Spring Semester 2010

Today is the first day of the new semester.  Some things haven’t changed at all since the last one.  Bailey will still be doing math four times a week, history two times a week, and logic one time a week.  However, since her reading is really taking off I’m knocking her Explode the Code on-line down to  twice a week and I’m going to lower her minimum number of exercises each day from seven to five.

We’re totally ditching the English from the Roots Up cards for now; I didn’t feel like she was getting that much out of them.  Instead for vocabulary she’ll be working in Singapore’s Word Study 1 workbook.  I originally intended to make that a resuable workbook, but some of the exercises would just be too hard to do on a separate sheet of paper without being distracting.    We’re also totally ditching science.  Bailey only really wants to do experiments, and even she was starting to fizz out on them by the end of the semester.  That time slot is being set aside for First Holy Eucharist preparation.  What exactly that will be is still up in the air since I can’t pin down our Director of Religious Education at the Church to find out what Bailey needs to know for her sacrament test.

I am also going to try to work in some weekly read aloud time.  Bailey has become a little more patient with all things involving reading lately.  We talked about it, and she expressed interest in going through my old Picture Book of Saints.  Each saint story is one page with an illustration, so maybe we can do one or two of those and a short story (myth, fairy tale, or fable) each week.

Our biggest change is that we are incorporating handwriting practice once a week.    Bailey has been able to write all of her uppercase manuscript letters for years, but she really needs work with her lower case letters.  More importantly she needs to learn to write in proper proportion on lined paper, because as time passes she will have more and more work that requires writing.  Bailey has totally agreed that she needs help in this area, but I don’t know how long her enthusiasm will hold up when the monotonous reality kicks in.  We’re going to start by going through the alphabet (uppercase and lowercase), practicing three letters a week.  Then I plan to use the handy dandy feature at SpellingCity.com to convert spelling lists into handwriting practice, starting with the Kindergarten Dolch Word List 3.

When I sat down to figure out our history sequence and resources, I was shocked that I only had three topics left before the end of the ancient history period.  As I tried to figure out how to fill the time (or whether to continue with history at all for now), I gathered two or three general ancient history resources from the library.  I started to sit down and coordinate a review sequence incorporating about two or three different books, but inspired by a recent discussion at the 4Real Catholic homeschooling forum about the book Simplicity Parenting I decided to make things simpler on myself by just choosing two resources to go through slowly one at a time.  Then we’ll tack on those three leftover topics from last semester at the end.  I will also slow down quite a bit next year when we start on the Medieval/Early Rennaissance time period.

One last thing that we’ll be doing is finishing Bailey’s BrainQuest Grade 1 Workbook.  We originally bought this as something light to do over the summer last year.  I am not necessarily a stickler for doing every exercise in every workbook/textbook, but some of what she does have left in it incorporates nicely as extra practice for some of her upcoming math lessons (like time) or touches on a few skills that I would like to introduce to her without actually focusing on for an entire semester (i.e., sentence structure).  Plus, she thinks the workbook is fun and different from her usual work.

Piper’s schoolwork will still be completely optional.  Once she finishes some of the workbooks she’s already working on, I may get her Kumon’s Number Games since she’s showing in interest in double digit numbers and dot-to-dots.  She’s also started taking tap/ballet/tumbling class and will start her first tee-ball season before the semester is over.  Besides a heavier homeschooling work load, Bailey has started back up with gymnastics.  She’ll start her third tee-ball season, moving up to the Coach Pitch division.

Of course, we also will be having many lessons on fetal development and new baby care as we prepare for our newest bundle of joy to arrive in June.  Bailey has already attended one prenatal visit with me and was allowed to help find the baby’s heartbeat.  I hope to take Piper to my next appointment, and we’ve already read one book about babies growing on the inside.  We’ve also been checking out pregnancy websites to see what new thing the baby is doing each week and finding real life objects the same size as the baby.  It’s gearing up to be exciting and busy semester!!

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