to this, but it didn't last long and definitely wasn't enough to build a snowman.

Saturday my girls wanted to have a tea party.  We watched the Felicity American Girl movie and in the movie Felicity is having lessons on how to be a proper young lady and serving tea is one of those lessons.  The girls requested lumps of sugar for their tea party so it would be more authentic and they wanted to make cookies and have little sandwiches.  They got my china tea pot, sugar bowl. and creamer out of the cabinet. Chelsea and the baby were at the house and Chelsea helped get everything ready for the tea party and served the tea for the girls.  It was really sweet.

This is the time of year when I start making final plans for the spring semester.  I look at where each of the children are and decide what changes need to be made for each individual and what changes need to be made for the family.  This school year has brought a lot of changes for our family.  Nick started taking a class at the public school so he will be eligible to play on the soccer team this spring.  That of course affected all of us.  We spent a lot more time out of the house and running back and forth to town.  It was a very good experience for Nick.  He enjoyed the robotics class and competing in both competitions.  This semester he is taking track.  It is a 4th block class and he will have to be in town by 1:25 every afternoon.  We will have to make some changes to our schedule to have him there each day for the month of January.  After that he will be eligible to take the skills portion of the driver test and if all goes well be able to start transporting himself.  Until then January will be a bit chaotic.

There are several things I would like to change for the spring semester.  The first one is art.  We love doing art and art projects but last semester only managed to do one the entire semester.  That needs to come back.  P.E. is another thing I have been slacking on.  It was fine when we were walking, running, skating, in the park in the mornings but when we got to Nov/Dec we stopped doing those things and had no P.E.  I need the exercise just as much (sometime more) then the children so that needs to come back as well.  Nature Studies are another thing I would like to start doing again. 

Now for each of the children.

Emmie is  6.  She is doing really well with her reading and math.  She enjoys doing All About Reading and playing Reading Eggs on my iPad.  She participates in our Bible, poetry, and geography lessons and somewhat in history and science.  One thing that I would like to do for her in the next semester is to add some kind of hands on project each week geared towards her age that the others can participate in if they want to.  So often little ones tag along with older siblings which is fine, but they also need some things at their level too and I feel like I have been missing that with Emmie. I have been looking at the Adventures with Books section on SchoolhouseTeachers.com and I think that may be a good place to start to add some fun things in for her.

Lily is 8 and gets frustrated with math.  She wants to be able to look at every new concept and immediately understand it and when she can't she gets frustrated.  But overall she is doing well in math.  She has started multiplication and division and is understanding those concepts well now that she has had some practice.  Telling time still causes her some trouble.  Reading is amazingly easy for her.  I still have her going through All About Reading Level 4 so I can hear her read aloud and make sure she understands how to pronounce the words and some of the concepts it teaches but she is moving through that level very quickly.  Lily participates in Bible, poetry, history, geography, and science with the boys.  She is learning to read and write in cursive.  Last semester she did very little language arts.  We are going to add in some daily grammar lessons also from SchoolhouseTeachers.  Lily loves her piano lessons and has started teaching Christian and Emmie how to play.

Christian is 10 and really struggles with math, specifically memorizing any kind of facts.  He understands the concepts of multiplication and division but just cannot immediately recall the facts.  We have tried flashcards, math drills, and two different things that put math facts to songs or stories and none of these have worked. So I have ordered a Master the Times Tables workbook from Math Mammoth that he will use alongside MLFLE.  Hoping it will help. Christian is a wonderful reader and speller and loves science and history.  I would also like to get back to the Thinking Like an Engineer lessons that we reviewed last semester.

Anthony 12 struggles in spelling.   I don't think it is something that will ever come easy to him but we continue to plug through the AAS lessons and I do see some improvements.  He loves to read and loves science.  He still gets the Tinker Crates every month to work on.  I would like to get him back into the Innovator's Tribe Thinking Like an Engineer lessons and also working more regularly on coding from the Codakid Minecraft that he works on occasionally.

Alex is 14.  He is using Monarch from AOP this year.  It has it's pluses and minuses like everything else but I'm not sure that I would buy it again.  At least not the entire curriculum.  After a bumpy start to the year he is doing better managing his time and getting his work done.  Rather then have him work on the assigned Bible lessons, he does a family lesson with the rest of us.  One of my biggest struggles with the curriculum is that I have never taught to pass a test or quiz and this curriculum focuses heavily on quizzes and tests.  You basically read the section and answer questions and every so many lessons take a quiz. I can unassign quizzes, tests, or anything else if I choose but its harder to tell if he is actually retaining anything.  Alex struggled and struggled with the math most of the semester.  It requires a lot of reading to learn the concept and that is not how he learns best.  Most of the questions are multiple choice and he was guessing he way through them.  One day he would score well the next day he would score terrible.  For awhile I did some supplemental worksheets from Super Teachers but then he went back to his lessons and had the same issues.  Right before the end of the semester I switched him to UnLock Math that we reviewed a few months ago.  He said he didn't like it but the truth is he may not like it but he does understand it much better.  So that is what he will be using and only using the Language Arts (which I really do like), History, and Science from Monarch.  Alex is no longer taking guitar lessons.  I do not want to battle him over them any more.  He says he wants to learn to play still, he just does not want lessons.  I hope he does keep playing on his own.

Nick is 10th grade.  Before the start of the school year he had 7 high school credits.  Last semester he earned 1 credit in Robotics from his class at the school.  In MUS Algebra 2 he has completed 16 out of 31 lessons and will earn 1 credit when he finishes it in the spring.  He has completed 6 out of 16 modules in Marine Biology and will earn one credit when he completes it (hopefully by spring.)  In Health he has completed 14 out of 16 chapters and will earn .5 credit when he finishes that in January.  In History and Bible he has completed 42 out of 150 lessons and will earn 1 credit in World History and .5 credit in Bible when he finishes that in the spring (or summer if he doesn't catch up.)  World Literature he has some work to do.  He has 8 books to read to earn his credit: The Art of War, Julius Caesar, The Imitation of Christ, A Tale of 2 Cities, The Hiding Place, Animal Farm, Bridge to the Sun,  and The Abolition of Man.  In the spring he will earn 1 credit for taking track at the school.  He will also be using ARTistic Pursuits High School Book One for .5 credit in art.

It's going to be a great spring semester!
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