Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unfolding a Homeschool Year

We finished our school year officially on April 1st.  We still have some 4H meetings and a few Fridays with our co-op left, but we don't have to count any more school days.  As I begin to put together portfolios for each of my kids to turn into the local school district, I can't help but reflect on the things we learned this year.

Jacob tackled algebra 1 and geometry this year.  From a previous post, you know that I was not happy with the curriculum I chose for him.  I have a feeling, though, that when he uses a different curriculum next year for Algebra 2 it will seem simple.  The problems in this year's curriculum were sometimes very difficult to figure out.  Hopefully there will be somebody out there who is willing to buy it when I put it on eBay.  ;-)

Nate loves math, so he didn't have much of a problem with it.  Paige says she hates math, but she is good at it...when she applies herself.  She began to learn how to multiply and divide this year.  Hopefully, the multiplication and division in 4th grade will come a little bit easier to her after she's had a summer to process it.

Science is an easy subject in our house.  All 3 kids LOVE science, and there always seems to be a science class at our co-op each year.  I taught a class about natural disasters to Jake and Nate's classes.  It was a fun class, but it backfired a bit when we started having strong thunderstorms this spring.  Moms were telling me how frightened their kids were when the thunderstorms started after what they had learned in class.  They were all afraid there was going to be a tornado.  Of course, it didn't help that we've had a few tornado watches and at least one touch down in the next county.

This semester I am teaching human anatomy to Paige's class.  We made the human body out of card stock which functions as a flap book.  As you build the body, beginning with the skeleton, you can easily teach about the body as it is put together.  Here is a link to the book on Amazon if you are interested in it: The Body Book: Easy-to-Make Hands-on Models That Teach.

Nate learned about Geology, and Paige learned about animals.  Jacob continued his learning of chemistry.  The kids had so much science through our co-op that I didn't have to do to much at home.  We participated in the science fair this year, too.

Spelling has been relatively easy over the years.  I don't use a spelling book.  I use the dictionary.  I will go through the dictionary and pick out words appropriate for the levels of each of my kids.  Jacob's list, since he is in 7th grade, is more of a vocabulary list.  He spells very well, so I concentrate more on the meaning of words.  Nate has some vocabulary, but he is not a natural speller.  So, I concentrate more on spelling.  In the beginning of the year, Paige did not spell well.  All of a sudden, it clicked with her, and she started spelling difficult words with ease.  So, I will challenge her by throwing in a few words that wouldn't normally be found in a third grade list.  I have them write the words out 2 or 3 times a day and also spend a day writing sentences using each of the words.  Every Thursday they have a test on the words they had for the week.

Tomorrow I will let you know what I chose to do for art and music this year.  I was not thrilled with the usual ideas for these two subjects, so I decided to loosely put together my own curriculum.  This is another thing that has spurred my love of writing.  Being able to research different topics and put what I have learned down on paper is something I thoroughly enjoy and then being able to pass that learning onto others is a bonus!