Monday, November 8, 2010

Progress: the first two months of the 2010-11 school year.

When you are homeschooling, sometimes the progress is almost invisible. It's sort of like when your kids grow. When you see someone you haven't seen in awhile, and they remark, "Wow, they have really gotten taller!" you are a little surprised because you didn't notice. It happened so slowly, that it was almost invisible. So it is with teaching your children and watching them learn. Sometimes, I want to pound my head against a wall because it seems to be so pointless. Other days, I swear they would be better off in school. But then, I get those glimpses of moments when I am absolutely amazed by the progress. I stop and consider where we were last week, last month, last year, and I am proud. Proud of my sons for learning and working so hard and proud of myself for having the diligence (through Christ) to keep going when the days are so long and seemingly fruitless. Isaac is really excelling in math this year, which is a complete surprise to me. He is almost done with a full level of Math, and is almost ready for the next. Reading has been a little slower, but I have been making myself remember where we were even at the start of school, and he has progressed substantially. He is reading brand new material with very little help, and his expression is improving. His reading comprehension has always been incredible. Even when he was poking around at every other word, he was understanding what he was reading (even when I had long since tuned out!). We are still working on accuracy. Isaac does better with sounding out words in the context of the sentence. Again, this could be the reading-comprehension thing. Right now, I am really trying to drill home long and short vowels. He has weeks where he is better with long vowels, and weeks where he is better with short. I suspect that eventually it will all come together for him. He has also expressed interest in reading alone, which is the first time he has done this. He asked me to purchase star wars early-readers for him (which I did) and he said he wanted them in his room where he could read them alone. Writing progress has been a bit slow. The A Beka curriculum starts out with cursive in first grade. Isaac was doing fine with cursive, but I noticed his printing was really lacking, so I decided to go back to printing until after Christmas, and then we will pick up cursive once again. We have done several unit studies. We have studied Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs, Knights and Castles and we are currently doing a study of the human body. Some of Isaac's lapbooks (click to enlarge): I am also enjoying working with Graham on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. We do our work when Isaac needs a break. I have also been doing mini-unit studies and lapbooks with him. We did "Mrs. Wishy Washy" for a week, where we learned about clean and dirty, how to wash our hands, and what things belong in the city versus the country. We did a lapbook on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" also for a week, where we did story sequencing, comparing sizes, and we did lots of other fun stuff (there are lots of learning possibilities with this book!). We also checked out tons of other Eric Carle books which we have been reading at night. Graham is currently doing the human body study with Isaac and I, and his lapbook components are obviously geared to a pre-school level. Some of Graham's lapbooks: Today, I traced each of their bodies on paper (I knew that old seamless paper from my photo sessions would come in handy someday!) and they got to decorate them any way they liked. Thank goodness Graham did not use primarily red, otherwise his would have looked like a crime scene. Isaac has been doing really well with scripture memorization for AWANA this year. He recently completed the 23rd Psalm: