2009 Dec. homeschool update

Hard to believe 2009 is almost gone. It’s been a good year for our homeschool. Unlike public schools, we haven’t taken a lot of days off other than sick days so Richard is halfway through third grade. Karen is slowly working her way through Learning to Read.

While I won’t say Richard’s favorite subjects are reading and language arts, he isn’t fighting them either. Some lessons he does actually enjoy. If fact, a few times he’s worked ahead without realizing it because he was enjoying them. I don’t make him do that subject again until the others are on the same lesson when he does that. He lost his reading workbook for a week so we only did language arts. Then when he found it over the weekend, the next week we just did reading to even them back out again.

They’ve been sick the last week so it’s been about 10 days since we did school last. He has trouble getting back to the books after a break so today is a bit of a challenge. I debated just waiting until next week since Christmas is this week, but my husband said back to school today.

Math is going well for both of them. This year Richard is learning multiplication. I found Schoolhouse Rock on Youtube. They had some fun multiplication/skip counting songs which is helping make it stick. There was Sesame Street “ladybug picnic” about counting to 12, which helped Karen. She’s starting to use the colored joined blocks rather than individual units to represent numbers.

It was a trip down memory lane for me. There’s also language arts and history songs. Remember “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, get your adverbs here” and “Conjunction Junction”?

History doesn’t seem as fun as last year (to me anyway). There aren’t as many interesting activities and more reading. Perhaps that’s because since we’re studying westward expansion now, most of the activities are homestead chores which we normally do everyday. Still, he’s enjoying it. Today was about the invention of barbed wire and he got to draw his own picture. While he was sick last week, he dug through the box and read Cricket in Times Square. I’m not sure when he was supposed to read this, but oh well.

Karen is slowly working her way through Learning to Read. I have given up on the primer. It was way too hard and didn’t relate to the lessons very well. It only made her frustrated instead of confident when reading. Hopefully the new Sunrise edition fixed this, but I haven’t seen it yet. I’m using Bob Books instead, which actually go with it surprisingly well.

We haven’t managed to do lessons with her very consistently. This is working out pretty good though because she gets overloaded if we do too much at once. Then after taking a few days break, the old material has sunk in and she’s ready to move on.

It will definately take a year to work through Learning to Read at the pace we’re going. Today she finished lesson 21 out of 90 and the first 4 Bob Books by herself. We also read the fifth book together. I may start to do lessons with her more often, but don’t want her to get overloaded again. This is just kindergarten after all. I want her to enjoy it, not have school seem like work.

She still sounds out several of the words, but the number of words she can read has greatly increased. Today’s lesson had 31 words to read in a minute. I don’t time her, but we do read the lists. She got through the entire list and read most of them without sounding them out today! Last time we tried this same list she could only get through half of it, even sounding them out.

She’s generally enjoying the lessons. I don’t always do every page in a lesson since there are often several pages of the same kind of thing (again, the Sunrise Edition has fixed this). If I know she understands, I’ll move on. If she’s having trouble, we’ll spend 2 days on the same lesson and do all of it. The schedule has us starting language arts in 2 weeks. Hopefully, that won’t give her too much work.

Since we took the past 10 days off, we won’t take much off for Christmas except Thursday and Friday. After regular school work is done this week, we’re learning traditional, spiritual carols and reading of the birth of Jesus. He’s the reason for the season after all. I feel in the rush of modern consumerist Christmas, we sometimes forget the real reason for celebrating and get caught up in the how. That’s why it’s important to sing songs like Silent Night, Joy to the World, and Oh Come all Ye Faithful instead of just Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman.

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