We're putting the "year-round" in "year-round" schooling this year by going well into June; however, with plans already well underway for the 2009-2010 school year, this is a time of reflection for me. What went well this year? Where is there need for improvement? So I thought it would be a good time for a self-directed report card.
Phonics & Reading: (A)
The boys have really, really improved this year in reading. Jacob went from reading zilch to full-fledged reading, and Michael is still plodding along as well.
Areas for Improvement: Find something and stick to it! I may have found that very thing already in Hooked on Phonics, Master Reader. Both boys are going through that now. Michael is on his first "novel", and Jacob has already finished the novel and is now on the second level of the program. I need to stick with this and then figure out a comparable program to follow up with: perhaps the HOP Reading Success product, although I haven't yet submitted it to my "research-it-to-death" process in order to finalize the decision. The boys are also going to be finishing up their Abeka Phonics books, just the ones they're working on; I won't buy the next level because they are just too tedious for them.
I give myself a B because, while Alex had fantastic grammar instruction this year, the boys did not do much by way of grammar. They are young, however, so I'm not too worried. They did do some activities that came up in their Frank Shaffer reading books. Alex learned a lot this year and is almost finished with her 4th grade Abeka Language book.
Area for Improvement: Be consistent in offering Grammar instruction. Have everyone start and regularly maintain a Grammar Notebook to get all of those rules cemented in their heads.
Literature & Writing: (B)
The kids are young still for a lot of writing, although Alex composed some fantastic pieces of writing throughout the year. We covered some quality literature, but I would like to do more.
Area for Improvement: Next year, I'm sticking to my trusty reading lists (Ambleside and Classical Christian Homeschooling) for independent reading. Learning Adventures, too, provides great suggestions, and I need to stick to their read-aloud suggestions. I want to have Alex complete the writing assignments she will face in Learning Adventures and Shurley English both, and I want to do all I can to get the boys confident in their handwriting and creative ideas so that they can begin to become budding writers.
I should do a separate report card for the boys and for Alex because the boys are bringing my average down! I give myself an A, not an A+, because I think I've done really well with Alex. She can zip through ALL of her facts now and has learned many, many new concepts this year.
Areas for Improvement: Quiz, quiz, quiz the boys on those facts!
Spelling went great. I enjoyed using Spelling Workout. If I didn't already have Abeka's Spelling and Poetry 2 for the boys, I'd order the next level of SW. Alex will stick with SW and will be in Book E.
Areas for Improvement: More fun activities with words and learn more new vocabulary.
I can't believe how much everyone's handwriting has improved this year! I used a curriculum this year (A Reason For), but I plan to do just copywork next year. I think this will be more meaningful and teach them more about grammar.
Areas for Improvement: Knowing my propensity to plan but not follow-through, I need to be diligent in having the children do copywork daily.
I give myself an A because History is one thing we didn't skip; however, I really jumped around a lot from Prairie Primer to Story of the World.
Areas for Improvement: Stick with one thing (Learning Adventures). Use more living books as resources. Be consistent in keeping on projects like timelines, etc. Consult more maps to build in that geography along with the history. Do more hands-on projects!
I skipped around a lot from curriculum to curriculum to make-your-own curriculum. Hopefully, I stick to Learning Adventures next year for a deeper year of Science. The kids did, however, have a lot of life experiences--museums, nature, etc.--which enriched their scientific lives. They also all had science of one kind or another at co-op, so that added good depth to their studies.
Areas for Improvement: Stick with one thing (Learning Adventures). Use more living books as resources. Actually FINISH projects that are started. Stop being lazy when it comes to gathering materials, setting up experiments, carrying them through, and cleaning up!
I started to give myself a C, but then I remembered that the kids are at least a third of the way through learning the states, their capitals and abbreviations, and their locations. In addition, we always find on the map any country that is mentioned in any other subject. Last year, I did a particularly good job of keeping Geography part of the mix by actually preparing a country study for every chapter of Story of the World. I just wasn't as good at it this year.
Areas for Improvement: For each country studied in history, do a thorough geographic study with the kids. In addition, teach more map skills, especially to the boys. Hmmm...what curriculum or book to use for that...
Foreign Language: (F)
I was supposed to teach them a foreign language? I decided this year that I am NOT, nor will I ever be, a foreign language teacher--even if I know the foreign language I am trying to teach. Mark and I said before we had kids that when we did have children, we would speak French in our home so the kids would learn two languages. Right. That didn't happen. So...I've ordered a computer Spanish (rather than French) course since they might actually use Spanish later on.
Areas for Improvement: Be consistent in making time in everyone's schedule (maybe even mine; we'll see) to sit down and learn Spanish!
I know how to play the piano, so how hard it is, really, to walk upstairs and give a child a lesson?? Apparently as hard as it is the speak French in front of them. The problem is, I forget.
Areas for Improvement: REMEMBER to give piano lessons. AND to make them practice. And be consistent and thorough in covering the classical music that is presented in Learning Adventures.
Thankfully, the older two got art at co-op because they sure didn't get it here!
Areas for Improvement: Be consistent and thorough in covering the artists that are featured in Learning Adventures. Do more hands-on activities in all areas, which will strengthen their artistic side (which, if they possess it, did NOT come from their mother).
Obviously, the kids get a lot of the Bible with church and family devotions. We did no formal study of the Bible, however. I would like to do more formal study as well as do some memorization as a family--not just at AWANA.
Areas for Improvement: Stick with what is presented in Learning Adventures. Be diligent in working on memorization. Use character studies from Contenders for the Faith.
I am also adding some beginning logic/critical thinking by Critical Thinking Co. and Latin from Memoria Press for Alex. Should be a busy year, but I'm excited for it. Now if we can just get through the next few weeks which, I know, will draaaaggg. To see a complete list of the curriculum we're using next year and all pertinent links, there is an Our Curriculum link on my header.