Thursday, June 11, 2015

Looking Back at the School Year (2014-2015)

We just completed the portfolio review for the 2014-2015 school year, which means I was recently looking over everything we've done this year. It's been interesting to look over my curriculum post on what I anticipated doing, and comparing it to what we actually did (and didn't do) and thinking towards next year.

This past year Elliott was a 2nd grader, Emory was a Kindergartner, Eleanor turned 2 and is just soaking everything up, and of course Eloise was born and completely changed up our schedule and routine!

Five in a Row
We've really enjoyed FIAR and the more we row, the more the kids get into it.  We didn't row as many books as I would have liked, since we took time off from FIAR with the baby, followed rabbit trails and did some of our own units and seasonal studies, but we still got so much out of it!  I was a little unsure if it would be "enough" but I decided to trust the process, and after just one year, I'm in love.

Truman's Aunt Farm
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
A Pair of Red Clogs
Grandfather's Journey
Little Nino's Pizzeria
Cranberry Thanksgiving
A New Coat for Anna {and Christmas in Germany}
The Glorious Flight
Katy and the Big Snow
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
The Salamander Room
Make Way for Ducklings
The ABC Bunny {Before Five in a Row}
Harold and the Purple Crayon

Why I Love Five in a Row

Elliott worked in Math U See Beta this year.  We are relaxed and do it our way, but even when we stray from MUS to try other things, he always requests to come back to it.

Emory's math has still been casual this year, but I bought him a subscription to Mathseeds and he's working through it.  We also reviewed La La Logic recently, and he's still using it. He will finish at least the online portion.

We use a variety of fun supplements like (review), Learning Wrap-Ups and Learning Palettes (review), board games, living books and of course the applied math from Five in a Row.


Reading & Language Arts
Elliott worked in Spelling You See (review) on and off, but wanted a break from it, so we also used All About Spelling, because we had it on hand.  He also requested to learn cursive, so we started with the New American Cursive review, and now he's reviewing CursiveLogic.

Emory has dabbled with Reading Eggs and First Start Reading, but also still uses Essential Skills Advantage (my review) frequently.  We will be moving forward to a full curriculum soon.

The boys write a lot of scripts, stories, and comic strips on their own.

We read plenty of quality picture books, chapter books, poetry, and non-fiction together as a family.

Language Arts

History and Science
I group these together, because outside of FIAR, we take a more natural approach to learning about the world around us.  We do nature study, and the boys are helping with the garden and the fruit trees and bushes.  We became aquarium members.  We're learning about history through a natural interest in Presidents and antiques.  We've enjoyed our journey into historical time periods through the use of quality audio productions like Under Drake's Flag and In Freedom's Cause.  Elliott is learning about electronics through the EEME course.   We travel and let the kids meet new people and look at maps and landmarks and ask questions.  It's about letting them explore and discover how and why things work, on their own terms.


Electives, Extracurriculars and Extras
The boys participated in co-op (Eleanor went to nursery) taking classes in Five in a Row, World Cultures, LEGO, and Gym with other homeschoolers.  The kids spent the year in AWANA, and the boys both finished their books.  They were all in the Christmas production and the boys nailed their speaking parts!  (Who says homeschoolers can't learn public speaking skills!?)  The boys take a homeschool gymnastics class, and Elliott spent several months taking the Boys class.  Elliott is also enjoying private golf lessons.  We've all continued to enjoy more Maestro Classics and variety of other music, and we're still trying to explore the Spanish language.  For art, we reviewed ARTistic Pursuits, but have since started back at the beginning of the first book to finish all the lessons in order, since we missed some and Emory never joined in for the first two books.  The boys also use Art for Kids Hub in their free time.  They also spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking with Dad.  They go fishing and go to amusement parks and and play outdoors and just enjoy being kids.


It's been a wonderful year.  Full of learning and fun!

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