November 17, 2014

It's Time for a Homeschooling Progress Report! {Week #10}

It's been several weeks now since we started school. As I mentioned in my posts talking about what we were going to do for third grade and preschool, we had a lot of ambitions. So where are we now? How have we done so far? What changes have we made? 
Homeschooling Progress Report
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What's been going on in our third grade routine? 

I had a grand third grade curriculum summary that I set out to do this year. As we dove into our year, we discovered that it wasn't really realistic for our routine. So we made some tweaks. 

*For the Bible lessons this year, I said we were going to be using God's Names/God's Promises and We Choose Virtues. Right now we are still using God's Names for our weekly lessons. We are following a "curriculum" that I created which includes a memory verse each week. This is very interesting for us both and we are enjoying it. At this time we aren't still working on We Choose Virtues. I will add them in at some point, but for now, the lessons we are doing for God's Names working very well.

*We are still on track for History as we continue our work in the online curriculum from Veritas Press. We work through one unit every two weeks doing it 3 days/2 days. We aren't even half way through the curriculum yet, which is fine by Little Britches. He loves it and asks for it. He's currently working on the unit about Westward Expansion. We made a covered wagon for this unit which was fun.

*Geography is going great. We are completing several pages of The Complete Book of Maps & Geography each week because it's so easy to put in. It's really something above and beyond because there is a lot of geography being covered in his history lessons.

*We made a few changes in our Math. While we are still working on and enjoying CTCmath.com, we have decided to use IXL (we reviewed it earlier this month) as our supplement. We haven't worked on Ubersmart much at all thus far. IXL is a great supplement because it reviews the skills he's learning in CTC. Both programs are online, but the IXL is also available on my Kindle as an app which makes it portable. 

*We are on track with Science as we work through Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th Day...but we are wishing we had more experiments. There are only one or two per chapter and they are "boring" (his words!) and sometimes we don't have any at all. I am considering adding something "extra" relating to what we are learning to make it a bit more exciting. We are enjoying everything else about the lesson though and find them very interesting.

*In Language Arts, I had planned on doing Pentime (Handwriting), WriteShop C (writing), Fix It Grammar (grammar), Logic of English (Spelling/Vocabulary), Lightning Lit 3 (Reading and reading comp) and free reading. As we went along as started Lightning Lit 3, I discovered it was more than I thought and included some grammar, and writing with the literature study. We've not had the need for Write Shop right now. We are continuing to use LOE for our spelling about 3 times a week and do the Fix It Grammar 4 days a week as it's laid out.  So the biggest change was throwing out Write Shop for right now. I have every intention of using it at some point but Lightning Lit is turning out to be a fabulous program and a pretty complete program so we are enjoying using it.

*It would be safe to say that Foreign Language studies is going great. Both boys are enjoying the lessons and absorbing them quickly. Song School Latin rocks! But we aren't stopping there! We are also learning Spanish with Middlebury Interactive Languages! We've discovered that both languages blend well together and use a lot of the same rules and even have similar bases. 

*Fine Arts...hahahahahhahahahah. Here is where we have strayed very much. At this point, I am incorporating art into our lessons and not as Art History as planned. I do want to get him back over to my MIL for lessons, but she has started subbing at the schools more often so she's not there often enough to count on her.  It's been the same thing for music. I really want to get back on track with lessons at some point...but am now thinking Little Britches might like to switch over to the recorder for a little while. I mean, don't all elementary kids learn how to play the recorder (to the despair and suffering of their parents!) 

*The extras...these ARE extras so I didn't have them as set in stone. We have been enjoying keyboarding, but took a break from it to get caught up in other areas. We will be putting it back in this week because he enjoys it. Essential Skills Advantage. This was another extra and we've let it slide. I might add it back for Friday work since we don't have major lessons on that day.

But wait...I've added something!

We have been taking advantage of morning work by adding in a daily math problem from a little book that I was given. It's called Figure It Out Book 2: Thinking Like a Math Problem Solver. This book is small--just about 31 pages. Each page provides a story problem and then walks the student through the process of solving a story problem. 
story problems for math

It's very simple and step by step and I love it--and the best thing is he enjoys it too.

We've also added a bit of creative writing too using the Snake Oil game like I talked about in my review from last week. These two things make our morning work more fun!

Okay--so we know where we are with Third Grade...but what about Preschool?


Preschool. Sigh. Well, the best laid plans just haven't...worked. As I mentioned in my post sharing our Pre-K curriculum,  the "core" of what we were going to do was going to be Before Five In A Row. Well...this has been put on the back burner. I've discovered that while he adores books and was doing very very well with the program, that he wants something "more". He gets restless and bored some days even when doing the B4FIAR work. So we changed up our routine. We now do three types of school: paper school, cabinet school, and computer school.  We start the day with him declaring which one he wants to do first. 

Paper school means he's in the mood to do things with worksheets and workbooks. Coloring, circling, cutting...workbook type activities. If he wants this, then I pull from the workbooks I have for him. We work on them together until he's "done". 

Workbook pages

If he requests cabinet school, he wants to do activities from our cabinet--puzzles, beads, beans, games...manipulative style learning.
lacing cards from $1 store
He's recently fallen in love with lacing and loves to spend time on lacing his animal cards.
 We have been doing a lot with his magnetic letters and pom-poms ("fuzzies"). Today we did something new. I flipped the back of a cheap $1 cookie sheet over and wrote two colors on the back with a line to separate using dry erase markers. Then he pulled off all the fuzzies and letters to match the colors and stuck them on. We did this with green and yellow too.
cookie sheet color match
Write on the back of a cookie sheet with dry erase and have them match all the same colors.
Computer school is self explanatory. It's the online programs that I let him use to work on skills. Sometimes this means using my laptop, but usually he uses my Kindle Fire. I will be sharing a post of the apps that I use for each boy in the near future.  He likes to do CTCmath, IXL and Starfall.com on the laptop. He is working at Kindergarten level in each of those programs. He gets to spend 15 minutes doing this.  Sometimes I need to help him if the program doesn't have audio for him--or it's asking to do a bit more "mouse usage" than he is able to right now.
With this new way of doing school, we move at HIS pace doing what HE'S in the mood for. We regularly do all three types of school in one day--but some days we don't. We are still doubling up on the foreign language and he sits in on history and science. We DO sometimes do a unit of B4FIAR, but right now this other way is working much better for us. We've already met some of the goals we set at the beginning of the year!

So there is my progress report. We've branched out in some ways and just trimmed off others. It's working for us right now without anyone (myself included) getting overwhelmed. This is another thing I am really enjoying about being "out of the box" this year with our curriculum.

I will do another progress report at week #20 to see how we are doing then too! I think it's fun to see how our routines morph as the year continues.

If you homeschool, what changes have you made since you began this year?
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