After a couple of weeks off we are slowly getting back into our school schedule. Last week the crew enjoyed some time off from studies but I made them work and declutter their rooms!! We also cleaned out one of the bathrooms and nearly all of the closets before I came down with Littlest’s cold. The cold put an end to my tasks I had hopes to complete before we started back to school…oh well. Poor Sparkles has almost no clothing after we cleaned out her closet. I went down stairs to get clothing for her out of the hand-me down bins and discovered her bin was completely empty! Nnnnoooo!!! I just stared at the empty box for a while in disbelief. We are going to have to go shopping and soon. We’ll make a girl’s day of it and have some fun.
I evaluated the first half of our school year during the break. For the most part I am really happy with the way the academic year is turning out. We finished up our studies of the Gospels with Christian Light Education so I added Apologia’s “Who Is God” for the second half. We are only a week into it but the crew seems to like it so far. Oldest finished up his reading curriculum for Christian Light Education and is now starting his was through Beautiful Feet Books intermediate Character studies. He’ll have writing prompts in his reading response log to do for the rest of the year. He’ll finish up that set of books in about five or six weeks and then he’ll pick some books from The Well Trained Mind.
My biggest curriculum disappointment this year is Zeezok’s Music Appreciation. After completing four (out of seven) books we decided to skip the rest of the lap books. Other than busy work the crew just wasn’t getting anything out of them. I think the lap books could be improved by not having all of the information already filled in on the cut-outs. The assembly of the books was also starting to get complicated and seemed more like engineering
projects…fun for Oldest but very frustrating for Sparkles. The workbooks are fine but not really necessary. We like the biographies and the music disks. We will finish up the last biography next week. I really wanted to like this curriculum and so did the kids. If you are considering it then my recommendation is to just get the biographies and then listen to the music on YouTube.
On Sunday we began the first of a year long nature study of the back yard. It turned out to be a cold and rainy day but we went out for about an hour anyway. I’ve wanted to add nature study for a year or so. I wasn’t sure how to really go about the study but figured we should just get started. I did get the winter bundle from Shining Dawn Books to help us get started. We explored the trees around the house and completed a conifer scavenger hunt. We puzzled over several discoveries and spent extra time this week looking up some of our questions and identifying trees. One of our oak trees had these round bulbs on nearly all the branches. We learned these are sometimes called oak apples and are caused by a gall wasp. Everyone picked an evergreen and a deciduous tree to study for the year.
Another unit study I added for the winter is a free study of the Iditarod. The Teacher on the Trail website has free lesson plans, worksheets, and other ideas for making a unit study out of the race. This week the crew each picked out their own musher to follow and did some research. They will write a friendly letter to their chosen mushers wishing them success on the upcoming race. We are going to make a map of the trail next week and begin a couple of the physical fitness challenges I found in the lesson plans. Tomorrow we will go to the library and look for some books to go along with our study. If you have a recommendation for a good book please share!
This week Littlest worked on his Kindergarten workbooks everyday since his preschool doesn’t start-up until next week. He is a demanding little student!!! We had a few clashes of the will the first couple of days. Once he understood I wasn’t going to back down on certain things he settled into a routine. He likes to pick who is going to read to him each day. Now that we have included him a bit into our school day he is content to stay with us during all read aloud times. He especially loves looking at the pictures in the Adventures of Odysseus book Oldest is studying. Littlest was also the first to comment that Niccolo Paganini must have been sad when his father would lock him in his room to practice the violin for several hours a day. I was surprised Littlest was actually paying attention!
Littlest also decided he wanted to start practicing the piano too. So every morning during math and music time he sits at the piano and practices finding middle C and playing the C, D, E keys with fingers 1,2, and 3 (thumb, pointer and middle finger of right hand). Sometimes he will even sit with one of his older siblings while they practice. Once he can actually find middle C on his own and can play the notes we will teach him to use fingers I, 2, and 3 on his left hand and play C, B, A.
Now that it is January it is time for me to start planning next for my trip to the homeschool convention in Cincinnati and deciding on curriculum for our next academic year. The speaker list is out and I am very excited that Rea Berg of Beautiful Feet Books will be at the convention this year!!! I am really excited to hear her speak and haunt their booth!!! The sisters at the monastery have graciously invited Mrs. Cuddle-me and I to stay with them again this year and I am looking forward to seeing them again as well.
Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers