We're getting to the time of the year where it's very difficult to keep on with the school work. Ben has completed everything I had planned for the year. Basically now we are reading every day, and he is finding art projects he wants to do, practicing his writing and playing educational computer games. Julia has finished nearly everything in her schedule as well. She finished her math review yesterday and her writing program as well. She still practices cursive every day and has her spelling book that she began mid-year. She also does French, music and art, and is playing some computer math games to practice her multiplication tables.
Rachel took her standardized test last weekend--we just mailed the results and haven't got them back yet, but I checked it over and she only got one question wrong. So that pretty much makes us want to be finished with the school year! She is still doing history, science, some language arts (though she has finished most of the elements in her program--including grammar, reading comprehension and writing. She still is doing a program called "Figuratively Speaking," which teaches literary terms, and she is still reading some Newbery classics and doing those activities) French, art and music.
We have decided a few things about Rachel's homeschooling for next year. The first is that I am passing the math and science baton to Matt. Anyone who knows me knows that math and science are not my favorite subjects, and unfortunately, the programs that I have found don't give me enough information to adequately teach them to her. If we were "school in a box" people, I could get programs that spell out every little thing--and I could bore her to death in the process. Also, because I don't enjoy these subjects, I think that I am coloring her attitude towards them--she is beginning to say she hates math or that science is boring. I think that Matt teaching her will solve all these problems. He is a great teacher and of course since he's so in love with math and science I am hoping it will be contagious. The one glitch in this plan is that since Matt works and life happens, I think she is going to get weekly megadoses of math and science, rather than spreading it out over the week the way she does now. This could cause problems, maybe, but we talked about it and she understands that Matt works this way. So wish us luck!
The next thing is about history. We have decided to go with a notebooking approach to this, because while I thought the history program she had this year was going to be interesting...it wasn't. Notebooking basically means that you choose a topic--say the American pioneers. You read lots of books about it, fiction included, and then you have free reign. You can write reports, essays, poems. You can keep a journal from the point of view of someone who was there. You can draw clothes, maps or pictures of homes, write about what people did for fun, how they worked. You can write about famous people, battles, weapons, etc. Basically the point is to make history be more than a bunch of dull facts. The child comes away with a keepsake for each time period. It will be a real scrapbook of lessons and I think it will make history stick far better than reading a text and taking multiple choice quizzes will. I haven't decided yet, but Julia may go that route too.
And so the school year winds down. One of the best parts of homeschooling is that we can be flexible at this time of year. We know that we've worked hard since September and haven't wasted the amounts of time that schools do, and so when the work is finished, we will start our summer break. No silly weeks of half days, watching movies in the cafeteria or having field days. We also still have clubs and activities going through the end of June, and field trips planned. And most of the days are too nice to sit inside. So we're excited and looking forward to summer!