Karen’s graduation

Last night was Karen’s preschool graduation.  She was a part of the Parents as Teachers program which ends when a child turns five years old. Since we were doing homeschool kindergarten this year, it also was her kindergarten graduation.

They had little blue caps and gowns for the kids to wear. They got to keep the cap. There were banners and a few balloons with Congrats Grads. They were given a certificate, magnetic pen, and write-in book. They also were given yellow t-shirts that had a worm on it saying “Inching my way to College” along with the fact they graduated the PAT program. Very cute, but rather presumptuous.

The graduation was held in a very small gym. It was full of echos and hard to hear what was said. Also, the room was very crowded. They had to bring in several more chairs. I don’t know if more families came than they expected or just poor planning. Hopefully next year they can have it in a better place.

Karen’s name wasn’t listed in the program and they didn’t call us until the afternoon before to notify us about the ceremony. We had a dispute with the director last year on an unrelated matter. Hopefully the omission wasn’t deliberate, but considering she was the only one left off and the late notice (phone call reminder but not an invitation), let’s just say it’s suspicious and disappointing.

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CLE ordering time again

It’s the fourth Monday in May and that means it is time for the used homeschool swap. There weren’t as many people selling stuff this year. I don’t know if that’s because there are fewer independant homeschool families (you aren’t allowed to resell items purchased using state allotments) or if families are hanging onto stuff for next year. I still managed to find a few used things. We got a magnetic calendar and some books. I found the 5th grade CLE reader for $3. I just hope I don’t misplace it before he needs it.  Karen got a homemade doll and Richard bought a toy car.

The woman who is the representative for Christian Light Education was there. Her husband wasn’t able to make it up this year so they need to head back down this afternoon. No time to come for a visit at our house 😦 Oh well, it was still good to see her and the others in her family who came up. She invited us to visit when when we drive down to go sailing this summer. Hopefully it will work out so we can.

Besides the family with the CLE booth, there were other families we knew there. While I was ordering, the kids were upstairs playing freeze tag. It was nice to have an open area for them to run while us moms did ordering. Everyone had a good time visiting.

I ordered Bible and some social studies for Karen’s first grade. I considered getting the new version of the last 4 workbooks that we haven’t done but decided to use the ones we already have. However, I did buy the new readers for Learning to Read. Richard’s fourth grade order was Bible, language arts, and reading. We each bought a story book as well.

The total was $160. Not bad considering that was for 2 kids. The following year will be more because both kids will need all workbooks. This fall Karen is finishing somethings we already have.

Finishing up the school year

We are winding down our school year. In some ways that’s too bad because they’ve really been interested and doing well in the lessons recently. Richard has 6 lessons then his final test in reading and language arts. Once we finish them, I can focus more on finishing other subjects. Hopefully we’ll be finished with everything by the end of June.

His math has 7 lessons left. He’s doing well so I may skip some of the review. However, today he said he was having so much fun with a lesson on double digit multiplication that he wanted to do all the pages in the lesson by doing some each day. That’s fine as long as he gets the regularly scheduled work done too.

I’ve not been following the history schedule very well so I’m not sure what’s left. He’s up to early 20th century. We’re behind because I spent the first part of the year finishing up last year’s program. After he finishes the language arts and reading, we can spend more time with history. I don’t want to continue it until the fall again.

Both Richard and Karen have mild colds this week. Yesterday I got Richard to do work by giving him 15 minutes computer time for each lesson he completed. He actually got all 3 subjects done. Today we did math, health, and and are now working on an art lesson.

We haven’t done art in a long time. It’s one of those things that keep getting pushed aside. It will be nice to do more of it in the next few weeks. We’ll probably work on it through the summer. He said he wants to continue with this art series (Art With a Purpose, aka Art Pack) next year.

Karen’s right where I was hoping she’d be in reading and language arts. She did 2 math lessons today. She enjoys Math-U-See. However, her brother keeps confusing her by trying to link her lessons to what happens in higher grades.  She is only about halfway through her math book. Since she’s starting to understand it better, we may move a bit faster. I’d like to finish Primer before she starts Alpha in the fall.

We’re excited to be finishing the year. It’s been a great year. They have both learned so much, not only academically, but spiritually and physically as well. Karen is gaining confidence and budding out of her shy shell. Richard is exploring everything around him. I can’t believe he’s finished with the primary grades and will start upper elementary. We’ll take it easy this summer. They have nature and Bible camps planned (including an overnight camp-out for Richard), but that’s all. We’ll start school again sometime in August.

I’ve finished my curriculum plans for next year and can’t wait for ordering. Allotments are available starting July. We’ll get a lot more money next year because Karen will officially be in kindergarten. I just hope the science program I want to use (Exploration Education) is approved so we don’t have to spend our own money. Monday is the used curriculum swap. Usually the Christian Light Education representative is there. I missed the Abeka ordering last week due to car trouble. The next one is in July.

Math in the mirror

8+6=14 +6= 20  That was the message awaiting me on the bathroom mirror this morning. We have foam numbers and math symbols the kids play with in the tub. Well, my son used them to leave me this message on the mirror sometime late last night.

Yes, that’s right, but what started him thinking about it in the middle of the night? Silly boy.

A great week

This week we had a great week for school. Both of them were ready to learn each morning. I didn’t have to prod them very much to complete their tasks. They both got everything done I had planned. I think last week they were still getting back into learning mode and our daily routine from having a week off. This week was much better.

They both had some tests and did well. Richard had 3: Bible, language arts, and reading. Karen’s was reading. He likes test days because the tests are shorter than the lessons. This is the first test I’ve had her take. She’s had a few quizzes where I’ll help her, but this was the first test that I didn’t help her. She struggled on one page. I told her to skip the difficult problems. By the end of the page she figured out the problems and went back to write the answers.

We did a few extras this week. They had to get their regular school work finished before we did them. On Tuesday afternoon, the school district had a homeschool ski and nutrition day at our local cross country ski park. Thursday we had a field trip to the library. Today’s mail had their wildlife magazines.

On Monday, Karen will start Learning to Read 105. This is where Christian Light Education starts Language Arts 1. Now that they can read simple sentences, they start learning basic grammar. I pre-viewed both workbooks with her, and she is excited to start. It covers consonants and vowels, capital and lower case, is/are, and periods. There’s also handwriting. Each LA lesson is 2 pages so it’s not going to add a lot more to her day.

We’re starting to plan for next year. Richard has made a lot of progress this year. This afternoon, while looking through the levels and targets they need to do, I realized he has completed level 3 reading. I am waiting to find out what assessments are necessary to move him to level 4. He’s already completed a few targets within level 4.

I’ve written up tentative curriculum lists for next year. There’s no big changes. Mostly they will do the next level of the current curriculum. Karen will be adding social studies and Bible. Richard will be using a combined history and science program from Winter Promise called Adventures in Sea and Sky. I can’t wait until the homeschool curriculum fair next month. Many of the companies offer free shipping if you order at the fair. CLE ordering will be a few weeks later. They come to the used curriculum swap.

I hope next week goes as well as this week did. They even did chores without too much fuss.  🙂 Perhaps it’s anticipation of finishing this year that’s gotten them excited about learning now. Perhaps it’s because this language arts unit for Richard deals with poetry. Perhaps it’s a boost in self confidence for her reading. Perhaps it’s the nice weather and longer days. No matter why, I’m just glad to see them enjoying school again.

Homeschool ski day

Yesterday our school district had a homeschool ski and nutrition day at our local cross country ski park. The kids were divided into 2 groups, those 5th grade and up and those 4th grade and under. My two are in the 4th and under. There were about a dozen k-4th grade students. I don’t know how many older ones there were.

The younger kids started the afternoon in the auditorium doing a nutrition activity while the older kids skied. Then they switched.

I went out skiing with the younger ones. The district PE adviser and I were the only adults skiing with them. My son was the only one in that group who had ever skied before. What a lot of fun we all had! I’m glad I brought my skis. We were out about an hour.

The adviser showed them how to get on their skis. Then they all skied to the end of the flat area where she showed them how to fall and get back up. Down to the other end where they were given poles. At the other end she showed them V for uphill and downhill (snowplow). Finally a few more trips back and forth before it was time to get the skis off.

I didn’t have much idea what was supposed to be going on. My help consisted of keeping the kids from running each other over, keeping them from going down side trails, and giving encouragement. I’m glad I was there though because my son was ready to explore the side trails (hills!) and likely some of the others would have followed him. He was a bit disappointed he didn’t get to try the nearby hill, but still had a good time. When we were leaving, my daughter asked if they have races there. When I said they did, she said she wants to do that. I guess we’d better get her some skis.

Saturday school

Sometimes if the kids haven’t finished their work during the week, we finish up on Saturday. Today was such a day. It was supposed to be just finishing up with Karen. Instead, both kids spent a lot of time learning. It was a great “school” day.

We did a little review and finished the “v” lesson in her workbook then did some reading. I let her choose what to read. She wanted to read the second set of Scholastic readers. She’s never read them before. I told her if she read all of the first set, then she could do them. Well, she read the first 11 of them right away in my lap! I didn’t have to help her very much. Then she took a break.

After lunch, she read me the last book in the set. We looked at the second set but decided they were a little too hard yet. Instead, she read 5 of the K4 Abeka readers. Finally, she was getting tired and making too many mistakes so I convinced her to stop for awhile. She’s read a total of 17 short books today! How exciting it was for us both to discover how much she can read.

She’s almost finished with the 4th workbook. There are 10 total before second grade. I’m glad we’re going slow. It’s a lot less stressful for us both. She starts the language arts workbooks along with her next reading workbook (105). We’ll continue to go slow for the rest of this year then pick up the pace a little for first grade. The goal is to have the sixth workbook done by the end of this school year. I hope to have the Christian Light first grade reading and language arts finished about halfway through next year. Then we can spend the second part of the year reading beginning books with First Favorites from Veritas Press.

I’m a bit nervous about next year when Karen will be doing more subjects.  Early on will just still be math, reading, and language arts. Later I’ll add Bible, a little social studies, and science. However, if I stick to the weekly schedule I made up it should be fine. Afterall, I had the same worries when Richard was finishing kindergarten.

She also did some math today. I was trying to do a lot of other things at the same time, so she didn’t do very much. She’s only half done with the math workbook because I haven’t devoted enough time for it recently. Now that she’s caught up in reading, we can get back to our regular  schedule again until swim lessons next month.

Richard did some kitchen science. We get fresh raw milk on Friday evenings. The jar we got yesterday had a lot of cream on it. I carefully scooped it out into a jar. Then we all took turns shaking it to make butter. We got a nice lump of butter and enough buttermilk to make biscuits. He then read the unit about milk and cream in his science book. I’ll have him measure and mix the dough later for dinner.

We had a lot of fun being silly and learning. I wish we had more days that went this smoothly.