Spring Wrap-Up 2010

I’m not sure if I ever detailed our homeschooling plans for Spring 2010, but now that the semester is over.  It’s time to talk about what we did and learned.

-Bailey-

Bailey completed Learners Word Study workbook 1, Brain Quest Workbook grade 1, and Mind Benders Beginning Book 2.  These covered vocabulary and logic.  For practice with her print handwriting, Bailey used handwriting worksheets from Spelling City.  We reviewed some of our Ancient History topics from the fall, explored some of the Wonders of the World, and finished up by looking at the Maya.

Once I started assisting Bailey with her Explode the Code Online it became less frustrating for her.  I didn’t ever give her the correct answers but I helped guide her to figure things out for herself or avoid making some mistakes.  She started moving more rapidly through the program.  But for the last six weeks of the semester, I stopped giving her as much help and made her start doing the program more frequently.

Bailey completed Singapore Math 1B, but she did not pass the “final exam”.  Instead of moving on to 2A, Bailey started an intensive program of addition and subtraction drills using Kumon and Flash Skills workbooks from Barnes & Noble.  She will retest on the 1B material over the summer.

Bailey also prepared to receive her First Holy Eucharist (FHE).  We studied The New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism and put together a commemorative lapbook.  We practiced for her first Confession (which went really well) and worked on learning the Act of Contrition (which we still both need to work on memorizing better).  As her FHE approaches in June, we’ll practice how to receive it properly.

-Piper-

Piper completed the first Singapore Math Essential Kindergarten workbook and started a little bit on the second book.  She also did the first Explode the Code beginner book.  She asked to to do school work fairly often, but I still did not force her to do any.

Piper seemed really interested in memorizing math facts, though.  She would often ask what was the sum of two different numbers and then repeat it back.  As our semester was winding down, we played some Boggle Jr., and I realized that she could sound out and spell some three-letter words.  Which has me debating whether to start reading lessons with her this fall or wait until next spring as I originally intended.

-Katie-

Katie became absolutely delightful as her speaking vocabulary, awareness, and personality took off.  She became less and less of a baby and more of a little girl as she recently turned the ripe old age of 2.  She’s starting to show an interest in colors, numbers, and letters, and she knows quite a few shapes already.  And she’s demonstrated a wonderful memory for knowing where things belong and household procedures as she demands to help me with various chores.  (I just hope it lasts.)

-Me-

I learned that I can take more time with Ancient History than I thought when I used most of my entire sequence in the fall.  This left me with just a small section to cover and too much time.  So, that’s why we reviewed and turned to Wonders of the World.  I will certainly keep that in mind when we do Ancient History again in fifth grade.

I learned the importance of the Home Instructor’s Guide (HIG) in using Singapore Math.  Bailey probably would have done better with 1B if I had a better idea of which topics were “seed planting” and which ones she really needed to master.  Plus, I would have had more ideas for dealing with topics that she found difficult.  I will be going back to purchase the 1B HIG for use with the other children.

I realized how important discipline is in homeschooling.  Not only did Bailey do poorly on her 1B test, but she had a complete emotional meltdown in the process.  This was the culmination of weeks of whining, fussing, and lashing out any time she was asked to do anything the least bit difficult whether it was subtraction or Explode the Code.  I spent a lot of time pondering how much of it was due to unreasonable expectations on my part and how much of it was a disciplinary issue.  I concluded that it was mostly the latter and took some steps to correct her behavior.

In this process, I did have to do some tweaking.  I raised my expectations for her on Explode the Code by making her do it five days a week instead of two and giving her less guidance.  When it came to the math drills, I worked to find the balance between expectations that were too high or too low.

As usual, I learned as much as the kids did.

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