Friday, January 9, 2015

Week 21 ~ New Start and New Goals

This is our first week back to school in the New Year, and it is also the first week of the second half of our school year. There is a mouthful! I did a lot of evaluating and thinking over the break. I knew we needed to make some changes. I love literature and history. I can easily take us on a long journey into learning with a literature-related unit study. There is nothing wrong with that except that my children need more of the basic academics. They can read, write and do math, but not extremely easily and well. Tom Sawyer can read very well and far above grade level, but his writing skills are poor. He is a little bit behind in math but catching up fast. Although Little Red Riding Hood has come leaps and bounds in reading over the last year, she is still a struggling reader. She is starting to show a desire to read on her own time, which is a huge part of the battle. Her writing skills are better than Tom Sawyer's, but her spelling is scary. She is right on target when it comes to math.

Our theory for years now has been slow and steady wins the race.

With middle school on the horizon for one and the other already there ~ slow and steady needs an upgrade!

So...we are spending the rest of the year really concentrating on the basics. 
  • That means math two or three times a day!
  • That means a new spelling program for Little Red Riding Hood ~ I am going back to using A Reason for Spelling.
  • That means more time spent reading.
  • That means several essays a week.
  • That means a co-op class in math for Little Red Riding Hood (to encourage her to love what she is already good at) and a co-op class in writing for Tom Sawyer (to encourage competition and motivation to persevere). 
  • That means each child finishing about eight grammar, spelling, comprehension, and creative writing workbooks by the end of the year.
I know they are capable of the workload. I also know that our family is coming back from the brink of a full emotional breakdown ~ some of us fell all the way into the emotional breakdown. We are a family that is exhausted, distracted by some large real life problems, still very stressed, and unsure of what the future holds for our daughter (Goldilocks) and therefore for ourselves. So I am not going to turn into a slave driver. However, I am going to make sure that the above list is the priority. I have made plans for only one literature study this five week unit. History is being reviewed through books that Daddy reads to the kids at night and watching CNN Student News each day. Science is still being determined, but it will not be the physics course we have been doing. I hope to announce science next week. 

Doing workbooks in the car while waiting for the orthodontist.

I am really proud of the kids this week. They haven't rebelled at all and are taking all of the changes in stride. I think they understand that I am making them work harder on the basics now so that next year will be smoother.

This is what we did this week ~ 
  •  We did five chapters in Life of Fred Ice Cream.
  • We read three chapters in our unit study From The Mixed -Up Files on Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
  • We completed all of the Veritas Press worksheets that go with the chapters we read in our unit study.
  • We are halfway through An Elephant in the Garden ~ A true story that takes place in Germany during World War II.
  • Tom Sawyer did 13 Teaching Textbook math lessons this week and one quiz.
  • Little Red Riding Hood did five Teaching Textbook math lessons.
  • Many workbook pages were done in grammar and spelling.
  • Tom Sawyer took five spelling tests with 100% accuracy. 
  • The kids completed a 150 word essay for their dance class on Fred Astaire.
  • The kids completed their presentation on Madagascar ring-tailed lemurs for Culture Club.
  • They will present their paper and artwork at Culture Club later today.
  • We listened to CNN Student News every day.
  • Little Red Riding Hood finished a chapter book, Sister 8 Jackie's Jokes.
Blessings, Dawn


  1. I always like to see what you're doing in your homeschool -- I'm thinking of Life of Fred for Grant - as a supplement to his Saxon because he loves math so much.

    Praying for you as you try to kick things up a notch, but still retain sanity and peace for your precious family.

  2. Sounds like a plan! Loving your header picture! Peace to your homeschool this year!

  3. What great plans you have to encourage their strengths and shore up the weaknesses. You are very attentive to their needs and always ready to adjust when needed. I love to read how you are helping your children fulfill their potential. Have a great weekend!

  4. Car school! Sam spends time each week doing school in the van while his sister is at band practice. Good use of time, right? No one is bored...Adjustments are perks of homeschooling - we don't have to continue doing what doesn't work and can try something that might. Our kids are quite blessed to have an individualized education!

  5. Well done you for recognising your children's weak areas and setting forth a plan to strengthen them. Just make sure you are looking after you too.xx

  6. I FOUND YOU!!! This is Belinda from A Blessed Heritage. I am whipped out and it's late so I won't go through and read now, but just excited that we were able to reconnect, and I'll be back!! Blessings to you, dear Dawn.