It was a productive week of catching up on work not completed the previous week (yet still completing most of what we had scheduled for this week). Things went somewhat smoother with Anna's workload from the classical school she attends, so maybe we're starting to figure things out. Someone asked in the comments section of my last weekly review if all this work Anna has been doing is meaningful, and the answer is yes, I think so. Individually, almost everything she has been assigned has been a worthwhile activity. In my opinion, only a couple of the assignments would be considered just plain busy-work, and the teacher apologized for one of those assignments. Anna is getting a great education at this school. It has just been the volume of work that has been difficult. Most importantly though, she loves the school, her teacher, and her new friends. She is doing very well and has not complained nearly as much as I have about the workload. Plus, I really am seeing the benefit of being able to focus more on Ryne and Grace and better tailor our curriculum to their abilities.
Ryne: All his individual subjects went well. I finally got all our spelling materials set up and read the teacher manual, so we added All About Spelling 1 this week. As I set up his card file, I realized he knows how to spell most of the words in Level 1, so I think he will move through it quickly. The reason I started him at Level 1 is because I know he has some gaps in phonics, but since I wasn't really part of his learning to read, it's hard for me to know what he missed or didn't retain. He learned to read through a combination of the online Headsprout reading program and whatever he used in the first year-and-a-half at a Christian school. So this week we just worked on the basic phonograms, and it was clear he did need to review a few of them. He enjoyed listening to the sounds on the CD-ROM. One of the biggest problems we had with the lesson though is that he still cannot pronounce his th sounds correctly. I'm not sure what to do about this.
Grace: Drum roll, please... Gracie finished The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading!!!! It took her about two years to finish the 231-lesson book, so we made a big deal about her completing it. Thursday night I took her out to celebrate. So until I get the photo card thing figured out, here is where you have to imagine a picture of her sitting on the bed with a big grin on her face, holding that big book in triumph. Now that we've been through the whole book, what do I think of it? I give it a thumbs up! While it can drag on at times, it is very thorough and made teaching this all-important skill pretty manageable.
Science: We also said good-bye to Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space this week, having completed our weather unit. We made a tornado in a plastic pop bottle and charted all the 2009 hurricanes. We have really enjoyed CKE Earth and Space, and will definitely consider the series again in the future. But I have a boy who says he's an alien from Saturn who really needs to spend more than four lessons on the space part, so we will now be switching to Exploring Creation with Astronomy. We also completed another Outdoor Hour Challenge, but I will wait to post about that until I get the picture thing worked out.
History: This is the only subject we didn't get completely caught up on, but we did finish a couple of great read-alouds.
Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
The Boy Who Lived With the Bears by Joseph Bruchae