Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This Year's Homeschool Wrap-Up

We had probably the most productive homeschool year in several years.  It is nice to reach the end of the school year and feel completely satisfied with most everything we endeavored.   I found some great new curriculum through The Well Trained Mind and Peace Hill Press that will become mainstays, just as Saxon Math and Kolbe Academy High School Science curriculum have been rock-solid-go-to-programs for us.

Wingnut Jr. completed nearly all 3rd grade material this year and advances on to 4th grade.  He has proven to be a bit unfocused, but I'm thinking that has more to do with him being a boy than inability to memorize the times tables.  He's perfectly capable, but keeping him on task proved to be a bit of a challenge.  We'll be continuing to work math facts throughout the summer a few days a week and I'm sure he'll be right on track to begin the new school year.  He absolutely loved Art Fridays as well as all the hands on science experiments we did.

Special K continued to struggle with math concepts and spelling proficiency.  Thankfully, Saxon has a built in review year for 7th grade before moving on to pre-algebra.  I purchased the Saxon 8/7 book years ago, but have yet to use it.  I think the continued practice and review will get her right where she needs to be by the end of next school year.  I did see a marked improvement in her spelling which we believe correlates pretty closely to her much improved reading fluency.  She hadn't been a big reader until this year and I can see drastic improvement in the difficulty and length of material she chooses to read now as opposed to the beginning of the year.  She's very bright, but possibly a bit of an academic late bloomer.  A perfect case to show the beauty and efficacy of homeschooling, no?

Skoshi A plowed through her first year of high school with great speed, but not as much care as we would like.  She excelled in history and language arts/literature, but was not nearly as diligent in her science and mathematics work.  She showed herself to be perfectly capable when the work was discussed with Wingnut, but she has always been a rusher, and with the level of work we expect of our high schoolers, rushing is not going to cut it in the end.  Our goal next year will be to get her to slow down and double check her work.  Quality not quantity is what we need to see.  I believe she is definitely up for the challenge.

Our one shortcoming was we did not get as far in US history as I had hoped we would.  The original plan had us completing a full course of US history by the end of the year.  We barely made it to the Civil War.  Fortunately, our slow progress had more to do with how much interest we ended up having in US history which led to deeper exploration of people, places, and events over the course of the year.  Another perfect case demonstrating the beauty of homeschooling.  We can slow down and spend more time on topics that interest us and not worry about finishing within a limited time frame.  We will pick up right where we left off next year.  I highly recommend This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall as a resource for studying US history from early exploration through the beginning of The Great War (World War I).  We read it aloud throughout the year and thoroughly enjoyed the narrative style.

I've not yet begun hard core planning for the next school year.  I do know I will be looking for a grammar program for Special K that I will love as much as I loved Peace Hill Press First Language Lessons.  She completed the fourth book, and as yet there isn't a fifth.  I'm open for suggestions in this regard.  I'm looking for a program that teaches and explores the traditional eight parts of speech and doesn't include a lot of busy work or excessive writing. Print Friendly and PDF

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