Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sixth Grade Homeschool Review

Ok, I am pushing through this here - I set a goal to review everything in one week and I am sticking to this goal!

Sixth grade - I am not sure about some of you who have 6th grade boys out there but mine loves to get by doing the least amount possible. He likes to get good grade and work hard, but as long as he doesn't have to do too much. This made for a great school year - at least that is what I am telling myself. And this is what we did this year and what I thought about it all.

Math: can you guess - yep Saxon Math 7/6! I love this and what I loved even more was that I told my boy that he could teach it to himself. If he had any questions come to me and I would explain it to him. I taught him that you read the lesson and then do the numbered problems - which are the review of what they just taught. Then he does the actual problems. It worked pretty good. Sometimes he would try to do the problems without reading the lesson, and I could tell when I would correct it, so I would make him explain the lesson to me and then repeat the problems he missed. He did fairly well this year - he averaged B's or around 85%. I was just pleased that he was able to understand how to use the book to his benefit and not leave the teaching of the lesson up to me. I know this may sound mean to some of you, but when you are homeschooling multiple children you have to find what will work for you, and this my friends worked for me. I also think that it taught him a valuable lesson that you can find explanations in the book. This will help him out later - I hope! Oh and I loved the daily timed tests! There is nothing like drilling those math problems into your head daily for you to understand them, and I noticed that the most with this boy.

English: Rod and Staff Following the Plan (5th grade) and then Progressing with Courage (6th grade). I am not sure if it was the school my kids were at before or if they just inherited my capabilities when it comes to English, but they were all behind. We did two lessons a day here because he remembered some stuff and caught on with the other stuff pretty quickly. In doing this I only made him do the evens or odds on the actual homework. Which for those of you who are familiar with this program it is more than enough to drill the concept into them. But I L.O.V.E.D. this program!! This was the best English program I have seen. I love how it integrated the process of writing into the lessons. And it was thorough!! I learned a few things when I was teaching him - which may not be a huge surprise, but it was nice for me. If I had to do this over I would and I would see if they had it for my younger kids instead of doing the Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons. There were worksheets and tests and homework, it did seem like a lot, but since I was cutting some stuff in half it was not too bad.

Writing: We started with Writing With Ease, but stopped that after about a month because it was not challenging at all and we were learning the writing process in our English lessons. And I do not regret this decision in the slightest. It seemed to me that the level he was doing 4 or 5, I don't recall, just had them summarize a story they read. And that was teaching him nothing about proper writing.

Spelling: We stuck with Spelling Power with this kid. He liked that he did not have to study words over and over and then take the test. This kid is a reader - I cannot keep up with what he reads, because he reads everything. (I have to hand it to all the librarians that we have had because they have helped me out a ton when trying to give him books that are good for him.) But I think that reading has helped his spelling. He did not struggle too much with this program, but there were days that he would miss a lot and it would make him frustrated and mad. With spelling power when you miss a word you are supposed to go over it numerous ways and the whole process will help you to learn it correctly - unfortunately he did not do the process all the time.

Science: He loved doing the bring science home experiments, but when we stopped them I had him do the same thing as my 4th grader - pick a topic from our science book, he used the Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science, and then do research on that topic and write a report on it. We did one topic a week. I am pleased with how this turned out, they learned things which were interesting to them, and then practiced public speaking.

Music - we are still doing piano lessons, but they are going slow. He tends to practice the song, but doesn't fix his mistakes when he makes them. Then at the lesson gets a little upset when he has to take the song over. I sit with him sometimes to help but he doesn't like that and so we usually only do that once a month. But I moved his lessons to every other week. I also am trying to find songs that he likes to play, or songs that are popular - that is when I see the most progress in his playing. But we made a deal that he could quit when he could play 12 songs from our church hymn book. We started the simplified book, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel for him.

Art: Again lessons from Dad - he drew a lot of comic like things this year.

History: Story of the World: Middle Ages. He did the same as my 4th grader, but I would have him pick a topic from what we studied that week and give us a little bit more info on it at the end of the week - another report. This was a little hit and miss throughout the year. But he loves to read and has read all of the story of the world books at least twice - so I am not worried about getting the information into him.

Typing: Same as my 4th grader, but this had mixed results. He did not really care some days and did on others. . I tried doing some handwriting because he could really use it, but what I realized was that when he wanted to he could write nice - but it was when he wanted to, which was not that often - so I abandoned that and just praised him when he did write nice.

 And there you have my 6th grade year. I have learned a lot about my kids this past year and have enjoyed and loathed this whole homeschooling process. But we made it through the year. Next year they will go into the public school here. There are multiple reasons behind this but what it comes down to is that this is what is best for them right now. I am comfortable in my decision and also excited to see how our relationship will change. I sometimes feel that they listened to me as a teacher and then when it was time for me to be a mom they were done with what I had to say.

I hope that these reviews help you out (I know that most of my stuff came from the Well Trained Mind and there is other stuff out there, but we have to use what works for us). If you have any questions about homeschooling please ask, I would love to give you an ear full about what I know and think about certain things!! ;)
Pin It! \

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fourth Grade Homeschool Review

I am on a roll here - today I have my 4th grade review for you all. This one is interesting just because of the nature of my girl. She is very determined and a little high strung which made for some very interesting days!

But here is what we did:

Math: Saxon Math 5/4, no surprise here right? But one thing I liked that changed this year was that they had timed tests for them to do daily. This really helped with getting those facts down. At first it was a little bit rough because of the complaining, but once they realized that everyday at 8:30 we would do a test they stopped complaining and just did it. And in order to motivate a little bit more there were time limits for the different tests - some were one minute and others were five minutes, if they finished in under that time they got a special treat - usually a mint cause I love those and have them around the house.

English: First Language Lessons. Again I found that she was a little bit behind where she should be, so we started somewhere in the middle of level 3. She caught on quick and we were able to get all the way through level 4. I am not an English person - like I have shared before - so this was not my favorite. I loved it when my husband was home and would do her English for me. But they work - there is good reinforcement of the concepts and a good review. We did get a little bored of the poem review, and so we would substitute a scripture or something more interesting for her. 

Writing: We did Writing With Ease like I did with my second grader. It was easy for her and she could do it by herself - except for the review questions that followed the story. I liked this because she seemed to struggle telling the story back in 2-3 sentences, she wanted to give me every detail and so that was good practice for her.

Spelling: we started out with Spelling Power, but like her brother, it was not working for her. I don't remember exactly what we didn't like, but we switched up to Spelling Workout level D. This was much better because she also needed that extra practice on the words. I think she didn't like being tested on words she had never studied before. But we liked the spelling workouts and would just continually test her on the words she missed. And there was much less complaining - which made this change fabulous!

History: Story of the World - same as with my second grader.

Science: like I said our bringing science home experiments were too much for me, so I had her work on reports. She would take our Kingfisher Encyclopedia of Science and pick a topic that was of interest to her and read up on it in there and also online and then on Friday she would give us a report of what she learned. This seemed to work really well for us. I tried my hardest to leave this up to her and not remind her to do it, which was hard sometimes, but for the most part it worked. I would make her read them to us to practice public speaking.

Art: Again lessons from Dad. She was mildly interested in the Art Treasury book, but really enjoyed learning from Dad.

Music: Piano lessons - this girl is fabulous at the piano, she will always practice each song three times, every day! I just wish, oh how I wish, that there were more students like her. The only downside is that when there is a new concept she gets frustrated easy and that is not so easy to get a long with. She started working on some simplified classical pieces which was fun for me to hear, because being a teacher I hear a lot of the same songs over and over and over and over again!

PE - we would do various things, fit deck for kids, bike riding, running, jumping on the trampoline, going to the kids gym here, going to the big gym and playing basketball, riding the scooters, etc. However in the winter we got a little bit lazy - it was just so darn cold that we did not want to even leave the house.

Handwriting/Typing: we did various handwriting worksheets, but they were like pulling teeth to try and get them done. But they really enjoyed typing practice. I would use this again. We used this website and saw some results with it - mainly increased speed and accuracy.

I would have to say that homeschooling her is easy because she is a perfectionist and likes to get things done. Granted there were some days that would take forever, and we would but heads sometimes but this worked for us. However that being said she is a social person and longs for public school and the social interaction that it provides. And living out here in the middle of nowhere she was just not getting it. Needless to say when I told her that she could go to public school next year she had quite the squeal! We will see how it goes though!

Today I got to spend some quality time with my sewing machine, so maybe I will have something cool to show you soon! But I also have my review of 6th grade I hope to do tomorrow!
Pin It! \

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Second Grade Homeschool Review

Now this is a small miracle, I am blogging two days in a row! Unfortunately I have not touched my sewing machine, but that is a different story.

Anyway, today I have my review of what we did for second grader this past year.

Math: Saxon math - love it, will never change my mind. They do such a great job in my mind. My second grader was kind of like my kindergartener, he started out highly motivated and breezed through extra pages and so we made it into the third grade book. The only thing I fell behind on was the flash cards - they were supposed to do them everyday, and I was more like every week. But we learned almost all of the multiplication tables!

English: First Language Lessons level 1 & 2. When we started the school year I tried starting him at level 2, but he knew nothing! It was bad. So we just started at level one and did two lessons a day. It wasn't too bad because they are short. If they were long we did just one. I like this, there is enough review that he really grasped the concepts. I would use it again, one of the reasons why is because it tells me what I need to say and English is not my strong point, so I really like that! But it taught my boy what he needed to know, and I feel that he is not behind like when we started the year.

Writing: We used writing with ease from The Well Trained Mind. It was pretty easy for him, but it was not very exciting. He is not a big writer and so when we would read a section of a story and then he was supposed to write his favorite part he would write a 3-4 word sentence. I have mixed feelings if I would use this again - it was one of those things that I had to remind him over and over again to do.

History: We did Story of the World vol 2 - the Middle Ages. He loved this, we read the story, did the map work, tests and then some of the activities. I like these books, and love how you can tailor them to what you are capable of. There were some weeks that we just read the story and called it good. Then there were other weeks where we had more time and got into them and did some of the extra activities. Now that we are even done with school my kids ask if I can just read them the stories every now and them - um, yes!!

Science: I used the same science book from Barnes and Noble that I used for my Kindergartener. He understood most of the concepts and would help my other boy complete the projects. Like I said before I could have done more, but you just have to draw the line somewhere.

Spelling: I started him in Spelling Power, but that was just too much for him. He needed something different. So we tried something that I had already and had never used - Abekas spelling and poetry. We did each list for a week. I had him do the activities in the book and then on other days of the week had him do different things that would help him with spelling. But man we struggled. He did not like the words and I was not completely sold on their process. I think if I had to do it over again I would look for something different. I am afraid that we might be a little behind in spelling coming next year.

Music: He takes piano lessons - from me - and we really made some progress this year. We are now in the second books level 1B, and he likes is sometimes and not so much other times - just like any boy. But I am a firm believer in piano lessons and the various ways that they help kids out and so we grit our teeth through those times and live it up on the good times!

Art: My husband is an artist and he would have them draw different things every now and then and then we would also use Usborne Art Treasury book. He really liked this, and I liked the book because it taught them about different artists and then we got to create some art similar to their famous pieces.

I think that is all we did - I could be forgetting something, my brain my not be back to its normal state of functioning! This kid is smart and would do a lot of his work on his own, which is fabulous especially when homeschooling multiple children! 

If I keep up with this tomorrow we will review 4th grade! But we might be going to the pool, so if it is not here understand - k. We have a storm coming in right now and so it is cooling off outside so I am headed out to enjoy some fun with the kids before bedtime!

Pin It! \

Homeschool Curriculum Review - Kindergarten

We made it! We finished our homeschool year! There were some good days and some bad days, but we did it, and I think everyone is happy for summer to be here. I learned a lot in the process as well. But I wanted to share with you what I thought of the different curriculums that I used for each kid. (I am doing this because I looked for a lot of these kind of things and had a hard time finding them). You can find my plan for what I was going to do here.


Math: We used  Saxon math and loved it! It was not hard at all for my boy, he even had days where he did more then the one page. By doing this we went onto the first grade book, by the time we got to that we did have to slow things down a bit because it was getting a little bit harder for him. Now I love math, I am just weird that way, so I did not follow the lesson plans that they have. I know what works for my boy so I just reviewed the concept and taught it to him in a way that I knew he would understand. I also had him do counting and flashcards every couple of days.

Reading: We used Sing, Spell, Read and Write. I like this program and had used it before with one of my other children. However, my boy did not catch on as quick as my other child. so I had to slow things down and really review concepts. My boy enjoyed the program the only thing that we both did not really like was that their books are really long - and if you have a beginning reader those long books get really long with them figuring out words. This makes for frustration and they lose interest quickly - not a good combo for a beginning reader. but we supplemented with books from the tiny library here and well we even made a few of our own! We also did sight words, and I made him practice everyday.

Now we did not finish this program, we only made it to the blends like au, ew, and ou. These were really giving him some grief and so we just went to reading books everyday and practicing our sight words. We are making progress and he is remembering a little bit about those blends now that he sees them in everyday reading. Oh, and we only used the singing part of this once - I used it everyday with my other kid, but this boy is not one for sitting and singing songs. We also watched lots of Leap Frog videos on Netflix, and those helped to reinforce a few concepts.

Writing: He drew pictures and wrote one word about them, and that was like pulling teeth. He would rather just sit and draw. so we might be a little behind next year with writing, but we will see. I did make him start writing his sight words towards the end of the year, and it was just as hard but I persisted and he started doing it with out me telling him.

History: He sat through a few stories from Story of the World, but would rather play, and I let him.

Science: We used pages from a simple book I found at Barnes and Noble. It was fun and he liked it because it involved a lot of coloring. I found that the bring science home experiments were a little bit more preparation then I bargained for and so we stopped those after about a month. I am all for simpler! My kids say I slacked on science this year, so we are going to do a few fun experiments from pinterest this summer.

All in all it was a good year, He was able to grasp reading and math which I think is the most important part of Kindergarten, we could use some work on our social skills, but hopefully that will come!

Stay tuned and hopefully tomorrow I will review what we I thought of second grade!

Pin It! \
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...