Wrapping Up Week 7 (2016-17)

weekly wrap-up
 Now that others around us are starting to go back to school, we’re getting a taste for what our school year is going to be like.  This week we had our first real Classical Conversations morning, with Ian, Elijah, and Arianna all off in their own Ian at CCclasses and me tutoring a group of 4th grade “Journeymen.”  For the most part it went really well.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy teaching, and I’ve got a great group of kids to tutor this year.  At the end of the day, my own kids were all smiles and excited about the mornings they had had with their tutors, so we’re off to a good start, and I look forward to seeing where this year takes all of us.

I also got to meet with the moms from our homeschool support group, and I’m looking forward to a year of encouragement, support, and fellowship with these awesome women of God.  We’ll be doing field trips, park days, and holiday celebrations (plus a monthly Mom’s Night Out) with these families, so I definitely don’t have concerns about “socialization.”  (Do any homeschoolers actually worry about it?  It seems like the only people who think it’s an issue are people who don’t homeschool.)

We’re still a couple weeks away from starting up our Friday music classes, and I’m also weighing whether I can squeeze in a weekly women’s Bible study, which would start in a few weeks.  There’s a homeschool room that would allow the boys to get some work done while I’m taking care of feeding my own soul, so we wouldn’t lose the morning.  My only hesitation is that it means we’d be out of the house for something every weekday, and I love being at home.  I’ll be praying about this decision.  I’m not sure what would be better for my spiritual well-being: a quiet morning at home or a time to worship and discuss the Bible at church.  Hmmm…

Enough rambling… here’s what we did this week.

Classical Conversations

Cycle 2: Week 1

As I’ve said before, this is kind of a trial year for us with CC.  I’m not willing to set aside the curriculum/style that’s been working for us, just in case we decide it’s not a good fit for our family, so I don’t plan on doing a whole lot of extras related to what we’re learning at CC.  (I realize that 6 months from now I may be kicking myself or laughing at my attempt to avoid the inevitable.)

And this week I just couldn’t resist doing at least a little to go along with our memory work.  If we have things at hand and the kids are interested, I figure I should take advantage of that.

I had printed a page from CC Connected that had pictures from Schoolhouse Rock to illustrate the 8 parts of speech for our memory work bulletin board, so of course Ian wanted to know what those were from.  I found several Schoolhouse Rock grammar videos that helped the kids learn more than just the list of terms.

Schoolhouse Rock

We also read about some of the continents in a series called Our Amazing Continents.  (I have all the books except the one on North America, and I just let the kids choose what they wanted to find out more about.)

Continents books
Finally, we read The Elephant from Baghdad, a picture book about Charlemagne.


As usual, now that we’re getting into the swing of things at home, I’m tweaking my plans a a little bit.  Our focus on biographies is turning out to be a bigger blessing than I had anticipated.  I love learning about these inspiring men and women of faith, and my kids have responded positively as well, so I’ve decided to just enjoy them, rather than making them the focus of our writing.


john wesley_zpsuzhewumnSo this week (which was supposed to be a “writing” week), I decided to thrown in a quick look at John Wesley, since he was a friend of George Whitefield, whom we read about in The Light and the Glory for Children as we learned about the Great Awakening.  The only book I have on Wesley is for older kids, so we stuck with a video.  We had watched Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story last year for a review (it’s available for free streaming for Amazon Prime members, though then you don’t get to see the documentary that comes on the DVD), but I figured no one would mind watching it again.  Now that we had some historical context, I think we all got even more about of the story, and I especially appreciated the emphasis on grace over trying to earn salvation through good works, which I think can be a hard concept for children growing up in Christian families.


IEW outlineI really want the boys to keep building upon what they learned in their writing class last year, so when a friend mentioned that she wasn’t going to use the IEW book she had bought for her children to go through this year, I decided to take it off her hands and make that the basis for our writing program this year.  We jumped right into All Things Fun and Fascinating this week, and I was impressed with how quickly the boys were able to complete the first key word outline.  I’m hoping that between this book and their daily work in Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1), Ian will be more than ready to start the Essentials program next year if we decide to stay with Classical Conversations.

For spelling practice, the boys are both working through Wordy Qwerty from Talking Fingers, Inc. and the spelling activities in Essential Skills Advantage, spending two days a week on each.  I decided I also want to start being a little more systematic about helping Ian develop his spelling skills, so we’re trying out Sequential Spelling.  (I’ll have him do this instead of ESA.)  Several people had recommended it in an online discussion I was following, and the DVD-ROM of video lessons was quite affordable on Amazon, so I figured it was worth trying.  My first impression was pretty positive.  It’s definitely not a “fun” program like I’ve been letting Ian play around on, but I saw him grasping new concepts even within the first three lessons, so I’m optimistic.  I’ll give a more thorough review in a few weeks.

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks (may contain affiliate links):