Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekly Report: Somewhere in the mid 20s

No, I'm not talking about the weather (although it did end up getting seasonably cold at the end of the week).  Instead I'm talking about where we are in our school year.  It takes us roughly 36-38 weeks to complete the official (to us) school year, so we are about two-thirds done!

Tapestry of Grace usually drives the schedule of our year, since it encompasses several subjects and a large chunk of time.  Ben's online co-op had a spring break week, so the little boys also took a week off from TOG.  Our week, instead was chock full of science instead.  I'll have to admit that the two little boys were pretty happy about it!

We finished up a review on a science-based lapbook and started a web-based science/ experiment driven science program.  We've really touched on a lot of learning styles in science this week -- hands-on, auditory, visual, and interpersonal!

Here, Levi is has created an electrostatic motor, which is moving the carefully balanced ruler.  It worked OK, and later that night I wondered if it would work better with a lighter plastic ruler.  We tried it first thing Saturday morning -- and it worked perfectly!

You'll see this picture again, but here is one of the completed lapbooks all about earth science.

As I look over our almost done year, there are several things that I have neglected to include as much as I had wanted to.  I know I am not alone in having bigger vision than I can competently carry out, but it still makes me feel bad.  One of the things that has dropped off the radar for most of this year is reading literature aloud to the kids.  We do plenty of read alouds for our history and science, but we have been missing the joy of sharing a good piece of fiction together.  I hadn't realized how much I missed this until this week when I pulled out this autobiographical  story which had been on Luke's recommended readings for the past few weeks:

One thing you should know about my Luke is that he is a cuddly boy.  He loves to show his mama love!  This whole week I was blessed with tons of love and my most favorite plea from my boys, "Read more!"\

Luke and I have been slowly moving forward in his understanding of grammar using Winston Grammar.  If you have a hands-on learner or a child who engages well with colorful manipulatives, I would encourage you to investigate this grammar program.  I realize now that I don't have a picture of the hands-on part (I'll try to get pictures for a future week), but the program includes color coded cards for each part of speech.  Your student matches the color (red is for articles, for example) to the part of speech in a given sentence that s/he parses.  When that is finished, I have Luke transfer the information to a worksheet.  Over the past few weeks, the information has really sunk in, and Luke has made amazing progress with articles, nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  Next week we introduce adverbs!

I'll have to share another week how much I am also loving the grammar program that Levi is using.  If you are curious to know what it is, click on the tab "2012-13 Curricula."

It is getting harder and harder to journal about Ben's home schooling experience for several reasons.  One, keeping up with all three boys is hard.  Some weeks when I come here to journal about our progress and adventures -- and I'm just stinkin' tired!  Other weeks, I find that some of the non-academic issues are weighing more heavily than the academic ones, and I just don't want to invade Ben's privacy to chronical them to the world (or, I should say the small corner of the world we occupy here in the blogosphere).  Suffice it to say, that we are all a bunch of sinners saved by grace, working out our salvation through character training. 

But, I will share these tidbits:  we are going to use the Virtual Homeschool Group to finish up Physical Science this year.  Ben is making good progress, but I like the idea that there is a lecture component to this FREE  resource.  I think it would be a good exercise for him to get experience with listening to a lecture in science.  We are going to use the at-your-own-pace schedule which means we can jump in where we are at.

Much of the year we have been working through the idea of being accountable for work.  We have assignment books, pacing charts -- all sorts of tools to help us move through the year.  However, they are of no value if they are not used!  This is something that Ben and I have come back to again and again this year.

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