Now that I have thoroughly confused you, let me get on with the review of our first week of school for the 2009-2010 school year. For those of you who are new to my weekly reviews, I start with some highlights for each student's individual subjects and then cover the group subjects.
Grace: She feels like such a big girl now that she gets to do First Language Lessons! She loved memorizing The Caterpillar. She also started Writing with Ease 1 and continues to work on Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and her Christian Liberty phonics workbook. One big surprise occurred actually when I was working on reading with Ryne. He is reading Secrets in the Maple Tree (Abeka), which is written at a 3.5 grade level. Grace kept getting distracted from her phonics because she wanted to hear the story, so I invited her to come listen. Then Ryne needed a break, but Grace wanted to know what happened next, so I let her try reading a page. She did great! It confirmed that she is just naturally picking up reading now, and that OPG is just solidifying what her brain has already started to figure out on its own. I have read of similar experiences with other children using OPG, so I think that speaks for what a great program it is.
I'm having her review her addition facts and then we will give subtraction another go (it was too hard to introduce over the summer because we didn't have the consistency we do in the regular school year).
Ryne: He was shocked to see how thick the FLL 4 book is, but he was still eager to get started. Since he's done so wonderful with the FLL series, I decided to try out WWE. He spent the week doing the Year 1 end-of-the-year evaluation as a placement guide. The first and third days were copywork exercises and the second and fourth days were narration exercises. He rocked on the copywork and failed miserably with the narration. I expected him to do poorly with narration, but not this poorly. This is one of the key areas where autism effects his learning, which is exactly why we need to focus on narration. So now I'm not sure how to proceed -- split the levels (not even sure if that is possible), just work on narration in Level 1, or what? The copywork in Level 1 is way too easy for him. So I sent an email to Peace Hill Press and they are forwarding it to Susan Wise Bauer, the author. I'll keep you posted...
One subject he did do really well in, however, was math. He started MUS Gamma this summer and is loving it. This week he finished Lessons 4 and 5. So far he has not missed a single question on any of his tests!
Anna: I won't always include Anna in the weekly reviews, since she is going to away-school, but because she is home two days a weeks she is still very much a part of our homeschool week. She loves her new school and her teacher is incredible, but we're all going through an adjustment period. It is a lot of work, and it is just going to take time to get acquainted with the way things work there. I learned the hard way that I need to be more available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We were still finishing up homework at 9 o'clock both nights.
Bible: The kids were excited to start Discovering Jesus in Exodus. They had no idea there was a sequel to the Genesis book.
Science: We're restarting the Christian Kid's Explore Earth and Space unit on weather since it was April when we last looked at it. I found some fun worksheets on the internet to review the seasons. On Friday we completed our first Outdoor Hour Challenge, which I blogged about in the previous post.
History: This week was a gentle introduction to Adventures in My Father's World. We talked about the pledge of allegiance, did some basic mapwork, and read a little bit about the Vikings discovering America. We didn't spend a lot of time on the Vikings since we covered this in history last year. I also gave Ryne and Grace their own history notebooks, and they were pretty excited. In the coming weeks I will continue my tradition of posting links to our favorite books for history (and other subjects), but for this week there was just one, so I will save it for next week.
Fine Arts: We finished Unit 1 in Artistic Pursuits, started learning the hymn Praise to the Lord Almighty, and read/listened to the section on the different musical periods in Story of the Orchestra. I wasn't planning on covering that much in SOTO, but Ryne wouldn't let me stop. He is really into classical music right now. He talks to me about different symphonies ("Momma, what do you think of when you hear Beethoven's 9th?") and is working on composing his first symphony -- Ryno style! The Artistic Pursuits lessons fit in perfectly with this because it talked about artists being composers as well -- they just compose with images. Ryne loved that!
Overview: We still have a few things to add in, such as Latin and spelling, but our first week felt solid. It does make such a huge difference in having Anna home only two days a week. We were able to get all the schooling for Grace and Ryne done in the mornings, which is so different from last year when we were often finishing up at 4 o'clock. On Monday we even had a 30 minute quiet time after lunch and then each did their piano practice and I still had time to get a few housekeeping things done. That is the type of day I envisioned. The rest of the week's afternoons were a little more chaotic, but mostly due to what I mentioned above -- getting used to a new routine. I'll spare you the details... One thing that I am particularly thankful for though, is that my research seems to have paid off. I put a lot of thought and prayer into our curriculum for this year, and so far I think everything is a winner. That certainly makes life easier!