Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trying to catch up before life carries me away again - End of 1st Quarter Review

It's been a month since I last blogged!  EEK!  Can't let life get away from me for so long.

It's been a long month filled with medical problems (me), stress (getting ready to move), last minute trips (the fun part of the month) and trying to fit a little bit of school in here and there.

Little to say not a lot of real "school" work was done.. but we still learned a lot

- We learned about Carlsbad Caverns, Mexican Free-tail Bats, and that hiking out of Carlsbad Caverns with 4 kids is a long tiring process (1.25 miles gaining 800ft in elevation!)

- We learned about the Mogollon people who lived in the cliffs of what is now the Gila National Forest in the 1300s, we took a beautiful hike up to the dwellings, found a few lizards and snakes along the way, and I found out that walking along the edge of a cliff with a curious 3 year old boy will give you a heart attack.

- We've learned that you can learn a lot from board games

- I've learned how to take every type of marker, crayon, or colored pencil off my walls after R and little E had fun making masterpieces on the rental houses walls.

- We've learned random safety facts after working through several cub scout achievements.  D is a Wolf Cub this year and is looking forward to rejoining his Den/Pack in October.

- We visited Family in Phoenix and had a great time swimming in the pool and catching up with family members that it's been way too long since we had last seen.

- The kids have learned the last two weeks how to entertain themselves with very few toys since I have packed up most of them.

Actual School work that has been completed -

Math - D has worked through Unit 3 Chapter 2 in Singapore Math 3A - We are taking time to finish memorizing the multiplication tables before we move onto Chapter 3 that starts working on multiplying through 1000.  He has been spending time playing on and to work on keeping fresh on basic skills and memorizing his math facts while we stall on multiplication for a little while.

Language Arts -  In Grammar we have finally finished the last few lessons in Growing with Grammar 1 (We started this in January) and has started into the first unit of Growing with Grammer 2.  D likes that this program is independent for him and he can work on it by himself.  In First Language Lessons 2 (Old Combined book) we are only on Lesson 117.  I have put more of an emphasis on completing GWG1 the past couple of months so now we will go back to splitting our time between both programs.  In Phonics D is on Explode the Code book 7 - Lesson 10.  He has continued to work on this independently while we have been doing minimal school work these last few weeks.  Spelling - D is having trouble with AAS.  I'm not sure if it is that we aren't doing as much review as we should or that he just isn't remembering the rules, or that he knows the rules but doesn't apply them in other writing.   Over the next couple of weeks of minimal school I'm going to review words with him from past lessons and see what lessons he is having difficulty with.  I'm finding that what he knows from spelling doesn't carry over into writing for other subjects.  He has difficulty spelling words in his grammar workbook that I know we covered in AAS.    Reading - This is the one that the D has not slowed down on while we have been having light days of school.  He's read a ton of books.  I'd like to get him to move into reading higher level books, but at the same time I don't want to frustrate him and kill his love of reading.  He will sit down and read an entire Magic Tree House - Merlin Mission book in an afternoon.  He did take the time to read all of Little House in the Big Woods after I had read part of it as a read aloud and then stopped.  Writing - We are still SLOWLY working our way through WWE 1.  I hope that by January we can move up to WWE2.  D is just now finally giving good narrations and being able to answer most of the comprehension questions. We are going to pick and choose our way through the last 10 weeks and finish up before we take our Christmas break.  Then in January we will be starting with WWE2.

Latin - Latin was starting to frustrate D so we took a break from it.  We will start back up after we get settled back into our house in a few weeks but will be taking it slower and using 2 weeks per lesson so we have more time to review vocab words
Science - Science has once again been put on hold to work on the basics. We try to spend some time each week reading something science based or playing with things online.  D is loving Monster Physics on the Ipad and watching National Geographic Videos.  Once we get back home we will be checking out the Science in Imagineering Videos from Disney.  We are still only partway through Life Science.  This fall we are going to concentrate on finishing the animal portion of Life Science, spend the winter working on Astronomy, and then in the spring go back and finish the plant portion of Life Science as we work on starting our garden.

History - History has been downgraded to listening to the SOTW CDs in the car.  I'm getting ready to put them on my IPOD so D can listen to them while he works on other things. He has lost interest in Ancient Civilizations, so I think we are just going to listen to the CD's a few times, do a few fun activities that I know that D will like and then in January move onto SOTW 2. There is no point in making him doactivities that he isn't enjoying.  When he is doing SOTW 3 or 4 S and R will be working on SOTW 1 so he can always jump in on those activities on more time before he moves to Logic stage ancients. 


Some days I feel like that I am failing at giving him the education that he deserves -  I wish we could get to more history and science but most days I am struggling to get the basics done, keep up with the house, keep up with the little kids, give the little kids some time that they need, and have some time for myself so I don't go insane.

But then I remember that he is working in Math and Reading at 2 grade levels above where he should be, that he gets to have some amazing experiences like hiking in the National Forests, and that I get to spend all day with him (even if he drives me crazy some days) I get hugs and "I love you" in the middle of the day just because he felt like telling me.  I have a 7.5 year old who is happy to spend time with his siblings, and is willing to take on the responsibility of watching them for a few minutes while I work on something else.

 There will always be more time to get into Science and History (Like when we don't have to spend half our day learning how to read and write and do basic arithmetic)  Eventually I won't have a house full of little monsters, instead I'll have a house full of teenagers!!! (DOUBLE EEK!) I know that some day I will miss these crazy days, that I will miss the chaos and the screaming and fighting, I'll miss evenings of being curled up in their beds reading books together.  So for now I'm trying to get over the fact that maybe we don't do as much science and history as we should, and that we don't always read great books  (Although I don't know how many more times I can stand reading Mercy Watson to S) I  have 4 wonderful children who love each other, who enjoy learning, and who are teaching each other random things (S who taught herself how to read is trying to teach R his letters and sounds).  It may not be the educational path that I set out on originally, but we can always wander back to that path later when life isn't throwing me loops and curves as often.