Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mid-Year Homeschool Update & Routine

I don't know about other homeschool families, but after Christmas break, I always find myself changing things.  It's a good time to shake free of the things that bog us down, and look for new and exciting ways to learn.  Of course, it might be the "middle" of our school year, but it's the beginning of a new Schoolhouse Review Crew year, so there's bound to be some interesting developments as the year progresses!  I already have what I think will be fabulous products lined up to review, and I'll actually talk a little about some of them today.

Morning Routine

Elliott - Third Grade - Original 3rd Grade Plans
Elliott is making good progress!  Since I know his learning style, there haven't been any changes to his core.

Math:  Math U See Gamma - He's halfway through the lessons, even with our extended Christmas break, and might possibly finish early.

Spelling:  He finished the first level of All About Spelling (we switched to AAS at the very end of last school year) and is plowing through Level 2.  He's on pace to finish it several weeks early.

Language Arts:  I did add Sheldon's New Primary Language Lessons a few weeks ago.  (It's an independent review for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.)  It's very gentle and Charlotte Mason friendly.  Right now we're doing 4 days/week, but we'll cut down to 2 days next week due to the addition of a writing curriculum!  It's a 3rd-6th grade level program, so he's got plenty of time to finish it.

Writing:  Here to Help Learning is a new crew review that we're starting next week!  It's designed to be used 2 days a week, and she suggests easing up on other language arts subjects those days, which is why we'll reduce grammar instruction.

Penmanship:  He finished his cursive book, but he still needs to work on penmanship in general, so I'm on the lookout for something good.

Emory - First Grade - Original 1st Grade Plans
Emory is the one that had the most changes. He's a young first grader, and this is our first "official" year, so we're still fleshing out how he learns best.

Language Arts:  I dropped PAL during the break, because I found it time intensive and scattered.  I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to review Logic of English Foundations.  This is another current review for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  We're still early into it, but since he's not a "new" reader, he's working quickly through the early lessons.  It covers reading and handwriting.

AWANA:  He also studies and works on memorization each day.

Math:  Horizons had to go.  I'm used to mastery-based, and spiral was driving me batty.  Right now we are reading Life of Fred since I had the first couple books, and I have him do occasional worksheets for reinforcement.  I'm probably going to switch him into Math U See at some point soon, because I prefer consistency of them doing the same program.

Logic:  He's also doing LaLaLogic.  We don't do it as written, he just does a "week" or two of the online activities each day because he wants to mark off all 100 weeks.

Eleanor - Preschool - Original Preschool Plans
She just turned 3 and she begs to "do school like the boys" so I usually do preschool activities with her on and off throughout the week.  No set time, just when she asks, or needs her love tank filled before I start a project with the boys.  Sometimes we do an art activity, sometimes preschool toys, and sometimes we do Before Five in a Row, or use her Favorite Preschool Apps.  Simple and low-key.

Afternoon Routine

I aim to be finished with both boys by noon so that we can have lunch and some downtime to break up our day.  If I time it right, Eloise will go down for a nap and we'll begin our afternoon activities together.  It takes us about an hour, unless we do an art project or something more involved.  These were my rather lofty family curriculum choices.  The reality is that we do two afternoon activities most days.

Grapevine Studies - This was a review we absolutely loved!  We're about to start a new review as well, so be on the lookout!

Five in a Row - This covers the bulk of our science and social studies, as well as some of our language arts, practical math and art.
**I try to align ARTistic Pursuits with FIAR because Elliott prefers it
**For music, we primarily listen to Maestro Classics, and we did a focused Tchaikovsky composer study with our Christmas row.

Once afternoon school is complete, we tidy up the house and then they are free to peruse activities of their choice until dinner.

The Other Stuff

Co-op:  The kids love it!  The boys did LEGO club last semester, but there won't be any clubs this time.  Emory will continue to have Music, Sign Language, PE and US Geography.  Elliott will continue with Art, Science, PE and Spanish.  Eleanor moved up from 2's to the 3's class, and she will have a simple Story/Activity and Free Play, and then I teach a combined 3-4 year old music class.

Elliott continued his golf lessons until time change and winter weather made it difficult, but before the break, his coach was talking about competitions this year.  We'll see how that goes, but either way we plan to resume lessons in the spring.

As a family we do field trips and movies and random projects together, and of course we get a variety of games and audio dramas and things to review that work well for family time.  We just started our new audio drama last night - The Dragon and the Raven!

This was week "M" for Blogging through the Alphabet.  See what others are sharing!

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  1. I'm looking forward to starting the LOE Foundations A with my 5 year old. I feel like I am always swapping things up, lol! Looks like some great plans.

    1. The Crew really helps us change things up when we need it, but if something works, I try not to mess with it!