Friday, May 16, 2008

Our homeschool year in review

Homeschool wrapped up this week. To celebrate Kristin visited that friend parents love to hate, Charles E. Cheese, with the children for lunch.

I asked Kristin what are some of the surprises from homeschooling this year and some other questions, but all she would say was, "Hey, it's the day-after. At this point I'm just glad it's over." She did go on to mention some parts of the curriculum that were especially good.

Window on the World. This book features a different country on every 2 page spread. The pages are rich with lots of photographs; it's a beautiful layout. Each country is briefly described with the geography, culture, and, most importantly, how you can pray for that nation.

Kristin taught Isaiah to read using Saxon phonics and was very impressed with it. In the past we've used Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, but Saxon's material was not as complicated and more straight-forward.

I was amazed at how much the children learned about the English language using Shurley Grammar. This was our second year with this curriculum and it continues to impress us by laying a solid foundation of language skills.

The Story of the Orchestra was Grace's favorite book, she must have listened to the CD that comes with it 100 times. The book is divided into two major parts: composers from Vivaldi to Bernstein and their associated musical periods, and the instruments of the orchestra.

We were impressed with Sonlight's readers. While there were a couple of stories that were too dull to finish, the overwhelming majority were big hits with Eli and Grace. Kristin and I, along with the older kids, had a great time reading books like Cheaper by the Dozen, The Great Turkey Walk, Johnny Tremain, and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch almost every evening just before bedtime.

We still struggled with our science curriculum, and a good attempt was made at Latin but it didn't catch on for a number of reasons. On the math front, Saxon is very well done and thorough, but not popular with the kids (can math at this age ever be fun?).

I must mention the huge help we had from church friends this year. One friend came over many times to play with the younger children during school hours and another friend tutored Eli throughout the year in all sorts of subjects (handwriting, geography, bird-watching, ice-cream eating, etc) that made a huge difference! Thank you!

Last, I would be remiss if I didn't mention in this homeschool year in review how I admire Kristin for pulling all this off for 5 years straight. Some people wonder how she can teach the older three with a 2 year old and 1 year old in the house; so do I! But she does it well!

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