Friday, January 18, 2013

Mid-year update

I cannot believe we are more than halfway through this school year.  It is amazing to me how the months fly by (even though some days seem to drag on and on).  Before I know it, I will be schooling a fourth grader and a kindergartner.
I am feeling pretty good about the progress we have made this year.  I am going to take this opportunity to record some of the things that are going well and what needs improvement.
I will start with my Graham:
Graham has far exceeded my expectations this year.  As both he and Isaac have summer birthdays, I like to give them an extra year of preschool before doing kindergarten work.  However, with how well Graham has been progressing, I think it is safe to say that we will be doing two years of kindergarten as he is definitely doing kindergarten-level work (and some first grade level work).  At the beginning of the year, one of my goals for Graham was to know letter names and sounds.  After just a couple of months using the "All About Reading" program, he has fully mastered uppercase and lowercase letters and their sounds.  At this moment, we have worked through the entire program and I am going to be purchasing the next level soon.  This will move him onto the next phase of learning to read.  I am SO excited to think Graham will be reading on his own soon!  I am so proud of him. If I were to be sending him to public school kindergarten next year, I would be sending him knowing how to already read, and that would be a great feeling!
Graham also knows all of his numbers, can write them and we are currently working on counting to 100.  He can count to 100 by tens, and can count by ones with help.
Graham is able to write his first name without help and we are currently working on his last name.
The areas I need to work further with Graham on are behavioral areas (such as getting along with his brother and being able to handle a "no" answer from mom or dad), stopping some bad-language habits that have recently developed,and furthering his spiritual development.  I need to be more disciplined about doing daily devotionals with Graham and helping him to understand the reason why we expect certain behaviors from him (because of what the Bible tells us) versus us just trying to make his life miserable! :)
Graham is having fun with some extra-curricular activities right now.  He is in Basketball (through a local church), and is taking swimming lessons.  Graham has recently also learned how to swim, so that is a huge milestone as well!
For Isaac, his progress has been less visible this year, but I know he has definitely progressed academically.
His handwriting has been a big area of improvement for him, as well as his ability to do independent work.
Isaac's biblical literacy has dramatically increased.  We have finished 3rd grade Bible already, as well as his TNT book for AWANA.  I really feel as though Isaac has a great understanding of how the Bible is laid out, and some of the main precepts within the Bible.  I think this is truly impressive for a third grader!  Isaac is just beginning Bible quizzing and I am anxious to see how he does.
Isaac needs to work on refining language arts skills, particularly proper punctuation and capitalization abilities.  Some days I feel I will surely never make it through this phase of teaching him, but I recall feeling this way about his handwriting, and now it looks so much better.  I really would like to see Isaac be able to write a short, descriptive report by the end of the year with proper punctuation and capitalization.  I may need to look for a more targeted curriculum to help him in this regard.
Isaac seems to be doing well in Math (this is through Teaching Textbooks) and according to his gradebook, is getting all "A's" in daily lessons and quizzes.  I am very thankful that this is a portion of his schooling I do not have much to do with.  Thank you, Lord for technology!
We have recently started Apologia Science, and I am really enjoying this so far (and so are the boys).

We learned about principles of flight including "Lift," "Thrust," and "Drag." We made our own gliders, flew them and recorded and averaged the length both of them went. Isaac wrote out his hypothesis for what he thought would happen beforehand.
Here is Graham working on his glider.  This experiment was timed really well for us because he recently read a book about the Wright Brothers with his dad and so some of the ideas of flight were fresh in his mind.  LOVE it when things work out like is Serendipity!

Isaac modified his design halfway into the race to make the nose of his glider more like the beak of a bird.  This was a great opportunity to talk about his glider being Aerodynamic!

Isaac is also having fun with some extracurricular activities right now.  Besides testing for his dragon belt (halfway between blue and brown) recently, he has also completed swimming lessons (where he did so well I decided he could wait awhile to do another round of lessons this summer) and is in Basketball with Graham.  As I mentioned before, Isaac just finished his TNT book for Awana and will begin Bible quizzing. Isaac also participated in a play with the local public school where he also did really well and got one of the lead roles!  I am so proud of him! Below is a photo of Isaac as one of the "Cool Cats" in the production of "Cinderella."