Wrapping Up Week 30 (2014-15)

weekly wrap-up
I feel like I’m approaching the finish line of a long race, and it’s just about time to make a final sprint before the end.  We definitely picked up the pace in working through the last few things I want to accomplish before the end of the school year, and Ian felt the satisfaction of completion several times this week as finished several books and put them away.

Bible/Circle Time

We’re still starting our days by reading a few chapters from Part 2 of Little Pilgrim’s Progress.  Ian continues to enjoy the story, especially since he now gets to play quietly while I read rather than working on the notebook pages I had him doing in Part 1.  He often asks me to read more than the two chapters I have planned, and I try to oblige as long as we’re not trying to get through our school work quickly before we have to go somewhere.

Math

After finishing up my review of GPALOVEMATH I decided to give the boys a little more flexibility when it comes to their math lessons.  Since we still have a subscription to Mathletics I told them they could choose between a lesson from GPALOVEMATH or earning 200 points from doing activities on Mathletics.  I don’t know if it’s because they really like the lessons better or just because they wanted some variety, but both boys chose Mathletics every day.

xtramathxIan is also still doing facts practice on xtramath.org each day, and this week I had him begin working on subtraction.  The first two days were a little rough, but he made definite improvement over the course of the week, which kept him from getting too discouraged by scores that were lower than he had been getting with addition practice.  I’ve also been trying to encourage Elijah to run through a session each day, though he’s not quite as consistent as Ian since I haven’t really required any school work from him up until this point.  Xtramath has been so helpful for Ian, however, and since Elijah is ready in many ways to advance quickly in math, I want to be sure he masters his facts before moving ahead.

Literature

We finished Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling this week, and then watched the movie version on YouTube.  Ian was disappointed by all the things that were left out of the movie (welcome to my world!)  He hadn’t expressed a lot of enthusiasm for this book over the course of the year, but when we reached the end he saw the pictures of other Holling C. Holling books and asked if we could start them.  I’m glad he has that sense of wanting more, and I told him we’d see about going through one in our next school year.

I’m hoping to finish up the literature readings for Ambleside Online, Year 1 before Week 36, so we started reading selections from most of the books, even those not scheduled for this week.  Ian loves Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, so he had no problem with a few extra stories.  We didn’t quite finish “King Lear” in Tales from Shakespeare, but we only have a couple pages left.

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History

http://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hugfs0SJL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg?resize=137%2C165Officially we’re done with history for the year, but with St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday I wanted to take some time to talk about the man behind the holiday.  I had stumbled across The Story of Saint Patrick by James A. Janda while back, and it was the perfect book to have Ian read through this week.  The chapters are all quite short, so we went through several a day.  I love how the book focuses on Patrick’s mission to share Christ with the Irish and goes beyond just the basic biographical facts we’ve read in other books.

Science

We got all the way through Unit 4 on leaves (lessons 16-20) in The World of Plants.  We didn’t do the final project on leaves, but we did take some time to observe the leaves on various trees, and that was enough for both Ian and me to feel like we were done.

Spanish

We finally got back into our Spanish lessons from Middlebury Interactive Languages.  (We’ve been using it sporadically since we reviewed it last fall, but I realized this week that it would be really easy to add it to Ian’s list of “computer school” tasks so he could finish the Spanish 1 course.  This week he  finished up Unit 5 on school-related words and began the final unit, which reviews everything he has learned in the course.  I have been really thankful for this program and how it has helped Ian continue learning without requiring anything from me.  Actually, it’s been great for all the kids, since I have the younger kids watch Ian work through the lessons on the TV hooked up to the computer.  Elijah has gone through several of the activities himself as well.

Middlebury
I’m not sure what we’re going to do for Spanish next year.  I had planned to go back to using the Salsa videos we were using before, but I think the lessons plans are essential for getting the most out of them, and I’m just not sure how much I’m going to be up to once the baby arrives at the end of summer.  I might try to get through at least one unit before that point (since we start our school year in July), but I’m hoping to find something that will help at least my two older kids continue building on what they’ve already learned.

Preschoolers

P1050596xAs I’ve been praying and planning about next year, I’ve decided I want to start working with Elijah and Arianna more intentionally, though they’ve certainly picked up a lot just from the learning environment in our home.  I’ll write a bit more about what that might look like once we’ve wrapped up this school year, but for now, I’m exploring different ways to include them.

I struggle with knowing what to do for Elijah.  On the one hand, he’s a 5-year old boy and needs lots of free time for playing, exploring, and just learning on his own.  On the other hand, I want to be sure I give him a chance to excel as much as he wants.  He’s not due to start Kindergarten until this summer, and yet his reading and math skills are at about a 2nd grade level.  I want to provide challenges for him and slowly start working toward more structured learning over the next year.

For now, I’m trying to work on establishing some structure and expectations with some fun activities.  We’re checking out LaLaLogic, a curriculum for preschoolers that focuses on critical thinking and problem solving skills, which is giving both Arianna and Elijah some time to do “lessons” like Ian without being too dry and academic.

Upcoming Reviews

Here’s what we’re taking a look at these days.  Watch for reviews soon!