Friday, September 27, 2013

Week 9 ~ End of Quarter One

I can hardly believe that we are finished with the first 9 weeks of school already. Where did the time go? We had a good first quarter. We did a great job consistently doing math, grammar, creative writing, literature, art, music and life skills. For the most part, we stuck to our plans. We are only slightly behind in our American history. We were supposed to be done with the "Roaring Twenties", but we are still in the middle of WWI. I had hoped to cover Frank Lloyd Wright before our break, but we are very consumed with our own local architecture and did not get to him yet. Also, we haven't gotten to Marie Curie yet. She was meant to be a big part of our science this quarter. For this reason, science was much lighter this quarter than my two "science nuts" prefer. It is all good! One of the huge blessings in homeschooling is being able to delve into things as much as you want. Slowing down just means we are learning and living a full life!

Little Red Riding Hood (9) ~ My girl had a really good first quarter. She thrived in our new homeschooling structure. She completed an entire Explode the Code book and is looking forward to my ordering another. She only made it through a small handful of chapter books this quarter, but they were all 4.1 to 4.6 grade level, according to bookwizard. She is still a very slow reader so I will be making reading one of her main goals next quarter. I will also be working hard with her on spelling. She did excellent with math with a 98% accuracy in Teaching Textbooks level 4. Her typing is coming along and she is narrating very nicely what we are learning. Her attitude this year is improving. However, it is still best that she doesn't know right away when she is getting things wrong. Her perfectionist side rears its head and she will do no more until she has had a good cry about whatever is going wrong. She is loving gymnastics and her tween classes at the dance company. She loves her new ballet instructor and thinks the bar work is GREAT! She will have at least three different dances in the "Nutcracker" this year. Everyone comments on her delightful flexibility, but she really still needs to concentrate on balance and strength. Gymnastics is helping with balance. She is learning to do a split and cartwheel on the balance beam (she has been doing splits and cartwheels on the ground since she was 5).

Tom Sawyer (11) ~ I am proud of the accomplishments Tom Sawyer has made this first quarter. He has read 12 chapter books (more if I included books that he re-read). They were all 5.5 to 6.9 grade level. He remained steady in math and language arts. He has always been bright, but I am happy to see him becoming a more solid student. He is doing a better job getting the "not so exciting" work done. He is working hard to keep his hands in the right place while typing and his speed is increasing. He is still struggling with creative writing and has lots of trouble thinking up what to say. He is sitting still and being much less disruptive this year. The removal of Goldilocks from the two younger children's lessons has impacted Tom Sawyer the most. He is a much better student and is no longer the class clown of our little homeschool. It is amazing to me how much the negative sibling dynamics between Goldilocks and Tom Sawyer were impacting his studies. His complaining about school has almost ceased and he gets right to work on the day's lessons. He has good insight with our literature and history lessons and answers the questions much better than last year. He is also enjoying gymnastics and boy theater. He is a bit disappointed that there are only two boys in his theater class. He even has hinted that he might want to go back to ballet if the class does not increase.

Goldilocks ~  What a change there has been by schooling this one in her room! She is doing a much higher quality of work than I have ever seen out of her. Mind you, she is still working/struggling in third grade curriculum when she is supposed to be in seventh grade. However, I am delighted to see her putting some effort into her studies. She is writing, reading and doing math every day. I am happy to see some progress in spelling, typing and book reports. The weekly book reports are filled with typos, but her thought process is very slowly improving. She is using the word "and" more appropriately in sentences (instead of a dozen in one sentence). She is reading at least one chapter book a week. They are mostly Magic Tree House books, which are 2.6 to 3.0 grade level. She really wants to read the Royal Diary series and is struggling through one of those books right now. They are 5.9 grade level. I am really happy to see her desire to learn increasing. I have always thought that if she could drop her lousy attitude, learning would be easier for her. She is still having tons of attention issues. Her tutoring is going well in math. Goldilocks has made the biggest improvement in vocabulary, likely as a result of the many audio books she listened to this quarter. She has completed the entire Narnia series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Freaky Friday, The Wind in the Willows, and Ballet Shoes.

Our American Girl Doll Club ~ The most exciting thing this week was the second meeting of our American Girl Doll Club. The kids finished learning about Rebecca. They learned how to crochet chains. Now, they need to learn a new stitch or we are going to have yarn chains as long as our house! I never thought they would take to it the way they have. We also made bagels from scratch. This is a very hard project without a Kitchen Aid mixer, which I don't have. (I guess we had an authentic experience since they wouldn't have had such things in turn of the century America -- especially not in the poorer neighborhoods.) They came out pretty well and everyone enjoyed them. I think it was a bit too much flour and yeast for Tom Sawyer. He was off for a while even with the use of supplement, GlutenEase.

Favorite Book this Quarter ~  Our favorite book was listening to War Horse. What a superb book about the first World War! It kept us on the edge of her seats until the very end (which was mostly happy or at least a relief). We have not seen the movie so I do not know if it is good. I don't think we will either. There are many deaths of horses and men in this story. I do not think the kids are up to the graphics that movies add. It is best just for them to imagine it the way they have. Anyway, this story was probably our favorite for the first quarter.

Homegrown Learners

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Woo-hoo Little Red Riding Hood! Great Job!

  2. It's so great to hear about everyone's good work. War Horse is a tough movie to get through. I wouldn't let my kids watch it if they were still in elementary school. I think the only WWI movie they got through at that age was Sgt York.

  3. I love the picture of LRRH. My James is just like your G. He should be in seventh grade. I held him back to sixth, but he reads at about a second grade level. It makes it hard to know what to do in his school work.

  4. Mastering the split and cartwheel on the beam are definitely difficult!!! Looks like she's getting good at it!!! I really hope to add some of the American Girl history to my year at some point but not yet its just so busy! I love reading about how you are doing it though and that there are activities on the side!!! I think the kids learn a lot from the hands on stuff that comes along with the books makes it much more memorable!!! :) Ohhh - and I tried to make bagels before it was pretty fun. I just saw a recipe for wheat thin like crackers -- its on my to do list!

  5. It sounds like everyone is mostly right on track! And the better work and attitudes are a win-win! My 8 1/2 year old is finally reading Level 3 books. It's taken a long time to get there (or so it feels). I'm so glad we're out of the Level 2's because *I* need new books! LOL Bagels look yummy! I've thought about making them before but they seemed to be a lot of work...even with a bread maker! LOL

  6. It is so wonderful to hear the smile of a job well done in your writing voice. I am so pleased for you and your family. It must be incredibly satisfying to see everything chugging along nicely!

  7. Oh it really sounds like a great quarter! I am happy to hear that the attitudes are improving and the children are all advancing. The American Girl club does seem to be a big hit and is a fantastic idea. I've considered making gluten free bagels at home, but even with a kitchen aid mixer it sounds like entirely too much work. Lol. Good job with yours!

  8. So glad to hear about Goldilock's improvements. Love the typewriter - it brings me back!

  9. I'm glad things are going so well! Great job on doing what is best for each of them! :-) Your AG club sounds like fun. We spent a year studying AG and is was delightful! Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm adding it to my list to read during our WW studies.