Thursday, June 21, 2012

June Wrap Up

Well we survived our first "official" year of homeschool!  It really was an easy transition from the pre-k things we did the previous year.  We just added a bit more structure and specific programs for math and handwriting.  My two main goals this year were to get W started reading and writing.  I am really happy with the progress he made this year.  He can do copywork and write his name now.  He still needs some more phonics instruction but he knows lots of sight words and does pretty well with the simple BOB books. 



What worked...
I really enjoyed the curriculum we chose.  We completed (most of) Five in a Row Vol. 1 and part of Vol. 2.  Reading these classic picture books with the boys was really fun.  It surprised me that some of the books I thought they would love got a lukewarm reaction, but some I wasn't sure about were big hits.  (Ping!) All the (free) extension activities on Homeschool Share and various homeschool blogs made it easy.  There were so many great ideas to choose from.

I like this scripture memory system.  We didn't get through many verses so far but I am definitely going to continue to use this from here on out.

Math-U-See and Handwriting Without Tears both lived up to their good reputations.

Starfall.com was a favorite with both boys.  I used it as an incentive to get through our seatwork.  Once W finished they could play on there for 30 minutes or so.  I paid for the full access version of the site.  They have lots of great phonics and math activities among other educational games and songs.

Mostly I enjoyed the flexibility that homeschoolilng afforded us this year.  We didn't do "school" (meaning seatwork) everyday but we did hit about 4 days a week on average with our basics.  Sometimes we could fill in on Saturday if we missed a day.  Nature class, story time and other activities outside of the home rounded things out.  Reading and learning are a part of our everyday life regardless of what is on the lesson plan!


What didn't work...
Keeping the 2yo occupied was a real challenge!  And when he was occupied with busy bags or whatnot, the other always wanted to be doing what the little one was.  I am hoping that next year he will either be able to do some simple workbook pages or entertain himself for that period of time when W needs 1-on-1 instruction.

Me getting sick.  Sick mama = Chaos

Circle time, while a good idea, didn't seem to jive with the 5yo.  I liked the routine of starting our school time with some hymns and songs, but it didn't last past the first quarter of the year.  Will have to tweak this next year.

And for Next Year...
Still pondering this one.  I would like to join some sort of support group or co-op for the social aspect, but my feelings on co-ops are a whole 'nother post.  While I love the Charlotte Mason style, I am a bit overwhelmed by all the reading and narration that is required for the year 1 plans.  We are only half way through FIAR Vol. 2 so I might continue with that while slowly adding in some more CM principles.  I will continue with the math and handwriting programs.  I have heard great things about Explode the Code phonics workbooks so they will likely be added in as well.  My grand plans of continuing regular instruction until baby #3 is born (EDD 7/7!!!) have been put aside this month.  The nice weather and my crazy active boys have had us out and about most mornings.  It's been beach, berry picking, playdates, park, children's museum and repeat!