Well, we’ve managed to finish Week 4. There was no bloodshed and we had surprisingly few tears, sighs and whines (could this be the beginning of something really good?). Actually, I think I’ve hit upon the secret to solving (or at least minimizing) our off and on “bad attitude” issues. I’ll explain that in my next post. But first, a quick update on our progress.
Thing 1 (3rd Grade): Math—blazing along in Saxon 5/4 with a little Singapore on the side. I do believe I see smoke coming out of Thing 1’s ears on some of the Challenging Word Problems (okay, admittedly, I’m no math genius, but there was one today I couldn’t figure out—and we’re talking 3rd-4th grade stuff here! We both went, "hmm," and then pressed on). Anyhoo, she was nodding off in her chair with heavy complaints all week about being BORED with math, so we skipped ahead a bit. Personally, I’d like to do just a quick review of the multiplication/division facts and long division that we finished up with last year and then move on to something new. I have a love/hate relationship with Saxon. It works great for Thing 1 because she does well with the slow approach and constant review, and I like how easy it is to teach, but come on, does the whole first half of the book need to be review!!?? Snooze!
Language Arts—Still waiting on our spelling book to arrive; kept a list of misspells from her writing and tested on those. Writing Tales is a great fit for Thing 1, although I think we could have started with W-T 2, because writing is definitely her thing. We combine a few of the W-T lessons and try not to overkill on the grammar (we’re doing GWG 3 also). For her retelling of the Town/Country Mouse fable, Thing 1’s story starred a free-range chicken named Mack and a farm chicken named Bob. It was a hoot! Vocabulary—ditched Wordly Wise A for WW C. Will save A and B for Thing 2. Reading has bogged us down. The Sonlight readers seem to be all over the place skill-wise. We've been cruising through most of our books just fine, but we started Misty of Chintoteague this week. Thing 1 has had to read out loud to me most of it because there are so many things she just doesn’t have the maturity or background to comprehend (vocabulary and metaphors can eat her lunch at times). We had the same problem with The Whipping Boy last year. I’m trying to come up with a way to make this less painful. I want her to stretch, but I don’t want to frustrate her, either.
Thing 2 (2nd Grade): Math—Using Horizons, not Saxon 3, this go-around. It’s working well. We’re on lesson 20, and so far it’s still review, which is fine for now. Thing 2 fell victim to math fact amnesia over the summer, so we’ve spent a lot of time re-learning and memorizing facts. She does a lesson a day to keep up her other skills (regrouping, counting by 3s, 6s, etc.), but will remain hindered until she commits those facts to memory!
Language Arts—Spelling—Okay, this one caused me untold agony and angst over the summer. I really wanted to go with a phonogram program (as that is what we did last year). But I can’t bring myself to do SWR. I was thrilled to discover All About Spelling, but truly bummed when I realized Level 1 and 2 were too easy and 3 wouldn’t be available until fall/winter. Thankfully, DH told me to “get over it” and just go with something that the Things won’t hate and that will be easier on me, given the teacher-intensive nature of much of our other work. So Spelling Workout it is (for now). First Language Lessons is going well, although much of it is review because Thing 2 heard Thing 1 do it last year. It’s pretty painless. For reading (after we ditched Shadrach—see Misty and The Whipping Boy above), we’re doing the Little House in the Big Woods study from Phonics Road that Thing 1 did last year. Once again, much of it has to be read out loud to me for explanation of things about which Thing 2 has no knowledge. Both Things do lots of “fun” reading outside of the Sonlight books (Thing 1 just finished Matilda, again, and Thing 2 finished another Ramona book).
History—The Things are liking K12 history soooo much better than Story of the World that we did last year. As the two programs aren’t precisely aligned chronologically, we’ve been doing a lot of review. But that’s ok; we liked the Middle Ages. Thing 1 did a fabulous job on her narration the day I was too busy to read with them (she read the lesson to Thing 2). Independence is her thing, and we butt heads much less often when she can take the reins and ask for guidance as she needs it.
Science—Finished up weather--finally! (Tracking the weather in Texas is pretty dull—Yep, hot and sunny again.) Threw out the hygrometer we made in Week 2, skipped making the paper plate Beaufort Wind Scale, and passed on the construction of a barometer (K12 science, while fun for the Things, can feel pretty McGyver-esque. Every lesson starts with a list of materials that makes many homeschool moms cringe in craft-ing terror: drinking straw, clay, pencil eraser, straight pin, construction paper, hot glue, paper plate and a toothpick—ack!). We’ve moved on to vertebrates. After a lovely lesson on fish, I asked the Things if they’d like to get a real fish from the market and dissect it. The high-pitched squeals and faux barfing noises convinced me this would not be time well spent. Visited the San Diego Zoo online instead.
Art—I have tears in my eyes (sniff, sniff). One of the nice things about K12 is the coordination of the art lessons with the history lessons. After spending the last week of our history lessons discussing the various reasons why life was “unfun” in the Middle Ages, we moved on to the Middle Ages in our art lessons as well (what they painted, why they did it that way, the importance of the architecture, etc.). Thing 2 casually mentioned, “This seems a lot like history.” I wanted to cry, I was so happy! I then spent the next five minutes explaining how all the subjects (i.e., art, literature, math, science) are like pieces of a puzzle that fit together, and history is our jumping-off point, our glue, our framework for understanding culture and the reasons why people did, and wrote, and created the things that they did. I’m sure I used more age-appropriate language to explain this to them, but I was just thrilled to have the opportunity to do so!
Music—K12. Worked on beat and rhythm lessons. Spent all week singing the “earworm” songs on their music CD!
Spanish—La Clase Divertida Level 2. Worked on Lesson 3. Am trying to make sure the workbook gets done consistently. The Things made me replay the practice CD over and over on this one part they think is uproariously funny. Whatever.
So that’s about it for Week 4. It was a fairly productive week, I must say (for us, anyway). I’ll include my new “citizenship” system in my next post. I’m very pleased with our results!