Thursday, December 05, 2013

November Homeschool Review & December Plan

Overall - I read recently that November and February are difficult months for homeschoolers. Was so happy to hear that, because I've felt really blasé about homeschool the last several weeks. We've been sort of doing just the bare minimum. I haven't even felt like doing the fun history and science stuff!  There is NOT going to be a lot of formal homeschooling through the holidays due to travel, so hopefully we'll be motivated again come January.

Math - Feeling really good about Math. Don't want to burn out by mid-winter like last year, so plan to take it easy in December and keep mixing it up come January. I'm loving our multi-program approach. It is really making a difference. Kate, who usually likes to voice her distaste of math, has started saying that she can't wait to learn calculus! Crazy girl...
  • MathUSee - Gamma - Kate will finish lesson 28 this week, would really like to finish up the last 2 lessons & final tests before we start back after New Year's. Jack will finish Gamma lesson 8 this week and then break until after the holidays. Might throw in a few practice pages to keep us fresh.
  • Finished & reread (the 2nd reading by Matt) Life of Fred Butterflies, started Life of Fred Cats. Plan to finish Cats this weekend, and then Matt will again reread with kids. Then we'll start Life of Fred Dogs. Kids still loving this series. Need to decide if we are going to repeat all 4 books before moving on to the next 4 as recommended. Probably not since the first 4 are pretty easy.
  • Times Tales - going well, Kate knows her facts pretty well.  Jack is still practicing, and just needs to get a bit faster.
  • IXL, XtraMath, Khan Academy - nothing and that's fine
  • Teaching Textbooks 3 - thought about doing this in Hawaii, but decided no
  • NEW - started Math-It just this last week. So far, so good. But no convincing kids that this is a "game"
Language Arts - feeling pretty good about where we are with Language Arts, occasionally get worried about writing for Jack, but I know we'll get there
  • First Language Lessons Level 3 - will finish up with lesson 43 this week, will probably break until after holidays. *Might* do the letter writing lessons the week of New Years.
  • Writing With Ease 3 - currently at week 5, stopped before Thanksgiving because I was getting tired of it, will start again in January
  • Complete Techniques of Creative Writing online class for Kate - going great, Kate is completely independent with this work, hoping to do more classes with this teacher
  • Professor Grammar's Punctuation Packets workbook for Kate - 3-4 lessons/week - going well, a little too "worksheet" for me, but Kate doesn't seem to mind, and I feel better knowing she is getting the info/practice
  • Improve Reading & Writing Skills Workbook with Jack - did this for awhile, but then it started to feel like too much busy work. Taking a break from it for now. Might go back to some of it for dictation/writing practice.
  • Sequential Spelling for Kate (dropped to 2 lessons/week, might go back up), tutor's spelling list for Jack (4-5x/week)
  • Tutoring 2-3x/week for Jack - going really well
  • Sight Words app for Jack - doing 3-4x/week
  • Teach All Kids for letter reversals (Jack) and maybe more - doing 4 lesson booklets a week, happy with this
  • Start Grammarland (not The Sentence Family like I previously wrote) (plan to read while in Hawaii)
  • Increasing Fluency - for Jack, going really well, can really see improvement, will keep this up on travels and during holidays. Currently on Lesson 9.
  • Reading: 
    • The Story of Dr. Dolittle - both finished in conjunction with our Jane Goodall study since it was an inspiration to her as a child (I had planned to read it also and do a big discussion, but I haven't read it yet...),  
    • Dear America: A Journey to the New World - assigned book for Kate, finished over Thanksgiving
    • Tarzan of the Apes - both kids will listen to this on audiobook while traveling. We wanted to read it after learning that it inspired Jane Goodall.
    • Little Women over the holidays.  
    • Deconstructing Penguins - still want to start evolving our book discussions towards this model, but that hasn't happened... yet.
    • Kate is an insatiable reader. Tracking her "fun" reads on her Goodreads account. Jack has been devouring audiobooks, also tracked on his Goodreads account.
Science - want to do more
  • On hold with What's Physics All About as we haven't finished reading our books and experiments about forces, will move on after we finish our reading
  • Albert Einstein Study - nope, maybe later this winter
  • Brain Study - sort of, want to do more, probably in January
  • Chimpanzee/Jane Goodall Study - yes, but just books and DVDs. Enough.
  • Dolphin Study - originally was going to do this or sea turtles to prepare for our Hawaii trip. Decided to make Hawaii mostly just fun.
  • Volcano National Park - plan to do Junior Ranger program. Will probably pull out some of our volcano books before we go
  • A bunch of random science experiments/projects that I have sitting around (to be done over the holidays when we *aren't* homeschooling - hope to do a bunch between Christmas and New Years!)
History/Social Studies - I don't know what happened here. Maybe after so much history on our fall trip, we just needed a break.
  • History of the World - not one word this month
  • Old Testament Bible Stories - nada
  • Finish up some Pony Express studies - calling this good enough!
  • Thanksgiving/Mayflower/Pilgrims Study (just a few books/DVDs and mostly last week)
  • Independent study for Kate - she chose Cleopatra - Kate did a pretty job with this. She was supposed to present to her homeschool program class, but ended up with a fever that day. She was completely independent on this project with absolutely no guidance from me (pure laziness on my part!) but pulled together quite a nice report booklet. I think she may have plagiarized quite a bit from the internet, but that opened up a bit of discussion which is always a good thing.
  • Fort Larned National Historic Site - earned Junior Ranger badges (and saw the Santa Fe Trail)
  • Would like to go to the Pearl Harbor site in Honolulu then read more when we get back.
Misc - never enough time nor energy to get to everything we want to do
  • Apple 1:1 - nope. blah. Really want to get a few visits in with Kate for Pages
  • Vision Therapy for Jack - formal visits are done, will continue at home... maybe...
  • Testing for Jack (in December)
  • Swim Team 2-3x/week - great
  • Volleyball for Kate - great
  • Soccer for Jack - great
  • Skiing!! Just for fun over the holidays. Lessons won't start until January.
  • Couch to 5K - started really well, no going a bit slow with the weather. Goal is to get there by spring
  • Logic (misc workbooks, games, etc) - using mostly Teach All Kids the last few weeks
  • Keyboarding (Kate) - a bit slow, but Kate does it faithfully 2-3 times/week
  • Computer programming (Jack) - will wait until January
  • Playful Learning ecourse - did the Be A Peace Maker course. It was pretty good.
  • Baking for Kate - hmmm. Gotta get better at this. I really need to sit down and write out a *plan*
  • Family Meditation - eh. A little, not a lot. The kids seem to do better with guided meditation, so we are going to try more of that.
  • Daily Gratitude Journal - going GREAT (if not always daily!)
  • Travel: Texas for Thanksgiving (visited Perot Museum which was great) & Hawaii (Volcano NP, beaches, hikes, snorkeling, luau, fun!)
  • Field Trips - might fit one in this week (science museum? aquarium?)
  • Weekly Homeschool Program (where kids get art, science, technology, language arts, math and history)
  • NEW Thanksgiving themed Graphs/mazes/logic/hidden pictures/etc from EdHelper and Teach All Kids
  • NEW Knitting for Kate - a few weeks ago Kate decided she wanted to learn how to knit. I know some basics, so we used a few YouTube videos to get us going. My mom helped over Thanksgiving, and now she is doing great. I have bigger plans for this during or after the holidays.
SO to sum up the rest of December... (this is mostly reference for me!)
Hawaii Homeschool Plan 
  • Life of Fred Cats/Dogs
  • Grammarland
  • Gratitude Journal
  • Creative writing for Kate
  • Fluency Practice for Jack
  • Volcano National Park
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Tarzan audiobook
Holiday Homeschool Plan
  • Finish Gamma for Kate
  • Life of Fred Dogs
  • Gratitude Journal
  • Fluency Practice for Jack
  • Science Packets
  • Little Women
  • Finish Grammarland
  • Ski!
  • Maybe some formal homeschooling (like letter writing) or field trips depending on how we feel

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