Saturday, April 4, 2015

Keeping It Real

The Honor and Grace edition.

    Every so often you need to regroup, see how far you've come, where you want to be, and face the facts. Is this book worth the time it takes? Is this course realistic? Do we need to readjust priorities? Summer is coming. No one wants to work full steam all the way up to the next grade starting.

   I started with Grace. She is a motivated worker, who can rip through a sturdy stack of work in an unbelievably short amount of time. Then I managed to pull Honor away from his Legos long enough to do the same. He is a strong worker and rarely complains, but he'd really, really rather be in construction somewhere. As we went over their subjects individually we wrote out next week's planner. Their conferences with me were completely separate, but I'm listing them together because there's so much overlap between these two.

  • Bible Road Trip and reading about 4 chapters in their Bibles a day - They both gave this two thumbs up. We tried doing every notebooking page for a week within a week, and found it took more time to do well than we wanted to devote to it. Now we just do a page a day no matter what. Their reading won't line up, but that's okay. It certainly won't kill them to back up and reread a few portions.
  • Grace has really, really enjoyed this year's titles. She's currently reading Little Women. No complaints.
  • Honor was boated out. Adventures in the Sea and Sky spent 18 weeks on boats, and only 9 each on aviation and space travel. There aren't as many aviation stories to be found, so I'm mixing more uncorrelated classics to his list.
  • Daily Language Review went well for half the year. They both started making more and more simple mistakes though. I put an old download of a really basic grammar workbook (no longer available) into their binders instead. It presents a simple concept and gives two pages of drill. Honor took to this well. Grace not so much. I jokingly mentioned all those oral drills in Rod and Staff English would fix that. She asked if she could! I pulled one out of the cupboard and she gladly raced through two lessons in fifteen minutes. So it is. 
  • Spelling by Sound and Structure by Rod and Staff - Honor is nearly done with the 5 book (as a 6th grader). We'd originally planned on starting 6 immediately after finishing 5. He is making progress, but we have other priorities. He'll continue to work on it in other subjects, but we'll save the 6 book for the beginning of 7th grade. Grace is racing through book 5 and wants to get to the 6 book as quick as she can.
  • Cover Story writing - Grace is thriving with some simple modifications, but likely won't finish it this school year. She is young for this curriculum, and will likely retake it in a couple/few years. Whenever we get next grade's American Girl stuff kickstarted this summer Cover Story will be shelved.
        Honor and I had to get real. At his current pace he will not finish it before 7th grade, even if he works clear straight summer (which isn't possible with camps, conventions, etc). The lessons that make him balk are increasing, and will increase. He does not like writing that requires creativity. Tell him to write about the Spirit of St. Louis and he'll cover the important details in order, but ask him to write a letter to the editor about it and he'll freeze. When I asked what specifically he does like about Cover Story he said the contests, the videos, and that he can write about aviation a lot. What he does not like is having to write anything that's not real. (His term for writing that even leans to the creative side.) We explored some solutions together, and decided to start working through a vintage school text called School Composition by William Henry Maxwell for next week. After that we'll decide if he should just switch, or if we should cherry pick some Cover Story lessons and stagger them with School Composition lessons. Regardless, he can enter the next Cover Story contest with his aviation haikus.
  • Latin could not get up to the speed it needed this year, but we all accepted that a long time ago. It's okay to just go through it slower. Grace had skipped some exercises instead of saying she needed help. They both need their vocab polished more than it is. We made a plan for a little extra drill, and repairing any skipped exercises. Honor would like a different Latin approach. He'd rather have a piece to read and have to work through with a dictionary than have to memorize words, learn the grammar, and then build something with it. He needs to finish the book he's in no matter what, but I will keep this in mind for fall. 
  • Spanish for Children has gone well. It has more daily useful vocab than Latin for Children did. We're still pretty new to it, and we definitely need more than the provided drill, but this is working out well. 
  • Grace is really, really curious about negatives, exponents, and prealgebra in general. I really, really want her to finish Horizons 5 before she gets too carried away jumping the gun. But she loves it when I pull the occasional problem out of Honor's prealg and work it out with her on a whiteboard. When Honor started prealg she would insist that she'd finish the 6 book before doing that. Now she's more unsure. For now I'm encouraging her to work harder on that 5 book if she wants to see prealg that badly. (She did 4 lessons in one sitting earlier this week. She means business!)
  • Honor had a big burp with Art of Problem Solving's prealgebra last month. We just shelved it and he worked on other various stuff for awhile. Now he's back into it full force, and we've learned to use Alcumus for extra review when it's obvious we won't get to his main book that day. Alcumus at least keeps him thinking rather than just calculating a pile of numbers. I'm not sure if we'll finish this before 7th grade or not.
  • Grace is going to run out of Bite-size Physics before she runs out of 4th grade. I've been stretching it out with some Cartoon Guide to Physics and Exploring the World of Physics. She'll just read in nonfiction books we already own after this, and wait until 5th grade for more Official Curriculum.
  • Honor has been intrigued by the science he's learning in Adventures in the Sea and Sky, but underwhelmed by it's depth. We add more nonfiction reading to solve this, and seem to have found the right balance for now.
  • Grace and Faith fell off their joint geography wagon somewhere, and it's definitely NOT where we want it to be. I started rewriting the syllabus into two entirely separate sets. Grace will start hauling on her own, and Faith will focus on the mapping, holidays, and culture that intrigues her. We talked about the pace needed for getting this done before summer. We want to start American Girl this summer, so this is good motivation. (As a result, we'll start American Girl with separate plans for each girl rather than trying to get them to move as one.)
  • Honor's history in Adventures has gone great. He's absorbed tons, applies it to what he sees in daily life, and has a great timeline in his head. 
    Grace was energized by that conference, and ready to plug ahead full force.  Moose was glad for the prioritizing. We set up his planner to lump his "little bits" together (Bible Road Trip, English, languages), and put the three he really needs to focus on (math, writing, Adventures) together. Back on track and off they go!

No comments:

Post a Comment