24 May 2013

Wrapping up the 2012-2013 Homeschool Year


I can't believe how fast this year has gone by!  Looking back over it all, it has been a really great year with lots of positive strides and so much learning.  I'm really proud of what my kiddos have accomplished this year.  It's amazing to think that they have completed 2nd and 4th grades and we're now beginning our 6th year of homeschooling (well, longer than that if you count preschool, right?).  Fifth and Third grades, here we come!

I was looking over my post from the beginning of the year about our curriculum for this year and seeing what had stuck/changed/been modified.  That's always interesting to do!  And it turns out that we stuck fairly close to the plan with just a few changes.

In our Biblical studies, we ended up not using God's Great Covenant this year.  I still love it and I haven't ruled it out for the future, but the format just wasn't working for us this year.  So we continued with reading through The Bible Story series and using We Choose Virtues character training.  We also tried out a freebie lesson or two with Grapevine Studies ("stick-figuring through the Bible") and really liked it.  I am considering ordering it for this fall.

Language Arts stayed according to plan this year.  The Princess continued using Total Language Plus, reading through The Whipping Boy, Pippi Longstocking, and The Cricket in Times Square.  We have really enjoyed using TLP, however I plan to make a switch this next year to help give her a better grammatical foundation.  I love that each lesson in TLP includes vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, writing, and a little grammar.  The grammar part is very concentrated on one thing per unit though (for example: one unit will focus on prepositions, another will focus on adverbs and adjectives, etc.).  And because the curriculum we used when The Princess was in first and second grade didn't get into parts of speech at all, she unfortunately didn't get what I feel like is a solid foundation in that (she was my first child to homeschool and thus got more trial and error).  While I still plan to use TLP some along with our regular studies, I am going to switch to something that will give her a better grammatical understanding.    

Mr. B did so well this year with First Language Lessons.  This was his second year with this curriculum and I love it--I so wish I had discovered this when The Princess was first starting school.  It give such a good foundation and the way the lessons are planned they really help the student retain what they are learning.  Mr. B also read through two different readers among other books and has made amazing strides in his reading skills this year.  I'm so proud of him!

Both kiddos each completed another book of handwriting practice with Getty-Dubay books.  I love their handwriting program, it has worked very well with my kiddos.  We've used it from the beginning and will continue to do so.

Math was a bit more painful at times this year.  This was our second year to use Singapore Math.  I originally switched to Singapore because it has much shorter lessons (less worksheets/busywork) and that was exactly what we needed at the time.  However, it does move more quickly and is slightly more advanced than other math programs and after the first semester this year The Princess began to struggle some.  She just needed more time to learn all of the new concepts they were giving her and more practice at them.  Because of this I have decided to switch this next year to Teaching Textbooks for her.  I think it will be better-paced for her and may be able to explain concepts better than I can.

Mr. B is still doing very well with Singapore and I plan to continue to use it for him.  Each child is so different in their learning styles and I am very grateful for the liberty that homeschooling gives us to be able to adjust curriculum to better suit each learning style.

We really enjoyed science again this year--we love Apologia!  This was our third year to use their elementary science program and it was fascinating as always.  We studied Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Zoology I and learned SO much!!  I was just as intrigued as the kiddos:)  We will be sticking with Apologia for next year as well although I don't know if we will do the journal next year or not.  The journaling activities seem to just get moans and groans from my kids.  I'm thinking we will focus more on the extra activities included in the book--letting go of the journaling will give us more time for that and they kiddos will enjoy it more.

History is always a favorite subject at our house!  We are in our third year of using Story of the World and are in Volume III.  We haven't actually completed this volume yet but are continuing to read through it over the summer.  Last fall we took a detour to do a unit study on the Pilgrims and got a bit behind in our regular studies.  It was worth the detour though--and was the perfect time of the year to do that unit study!  We love SOTW though and will move onto Volume IV in the fall.  In the past I have only used the Activity Book as an addition, but this fall I plan to also add in the test booklet.

In extracurricular studies we enjoyed all kinds of fun classes with our homeschool group's co-op: the Constitution, creative writing, muscles & fitness, art, music, elections, manner & etiquette, basketball, science fair, and more!  These studies, plus others that we've done at home, really help round out our year.  I can't imagine doing homeschooling without these!

And then there are field trips, of course, my favorite thing!  There are way too many to list them here, but you can check them out under "field trips" here on the blog.  We took a lot of great field trips this year!

In retrospect, it's been a very good year of learning.  And I don't want the learning to stop for the summer either.  Even though we don't technically school year-round, we are continuing history and I've already given the kids a heads-up that we'll be keeping up our math skills over the summer, too.

How has your year been?  Are you finished for the summer or do you school year-round?  


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5 comments:

Meghan Carver said...

A great year-end evaluation, Lora. LOVE the picture of the kiddos reading!

Lora @ my blessed life said...

Meghan Carver,

Thank you! And thanks for dropping by today :)

Renee said...

Looks like you had a successful year. It is good to look back and see what worked and what didn't. Helps to know how to proceed for the coming year. Have a good summer.
I found you on ihomeschool network Mother's Journal. :)

Anonymous said...

We finished yesterday with 2nd and Kinder. It was a good year. Sometimes I struggle feeling like we could have done better but overall it was a good year. We are taking a break for the summer but we too will be working on a few things.
--Gayla

Kelly B said...

SOunds like a great year! So fun that we use many of the same materials;) Now onto summer;)