Wednesday, May 31, 2017

last day of school 2016/2017

 We sort of officially but not really ended school on Thursday May 11, 2017. Ha! Evie genuinely did finish on the 11th. Samuel was actually done the previous week. Noah still has Math and Latin to finish. Also I have some reading that I want to get through this summer. But I took photos of the kids that day! :D

So...we're never really done but for all intents and purposes, May 11 was the day I put most of the books away. 

Our school room never looked like this due to piles of books and coloring supplies and toys and dog chew toys and junk but after I put everything away, it looks pretty nice.

The first day of this school year began August 22, 2016. Evie went 36 weeks, Samuel 35, and Noah of course is still going. We take less breaks than the public system because we also take Fridays off since that's Terry's day off, but we get all our stuff done.

We covered the ancients history time period this year. All together during breakfast we listened to Classical Conversations facts covering history, science, grammar, latin, math, geography, and english. Now, we don't memorize these facts like some students do, which is just incredible. We just cover them briefly and that's good enough for me. Next we read one or two history cards. 

Next we would read an ancient book all together. First we covered Greek Myths, then The Illiad, and finally The Odyssey. We started reading More Than a Carpenter at the end of the year but I ran out of steam.

Noah and Evie would get up at 730am and do their math prior even to breakfast. After eating and our various reading all together, we would descend to the school room and begin everything else that was found in these binders. Samuel's is top left, then Evie's, and finally Noah's is the biggest on the bottom. Anything they read they had to write about and place inside, as well as Spelling and Grammar sheets.

Last day of school for Noah! He is finishing 6th grade and turned 12 on April 19. Whoa. He's a smart, hard working boy, who is a perfectionist to the core. Unfortunately he gets a double dose from his two eldest born parents who need to learn to ease up. I have had a very difficult year of being a homeschool mom and have felt daily like a huge failure, like I'm doing more harm than good, that I should just give up, that I'm the worst mom out there, that God will not save my kids, that He's out to get me, etc. Clearly, these are all lies but I fall for them regularly. It was good to go over everything we've accomplished this year and see that hopefully, it was not all in vain. Still I cry out daily for the Lord to redeem my innumerable mistakes. I'm not being modest here. I am such a failure at parenting! My kids are beyond gracious though. Just yesterdag, while I was going about lunch I always do, making their ordinary meals, Evie and Noah were both randomly saying how much they loved me and what a great mom I am. Seriously guys? I mess up so much! What about when I am mean and a bad mommy? To myself I thought about the bad behaviors they have that are a large part my fault. Their poor reactions are my poor reactions. My snappiness, my zero patience, my ability to see only the faults and not the good things. But Noah said even when I mess up they forgive me and move on. Gah! They are so stinking sweet!!!

This was Noah's pile of books. 
1. Usborne Ancient History
2. Apologia Science: Astronomy and Flying Creatures
3. Critical Thinking
4. First Form Latin
5. Spelling Workout F and G
6. Math x 2: Zeta Decimals and Percents (review and finishing last year's) and Epsilon Fractions (nearly done with this now)
7. Classical Conversations Essentials grammar chart (Essentials of the English Language)
not pictured 8. Institute of Writing

Lots of Latin books. I did pretty bad at keeping up with him on this. Maybe next year...

This year Noah and I attended 24 weeks of Grammar, Writing, and Math review through Classical Conversations Essentials program for two hours nearly every Monday at First Assembly church. I did it to give Noah some classroom experience and see how I liked CC and their program. Overall it was a good experience and perhaps I'll have Evie do it in a couple years but for now, I'm good with staying home. CC is super intense and I'm not ready for that workload with four kids and a husband in the ministry. 

Here are a few photos of Noah's last day of Essentials class. Below he is reading his research paper (they always presented their papers).

A lot of families came to listen.

This is actually two Essentials classes and some are dressed up as the person from antiquity they presented. We combined second semester sometime. Originally he had only seven in his class. 

Below are Noah's Essentials books. The writing book on the left was beneficial for Noah since writing has always been difficult for him, as is speaking (he's stronger in Math). The notebook in the middle is the only one I have left since I borrowed the others from Faith, but it was for grammar. He learned a whole ton that I couldn't keep up with. That was good. The book on the right is all the papers he wrote this year.

This is the first page of Noah's final paper on Leonardo da Vinci. He had to use three or four sources, write a bibliography, and incorporate all the elements he's learned his year from a huge checklist, in addition to writing it from a specific formula Institute of Writing teaches. Not bad. Again, seeing this makes me feel better about the year.

Noah, Evie, and I read all of these ancient historical fiction books this year. I bought way too many and we didn't get through more than a third of them. These were very good though. Every day I would read a chapter (or two or three or four) and then Noah and Evie would do the same. Then they'd write a quick one or two sentence summary. When they'd finish a book I'd have them write a book report. I wasn't picky about any of it, I just wanted them to practice identifying the main points. Noah has really come a long way in doing that this year. 
An example of one of his book reports.

On to Evie. She finished third grade this year and turned nine on March 31. She is an all around good student. She excels where there are words and in fact, she says she wants to be an author (and a detective, and a hot chocolate maker). Math is a little harder for her. So she and Noah are opposites that way. 

My little squish with all her books. 
1. Prima Latina
2. First Language Lessons Grammar level 3
3. Spelling Workout E and F
4. Gamma Multiplication (review and completed from last year)
5. Delta Division (half way through but ahead so we stopped)

An excerpt from one of Evie's book reports.

Evie, Samuel and I read these books, except for the top history Middle Ages book which we will do this summer...hopefully.
1. Story of the World: Ancients
2. Science: Green Thumbs
3. Science: Human Body
4. Science: Animals

Samuel completed Kindergarden (sort of) and turned 6 on February 1. Samuel has had trouble with speech since he was old enough to talk. I knew last year, when he finished Speech Preschool that this year might be challenging. It started out just fine when we were just memorizing sounds and moved on to very small words. But it got progressively more difficult the more we added to the words. He'd forget words he already knew and wasn't able to blend sounds at all. I began to lose my cool (and my temper) after the new year. I had a very bad day sometime in February and decided to just stop. We took a week off and then went back to the beginning, working on one lesson per week. I also found a woman on a Facebook homeschool group looking to tutor someone Samuel's age with reading difficulties and perhaps dyslexia. I contacted her right away.
He's holding two Legos that he got from his tutor as a reward.

I wondered if it was the phonics program I was using below but it had worked so well for Evie. Maybe he just needed something different? What would help him?
1. The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading - I liked this a lot with Evie.
2. Primer - we had it almost all the way through but need to do it again next year.
3. Bede's History of Me - We made it only a third of the way through. I may try again next year.

So from mid-February on we worked our way back through lesson 42. He did much better the second time maybe due in part to the white pack of cards we did every day - a review of every word he had learned. The colored cards are a part of a rhyme he learned for the alphabet letter names and sounds. He did excellent with memorizing - he proved this in Awana Sparks this year too, he got better and better as the year went on.

We had Samuel tested for dyslexia through another homeschool mom and he qualified for it. But before he could start this specific program called Barton, he had to do their sort of primer or preschool program, Foundation in Sounds. So we had Mrs. Smith come over twice a week beginning in March or thereabouts and she went through the 12 lessons with him. Samuel loved her, and for good reason. She was super peppy and happy and friendly and encouraging, plus, she brought him toys every week! It was great. My workload with Samuel was lessened at a time when I was not handling life well at all and he very much looked forward to his hour with her. 

They worked through this chart. 

She made us this adorable little booklet with all of his progress in it.  

Some pictures of Samuel in the front. 

Most of the lessons they went through. 

And a note all about Samuel. In the end, we both agreed that we didn't think Samuel had/has dyslexia. We could be wrong, but it doesn't seem to quite fit. I wonder if he just needs more time and maturity. We shall see next year. Hopefully he's more ready. I have heard from many people that boys especially are more ready to read at seven or even eight.  

Ezra completed a free-roaming hands off preschool this year (ha ha ha) and is turning four TODAY! Most days Ezra played by himself until Samuel was done with school and could join him. When it was nice out, he or the two of them would play outside for long periods of time.

Here are all the books we didn't read this year, for goodness sakes! I would like to read the history book on top this summer for sure and ideally many of these books. Already I need to get started... But for now, I am very, very much enjoying the break. Already I feel better!

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