Thursday, March 20, 2008

Week 26 in Review

I won't call this a weekly report because my Weekly Report attempts have been hedged with difficulties. I can't even keep them on one site, so they are spread all over my various blogs. I think I've decided that this is the best place for them, though.

We are just finishing week 26. Glancing at my year at a glance overview, I see that this puts us just one week behind schedule, which is probably the best we've ever done in 15 years of homeschooling, if you are just looking at keeping on schedule. This puts us on track to be finished by early June. Of course, learning is never "finished", one hopes.

I am homeschooling 5 kids -- a senior in high school, 2 middle schoolers, a "first grader" with special needs, and a bright young Kindergartener with a short attention span. The senior does her own courses and keeps track of it herself. The little ones only work on academics for a few minutes a day, and I have to revise plans almost daily. So most of my planning is concerned with my 2 middle schoolers.

We are mostly on track. You can see the end of term Progress Charts here. Logic/Thinking Skills was replaced with Grammar. I have started a writing intensive for the Year 9 son, and am planning for my Year 6 son.

Sean, Year 9

He finished his 120 lessons of Vocabulary using an old series called Stanford Vocab which I found at a thrift store many years ago. I can't seem to even find it online but I like it because it's simple and uncluttered and includes etymology.

To replace the gap in his schedule left by vocabulary I am going to have him work on Bruce MacIntyre's Drawing Textbook. We have had this simple booklet for years and usually use it for a few weeks every spring -- it is suitable for 4th grade up to adult (my husband uses it to improve his "programmer art" -- his representations for what he wants his artist to design -- he is a computer game designer and programmer).

He is just a bit behind on Jacob's Algebra compared to the schedule which had him finishing in May. This is because we started slowing down and spending two days on the lessons which were harder for him. He is still on a good track though and has been pulling A's ever since January.

He is just finishing Hey Andrew Teach me Some Greek Book 3. This is actually probably about a 4th or 5th grade level resource -- very easy and slow-progressing but I like it for that reason because (1) the kids can use it independently (2) it builds up a foundation slowly so that if they want they can approach Greek more rigorously in high school years and (3) they seem to find it quite fun compared to the "hard" subjects Latin and Math and Writing.

He has dropped Latin. Next year he is going to the local high school and is enrolled for Spanish ; he didn't see much purpose in continuing with Latin and wanted to get a head start on Spanish. We discussed it over several weeks and finally I agreed. I don't have any Spanish program at home besides one of those traveller's workbooks that teach you things like "Which way to the pub/passport office/bank?" so I've been drawing on various online resources including the Quia site.

I have been working with him on writing so here is the Outlining Syllabus(doc) for Thirty Lessons in Outlining that I wrote about before. Here is the syllabus for the first 3 weeks of writing(doc). Basically I am trying to get him to the point where he can write a five-paragraph paper using 3 or more sources, and write out a logical argument (what they call persuasion nowadays but I will approach it more like the chreia/maxim in the progymnasmata). We will work on this over the summer if necessary.

What else? Science and history and literature and religion are pursued in the form of a reading checklist. He is on schedule there.

As for extra-curricular, he is doing a football prep intensive. His father helps him lift weights 4 days a week and he works out with his dad or uncle 3 times a week on the playing field, doing drills and dashes etc. He has gained 15 pounds since he started doing this about 3-4 months ago. He wants to play QB and always has, so this is why he is enrolling in the high school.

I ran out of time so I will focus on the Year 6 son and the littlies in future weekly reports or maybe later on this afternoon if I get the chance (this is our first at-home day since the weekend-- there has been lots going on outside the house so this week has been lighter and next week we are ON SPRING BREAK.

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