Friday, November 21, 2008

What We've Been Learning

Today marks the last day of our first term of school. I don't divide things by quarters or semesters, at least, not yet. We officially started this school year August 18. We've taken four days off since then (one to go to a McCain-Palin rally, one because we didn't have any electricity for three days and therefore took a "wind" day, one for Tigger's birthday, and one for a family reunion). We've also done school work on three Saturdays. Which means only one day really "lost".

It's time for a break! This year we get to spend an entire week with Prince Charming's family (well, they're mine too, now, but you know what I mean, right?). We had planned to take a few items of school work for Monday and Tuesday but the Principal and the Teacher have jointly decided that we'll have an entire week of vacation instead.

I am actually more excited about this than Polly, I think. She won't miss her timed Math sheets, that's for sure, but everything else she really enjoys.

So what have we gotten done in these 14 weeks? A quick summary:
3 New Sections of Scripture memorized (Psalm 1, Matthew 5:3-12, Psalm 113:1-9)
7 Poems memorized ("Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite", "Little Things", "Something Told the Wild Geese", "Who Has Seen the Wind?", "The Goops", "'The Little Bird", and "The Year")
59 Math lessons (Saxon 2)
8 Math Assessments
47 Timed Math Fact Sheets
41 Language Lessons
31 McGuffey's Reader Lessons
14 Science topics + supplemental reading (my list is incomplete, much to Polly's annoyance)
14 Chapters of History (The Story of the World 2) complete
14 map pages for History
14+ coloring pages for History (some chapters have more than 1)
20 Supplemental Picture Books for History (6 read by Polly, 4 read by Mom, the rest by both of us taking turns) The last two we read are these:

We highly recommend the first one. Polly read the second one by herself. She came to me a few times for help. ("Mom, is this person really named 'Snorre'?" "Yes, honey. Glad you're not a viking?")

Polly has also started compiling a list of all the books she has read, whether for school or not. She's currently at nineteen. Thirteen of those are within the past two weeks. She's really annoyed that we didn't start this list at the beginning of school. ("I could have had 100 by now!")

We haven't really worked on handwriting like I feel we should but Polly has been writing. We've done copywork several times (not everyday) and dictation in accordance with our language textbook. We also use a lot of narration in Science and History. I do not require Polly to write reports and this will continue probably until she's around ten years old. I also don't test her in any subject other than math. And, even in math, it is simply called an "assessment" and we keep it very low-key.

Polly is really starting to take off with her reading and it is so fun to watch. Now the challenge of monitoring her reading choices (books from the library) has really begun.

And have I mentioned that Tigger is "doing school" these days? She's learned all 26 letters and their primary sounds. She knows two sight words ("the" and "I"). We're taking the whole "sounding out" thing very slowly. It hasn't quite clicked for her. No rush. She's not even a whole "handful" yet.

One of the benefits of being second generation homeschoolers is raiding the stash of the first generation (aka "Mom", aka "Gram"). One of my latest acquisitions there was a book about how to use Cuisenaire Rods. Tigger and I have done 4 lessons out of that book. She loves "doing math". And the best part is Polly wants to do the same thing, which makes Tigger feel like she's really grown-up.

Writing all this down makes me realize just how much we've accomplished in a few short weeks. Okay, they were occasionally really long weeks, but still - we've pulled it off! Fourteen down - twenty-six to go. Well, for this school year. After all, we've only been on this particular homeschool odyssey for two formal years (homeschooling really starts at birth, but that's another post).

So really we have many, many more weeks ahead of us. And I'm looking forward to them all.


MacKenzie said...

My mom has saved a lot of homeschooling stuff, I mean curriculum, which I will definitely by using to my budget's advantage when the time comes. Plus, it comes with the high recommendation that it survived me.

Karabeth said...

Sounds like a wonderful term of school (ala Laura Ingalls).

Tell Polly to brush up on those Viking stories and names. If I ever figure out the names of the people that the DNA said are between us and them I might need her to sound out a few of them for me. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on such a successful school term!

Pastor Dad

Amy said...

I loved reading this! We will be starting Story of the World next fall (1st grade). It came in the mail this week! :)

I started to get jealous of the whole raiding-your-mom's-stash thing... and then I remembered: my mom is a librarian, so we get first pick of any donations, and a heads-up about any new books she orders. So that's good for us. :)

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