Monday, June 8, 2020

End of the Year Homeschool Update {2019-2020}

We are done with our (bizzare!) school year!!! 
I wasn't entirely sure when we would finish up. We started after Labor Day, and then took a few weeks off throughout the year for holidays and family visits and such. For the last month or so (this was written toward the end of May), as we've been finishing up a subject, we're just done with it. So we were down to just doing math & language arts, and then for the last week and a half or so, just language arts which was only taking about a half hour - 45 minutes per day. As of Friday, May 22, we are finished with 1st and 2nd grade! 

This was definitely a unique and interesting year with being in quarantine, having enrichment classes cancelled, etc. I am grateful we were in the position we were in and didn't have to navigate figuring out how to homeschool on top of other huge life changing things. 
My 2 sons were attending half day preschool 4 days per week, but when they left for spring break March 12, they never went back since the schools closed. Having them home full time was a bit of an adjustment, and I did start working with them on preschool at home, but overall it went well and everyone did ok with it. 
My daughters usually go to 5 hours of enrichment classes each week, but those were also cancelled mid-March. We didn't have any more visits from our supervising teacher, all of the field trips and activities were cancelled and we were home, which is definitely different even though we were already homeschooling. 
Even though we had some curve balls thrown at us, the last quarter or so of school did go very well. The girls learned a ton this year. I love doing their end of the year assessments for language arts and seeing how they compare to the beginning of the year! They are much more fluent readers than they were 9 months ago. They have more knowledge, more skills and are generally just more mature. They're growing up so quickly! My oldest is halfway done with elementary grades! 

We ended up getting through the first book of the New City Catechism Curriculum, and a few questions into the second book. We did several review weeks throughout the year, to make sure my girls really had it down pat. I mentioned in my last post that we are considering using this for our family worship nights next year, so we may or may not use it for Bible in school next year. I do have my eye on something else for them that I'm excited about! 

For history, after we got bored with The Good & The Beautiful Year 1, I used some things that I already had printed out from TPT units last year, but honestly we just kind of fizzled out with social studies after about another month or so (around the time coronavirus hit). I just didn't push it. I'm still not sure what we are going to use for social studies next year. They're still young enough I just really don't want to push a bunch of historical facts that make them bored and they don't remember anyway, so I'm looking for something a little more engaging. 

Science, we did end up doing our human body unit, which I think was a great introduction to the human body. I think it will be great to go back to that topic in a few years and expand on it a lot more! We did not end up getting around to our bees unit, but I have some fun plans for that next year! Science was a lot of fun this year, and the girls really enjoyed it and I enjoyed teaching it more than years past. 

Language arts went very well this year! I don't have a whole lot else to say about that. I am SO looking forward to using the new edition of The Good & The Beautiful level 3 next year! I have been eyeing the beautiful new editions of level 1 and 2 and was bummed we couldn't use them. I am excited for a more streamlined curriculum now that they've changed a few things! This curriculum has worked very well for us the last 2 years. 

Well, math took a huge nosedive for us this year. I'm still not entirely sure why it went from working so well to....not. We were using CTC math this year (online, with me not really teaching, but helping where needed) and it was going so great until a few months ago. There were a lot of frustrations with each question that wasn't correct (because it instantly tells you whether it's right or wrong) and I think maybe one of my daughter's expectations of just going through the questions once and being done was off. If she didn't "pass" by getting enough questions right, she was really upset that she had to do more. I also think there wasn't enough review (well, none unless I did it), and maybe not enough math basics/facts taught. For example, in the multiplication unit, there was a lesson on counting by 3 and then after that one lesson, they I guess were just expected to know 3's. I personally think that takes awhile of reviewing and continuing to practice a  concept, not just seeing it once and knowing it. We have really struggled with math curriculum and just still haven't been able to find the perfect fit. I could see us using CTC again in a few years once more of those math basics and concepts are really solidly down and understood, but I am exploring another option for next year, which will be back to me teaching math, on paper, and more review and emphasis on facts each day (while still introducing new concepts). 

Handwriting & typing went well the rest of the year. Typing was really pretty sporadic throughout the year. Since they're still quite young, I just wanted them to start getting familiar with the keyboard, and they did. We'll keep using Typing Club next year. Handwriting was great this year! I will go ahead and order level 3 for them for next year (which will be mostly cursive!!!) but they'll finish up their level 2 book first! 

Per usual, this year went faster than any other has before. We had a really great year, despite all the changes and craziness, and we are still loving homeschooling! 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Family Worship Night

For a long time we had a strong desire to be more intentional with our kids about worshiping together as a family, praying as a family, and even doing a devotional or lesson. But for a long time, we just never took the time to figure out a way to really make it happen. 

For the last year or so, we've been doing a Worship Night just about every week and it has been so good for our family! Here is what we do and how we've made it work. 
We chose a night when we already had another activity going on because we always come right home after that, and since it's always a time we're guaranteed to be home, it was really easy to get into a rhythm of doing it at that time every week. 
First, we wanted to be praying more with our kids and we wanted them to have some stake in it. We all sat down and my husband and I had come up with categories and wrote each one on the top of a piece of paper (we aren't being fancy here). The categories we chose are: family, people, church, community, world. We had the kids come up with things they'd like to pray for in each of these categories and add them to the list. (We actually need to update these now, since it's been a while and some things are outdated!) 
Each time we have worship night, we have each person choose a sheet and choose something to pray for off of that sheet, or if they have something else they'd like to pray for, that's great too. We just encourage them to pray (and help the little ones). We all take a turn.

Sometimes we will do a devotional or lesson. Since COVID, we have been watching our church's kids lesson each week during this time. We have a few kids devotional type books that we'll sometimes read a story from one of our kids bibles. We are toying with the idea of doing our catechism lessons during this time next school year rather than during the school day. It's never anything too long (5-10 minutes) but generally sparks some good questions and conversations from our kids, which we always love, and it gives us a good idea of what's going on in their hearts sometimes, too. 

Generally, we will end with some worship, either songs they sing at church, songs we sing at church or just worship songs we like. 

That's it! It generally takes around 20 minutes or's pretty short and sweet. It's not too long that they get antsy or we lose their attention. It has been really great for our family and just a joy to worship together with our kids and show them that worshiping God together is a priority for our family. I'm so glad that we finally put it into practice. I know that it will evolve over time as our kids grow and schedules change but I am hopeful that this will always be something our family prioritizes and that our kids remember as part of their childhoods. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

2020 Quarterly Goal Update 1

To help me stay accountable to the goals I set this year, I thought it would be helpful for me to do quarterly updates with how each of my goals is coming along. I am hoping this will keep some of those ongoing goals in perspective for me and for me to keep tabs on how much more progress I need to make on each of them! Here's where I'm at so far this year: 
done in progressnot started
Health Goals
  • Get a thermography scan   no progress on this. Haven't set up an appointment yet & probably won't be able to until covid has passed. 
  • 150 workouts 28/150 I've been sick several times this year already so progress on this has been slow, but I've been catching up the last few weeks!
Spiritual Goals
  • Memorize 52 bible verses 12/52. I am on week 13 now, should be on 15, so 2 weeks behind somehow. I had kept up on this really well until recently. 

  • Study 8-10 complete books of the bible 1 down (Jonah), 2 in progress (Hebrews & 1 Peter)
Home Goals
  • Have carpets professionally cleaned hoping to do this soon as part of spring cleaning (again, is probably on hold until the quarantine lifts)
  • put the finishing touches on master bedroom DONE!! (hopefully I can get some good pictures soon. It's currently doubling as my husband's home office)

  • more security measures put in place We've added something, would like a couple more additions still 
School/knowledge Goals
  • Make a school plan for next year for the boys in progess. I've done my part for this, waiting on other's for the plan to be set in place.  as of yesterday, this is set-they got into the program we were hoping for!!
  • Start teaching music at home Done! We started using Prodigies for all 4 kids.  

  • Find a social studies curriculum that fits our family better for next school year I'm exploring options now and have it narrowed down to a few!
  • Read 30 books 10 read, 2 in progress currently
Personal/Random Goals
  • Find & invest in a good pair of gym shoes Bought a pair of Nike Metcons and loving them!
  • Blog twice a month So far I've gotten at least 2 posts up each month
  • Get plans in place for 2021 family trip Still in the researching phase for this
  • Stay within budget for eating out category every month So far so good! 
  • Finalize our will Need to get on this asap!
Family Goals
  • Have girls be able to shower themselves A work in progess-they're doing really well! 
  • Girls clean their room with 0 help 0 progress on this lol
  • Teach the boys all letter names/sounds We're working on this now that they're home with me full time. I got an actual curriculum for them that we just started.
  • Have girls be able to prepare a lunch for everyone Haven't even attempted this yet
  • 12 date nights that aren't just going to dinner 2/12 so far...we'll catch up when it's warmer out & we can actually go out and do things.
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