Friday, November 6, 2009

Flexibility is the Word. . .

. . . for our first quarter. We finish 1/4 of our school year today, and I am so pleased to write it has gone very smoothly, although we did change up a few things before reaching this point. You can read my original homeschool plan for the year here, here and here.

Karate Kid has done very well, thus far. She is truly enjoying Calculus and the Physics curriculum we chose for her and is doing amazingly well in both. Our co-op is providing some excellent enrichment classes for her as well. The high schoolers will finish up their 2000 years of Church History this year, they are taking a very hands-on rocketry science/engineering class, and they are hard at work on a script for the movie they hope to film this coming spring.

Stat Boy is settling into high school and after a couple little hiccups has gotten the routine down. Wingnut made it a requirement for Stat Boy to show ALL of his work in Algebra II, something I'd been trying to get the boy to do for years, but had had little to no success. Sometimes the order has to come from the principal. The boy is incredibly bright and would do all of his calculations in his head, but if he made tiny errors they would carry and his final answer would then be completely wrong. Writing out his work makes him slow down and work more carefully. We also showed him we can actually give him partial credit for understanding a concept even if the answer is wrong due to small errors. Physical Science began as a challenge for Stat Boy. Kolbe Academy's material is not for the faint of heart, but Wingnut showed Stat Boy a wonderful little flashcard program on the computer, and he's been diligently putting important information for studying into that program ever since. He earned an A on his first exam. What a relief!

Oleander had complained and scoffed at my plan for her for science all summer. She felt using the same science curriculum as her little sisters was beneath her, even though I assured her I would add assignments and expect more from her than her younger sisters. I finally just listened to her and purchased the third book in the Concepts and Challenges series from Emmanuel Books. She is so much happier and doing very well.

Skoshi A has gone with the flow and seems pretty happy with the material she has. She seems to have crossed a threshold in math and is understanding the concepts much better this year. Hooray! Now if we could just do the same with spelling.

Special K begged to begin spelling this year. I haven't the slightest idea why she thought spelling was so much fun, but I went ahead and tested her for readiness, even though the program I use recommends waiting until third grade to begin formal spelling lessons. She tested into the entry level and so we went ahead and added it to her lesson plan. The sweet little thing thinks she should be spelling every word I give her perfectly. I've had a devil of a time trying to get her to understand that she is supposed to be learning to spell and it will take her time to learn words she has never written before. For the first couple weeks our lessons ended with her in tears over missing one or two words. At this point, she is now allowing herself to miss a couple here and there, but I don't think she believes spelling is all that much fun any more. Special K has also made significant progress in reading. She is reading at or above her grade level for the first time. She's even reading on her own just for the enjoyment of it. I love homeschooling!

Another adaptation we had to make was in our history study. We are working our way through ancient world history and I had planned on doing that chronologically. Co-op had other plans. We decided we'd tackle Ancient Greece in the classes for both Oleander and Skoshi A. At home we began with Mesopotamia and then decided we'd head to Greece before Egypt so that our studies at home would be supplemented at the same time with studies in co-op.

If/when you study Ancient Greece, I recommend a very well done video we watched in co-op about ancient Greek weaponry. The History Channel's video Ancient Greece- Weapons of Mass Destruction was a huge hit with the 5th-8th graders. My two high schoolers watched it as well and thought it was incredibly well done, informative, and just what battle junkies love. There are a couple scenes that may be disturbing to younger children, so you might want to preview before showing it to your family.

Lil' Wingnut is much more manageable this year. He entertains himself with drawing on the white board, coloring in his giant Thomas coloring book, or playing educational games on the computer, especially Starfall. The lil' guy is smart as a whip. He's learned to tell digital time, read the compass, and has begun sounding out and reading a few words. Homeschooling him should either be a breeze or an adventure.

We've a great start on the year. Praise the Lord!
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