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Our Homeschool Mid-Year Review – What Is (And Isn’t) Working
We officially started homeschooling about mid-August so here we are now, about four months into grade 1 and three-year-old preschool.
My main reason for starting this blog in the summer was to document out journey, I’m one of those people that likes to write out what I’m going through (like with our adoption). I also thought it would be a good place for me to come back to in June when I have to send in a portfolio of what we did this year (instead of beating my head against the table wishing I would have taken better notes).
Even though December isn’t quite the middle of the year I thought I’d take some time to write a bit of a mid-ish-year review and share a few things that have and haven’t been working and a few things I’ve been discovering along the way.
We have just started an almost complete schedule/system change which I plan on sharing after we’ve been implementing it for a bit, that should be coming some time in January.
OUR FIRST HOMESCHOOL YEAR: MID-YEAR REVIEW:
WHAT HAS BEEN WORKING
POETRY TEA TIME
Poetry tea time has been one of our favorite things so far this year. Each week both the kids look forward to it. This will definitely be continuing for the second half of the year. If you missed it you can read how we do our fun and simple poetry tea time here.
WORLD HISTORY IN A YEAR
We started out doing some ancient history and are on to the middle ages right now, we’ve mostly just been reading a lot of books on the subjects and documenting a bit of it on our timeline. I was originally thinking of doing The Story of the World which separates history into four sections and you study one a year for four years and then repeat them going more in-depth (so you would study ancient history in grade 1 and then again in grade 5). I think it’s a good idea but seems like a long time to go through history so we are doing the entire world history in a year and next year we’ll do it again studying a different area (like for ancient history we mostly focused on Roman history this year but maybe next time we’d study ancient Egypt or ancient China). I haven’t actually shared a history post yet so I’ll try to do that in January.
People might be sick of me saying this but the bond my kids have formed this year has made the whole homeschooling thing completely worth it. Even if they didn’t learn anything academic this year they have learned to play together and that is huge!
Nearly everyone of our subjects are literature based which means for each subject we read a lot of books. For example, for our history, instead of buying The Story of the World like I originally planned, we just take out a bunch of library books on the time period we are studying and read those.
OUR FIRST HOMESCHOOL YEAR: MID-YEAR REVIEW:
WHAT HASN’T BEEN WORKING
DOING TOO MUCH
The theme for 2017 is going to be simplifying our homeschool and one way we will be doing this is by getting rid of excess and merging subjects whenever possible. I got a bit excited at the beginning of the school year and tried/wanted to do too much.
HANDWRITING WITHOUT TEARS
I think we managed to do a few pages in the Handwriting Without Tears book at the beginning of the year, it was my plan to complete the book but we only did it for a few days and then ditched it. Yes, kids need to know how to properly print their letters but I’ve found that we do other writing in the day (dictation, copy work, etc) and we can work on printing then.
Well, piano lessons have been non-existent. I’m not sure yet if I am going to try to bring them back in the new year, try a different instrument with her or just leave it for the year . . .
GEOGRAPHY AS A SUBJECT
Another thing I was trying to do that just ended up being too much was trying to teach geography as a subject. Raeca is in grade 1, we didn’t really need to make it a subject. That being said, I really want her to have knowledge of the world and different cultures but I’ve realized that it is something that comes up in our conversation a lot so I plan on just continuing to capitalize on those conversations. I’ve also moved where we keep our globe so it is more accessible and she’s been spending a lot of time looking at it lately reading the countries and asking me to quiz her on where countries are in the world.
I still want to teach them some Spanish but need to fit it in the schedule better. I think I’d also like to buy a few kids Spanish dictionaries (like this one or this one) or some thing like a first 1000 words in Spanish book.
I had a plan to do one super simple thing with Ephraim each day just to include him a little but yet not have any real expectations but he has surprised me with how much he wants to learn. So, I need to come up with a bit of a more academic plan for him for the second half of the year. It’s a good problem to have but one I was definitely not expecting; prior to starting to homeschool he had no interest in letters, numbers, drawing, coloring, or sitting still for more than three seconds and now he’s often asking me what letter things start with and showing a lot more academic interest.
That’s a little review of our year thus far. I’m really excited to implement a few little changes in the new year and tweak our homeschool to suit us a little more.