Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week 11 in Review

I'm still pretty new to this blogging thing, even just reading blogs. The last couple of weeks I have stumbled upon a bunch of homeschooling blogs, and I've been staying up way too late reading them all! But one thing I've seen in these new-to-me blogs (as well as a couple I had already been reading) are weekly reviews. I imagine some people might not find weekly reviews as interesting to read as other posts (I myself really enjoy them), but I think the main benefits are having a record of what we have done and keeping myself accountable. Because of state law, I do have keep records of how many hours we homeschool (grumble), and I check things off in my planner as we complete them, but this is a much more interesting way to keep track of our progress. I don't plan to report on every single thing we do in the week -- just the highlights and struggles that will bring my record keeping to life when I look back on what we've done. So here we go, starting with week eleven!

Grace: After having taken a short break from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, we dove back in this week, completing Lessons 62-64 with great results. Previously she had been getting a little frustrated because the lessons seemed long and difficult (she really struggled with 'th'), so we did some review with some Christian Liberty Press early readers we had left-over from Anna's kindergarten days. It seems to have been a good strategy because she felt more competent this week and breezed through her lessons. Normally we would do 4 lessons in a week, but the next lesson starts long vowels, and I didn't want to start that right before our week-long break.

Ryne: I'm still amazed at Ryne's progress in math. We've nicknamed him Beta Boy because he loves his new level in MUS (although he's already asking when he can start Gamma). He completed Lesson 4 this week. So far I've been sticking with our typical one lesson per week, but he could have easily moved more quickly through these first four lessons. Even though he is "behind" in math I feel no rush to speed through these lessons just for the sake of catching up. He is enjoying math right now and is doing well, so I think we will continue at this pace for now. Perhaps he will really need the extra time once we progress in the book.

We continue to struggle with control in some areas. This is common with children on the autism spectrum, the desire to control their environment. Ryne expresses this need for control in peculiar ways and especially in his favorite subject, handwriting. For instance, he sometimes writes his numbers in cursive and always wants to connect punctuation marks to words.

Our RDI consultant said we need to put a stop to this, so I received some grumbling this week when I made him erase connected periods and commas.

Anna: It felt almost like the end of a school year for Anna this week. She finished her MUS Epsilon book, Latin for Children Primer A, and Mind Benders A3. Here she is with her Epsilon certificate of completion:

At the end of the LFC A book is the Apostles Creed in Latin, and you can listen to it on the CD. She decided she wanted to memorize this as a surprise for our pastor who is leaving for a new church at the end of the month. She worked hard and on Wednesday night at her Catechism class she recited the entire creed for him and the class. Our pastor has an excellent background in Latin, Greek and other languages, so he was quite pleased with Anna's effort.

Speaking of Catechism, I've been pleasantly surprised at how much Anna is enjoying this. Fifth grade is the year children at our church start catechism education, so she has weekly Q&A's from the Heidelberg to memorize and a chapter to read from The Church in History and corresponding worksheet to complete (in addition to her weekly Sunday School verse and reading). Since starting Catechism she has completely taken the initiative in getting her work done, sometimes choosing to work on her memory work in bed instead of reading (she loves to read at night, so it's a pretty big deal for her to give up reading for something else). This is the first year I haven't had to sit down with her for memory work, which is nice since it frees me up to spend a little more time with her siblings.

Song School Latin: Ryne and Grace are doing this together and LOVE it! I love it too. The songs are very creative and helpful. Anna is jealous SSL wasn't available when she started Latin. I'm trying to take this book slow, because I don't plan for either of them to start LFC next year.

History: We've slowed down with SOTW 2 the last several weeks. It started with the Viking chapters (14 & 15) because we found so many great literature selections. So this week we worked on chapters 18 (Crusades) and 19 (King Richard, King John and Robin Hood), but we will complete our literature selections this coming week.

Other: Thursday night I had the honor of leading Ryne's Cub Scout den meeting. I volunteered for this particular week because they were supposed to learn how to play marbles. I inherited my grandmother's box of marbles, but never got around to learning how to play and thought this would be a good excuse to learn. What fun! We will definitely be doing this at home now.

The kids have a new favorite CD to listen to in the car. Beethoven's Wig is fantastic. When Googling for a link I found out there is now a Beethoven's Wig collection -- I think I know what the kids are getting for Christmas.

Friday we had a great field trip to a nearby pumpkin farm with a group of homeschoolers. It almost didn't happen. I was up until 3am the night before finishing up the work on the blog once we went live with the new design, and then we had a round of storms come through in the morning. I assumed the trip would get canceled, so I was still in my PJs when an email came saying it was still on! Somehow we got there just in time. I'm not usually one to be late for things, but for some reason every time we go on a field trip with this group I'm either late or arrive just in the nick of time. By the time we got there the storms had passed and we had beautiful weather. Our family has gone to this particular farm every fall for years, so Marc decided to take off early from work and join us. I was glad he got to meet some of our fellow homeschoolers. Gracie was excited because she met a cow named Gracie. It was a fun end to the week.

Now we have a week off from school to recharge our batteries!

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