We started our learning back early this year, in fact a few weeks earlier than the ‘bricks and mortar schools’, as we began in early January this means we have just completed our sixth week of learning. We’ve done it this way periodically and it’s a great way to begin the year as it enables us to ease into and establish a solid rhythm of learning before we add the extra curricula activities that begin when the state’s school calendar year commences. Whilst our learning this year is going ‘great guns,’ alas my record keeping isn’t. Therefore only able to share the highlights of the past six weeks due to my leaky memory and patchy notes. The following is only a partial representation of all we’ve learnt.
- Sebastian has recommenced weekly speech lessons. In the initial assessment at the beginning of the year it appeared that he had made no solid progress and it was rather disheartening, to the teacher and to me. However something seemed to click between one week and the next and last week he ‘blew us all away’ with his correct and constant use of; his f, s, sm and sn sounds in the beginning, middle and ends of his words! So we’ve now graduated to the ‘sh’ sound.
- Currently reading St Francis Xavier of the Seven Seas to Genevieve, Saxon, Ignatius and Sebastian.
- Malachi is reading his way through the Bible this year using Brandon Vogt’s plan. He is being most conscientious about sticking to the plan. He is also working on Our Moral Life in Christ, Didache, nearly completed.
- Mariah reading saint’s story, Katherine Drexel and St Therese of the Child Jesus. Also reading Didache Introduction to Catholicism.
- Sebastian began Kindergarten maths this year and was so keen and excited that he completed all of Kindergarten maths in three weeks!! Then he was so excited about that fact. However I do think his knowledge is rather ‘patchy,’ so working on building up areas where needed.
- Ignatius and Saxon swung back into maths with ease and are continuing on without trouble.
- Genevieve still struggles with maths, we’ve already had a couple of crying sessions, but with a little help from Dad she has pinpointed her reasons for struggling and is focusing more on her times tables.
- Mariah has pushed past her ‘roadblocks’ with the assistance of Dad and is determinedly focusing on her maths. She has set high goals, wishing to catch up to her grade level, as she stagnated last year she has many lessons to do. She is totally impressing us with how many lessons she is completing and understanding each week!
- Ignatius was ‘all things volcanoes and tsunamis’ for the first few weeks of the Term. He watched several informative youtubes, inveigling his siblings to join him, he was constantly regaling us with facts, I just loved his enthusiasm. He then watched a few youtubes on how to make volcanoes and made many along with his brothers.
- Magic School Bus is the current Science craze, we’ve visited this craze several times over the last two decades and it’s a great craze. Our children have learnt much Science thanks to Magic School Bush
- Malachi has been watching youtubes on: invisibility cloaks and robotics
- Reading Roald Amundsen – Cateau Deleeuw to the younger four, they are orally narrating each chapter.
- Mariah is using World Physical Geography, excellent text. Currently focusing on the countries of the continents. Also drew a map of Africa using Mega maps.
- Mariah continues to love Spanish, happily working on her language work via Duolingo a few times a week. She has convinced Genevieve to join her in learning and G has been enthusiastic and making good progress too.
- Determined to correct some handwriting errors with the younger boys, mainly pencil grip and correct letter starting placement and direction. We are using pencil grips and Startwrite with me watching and correcting the children as they write. Most were very unhappy to begin with and resistant to change, however perseverance is paying dividends and Ignatius has developed a love of handwriting 🙂 Genevieve has been diligently working on her running writing with a good attitude.
- Have been most diligent in regards to Dictation for the oldest four. Initially Genevieve and Saxon were not happy to have dictation added to their studies, Saxon still is ‘difficult’ when it’s dictation time. However we are keeping the ‘pressure on and we’re seeing a difference, in particular with Malachi’s spelling. His spelling focus along with his dictation is paying dividends.
- Using All About Spelling with the children as ‘sets.’ Malachi and Mariah are using Level 6 and Genevieve and Saxon are using Level 4. We haven’t followed AAS recommendations and worked through all the Levels so we will have to go back and tackle consistent mistake areas at a later date. Meanwhile I’m just loving this program and seeing a real difference in the children’s spelling ability. The children too are appreciating understanding the ‘reasons behind’ well at least the teens have to maturity to appreciate.
- Using our Writing Prompt Cards all of the children, Mariah through to Sebastian are daily writing creative stories. Sebastian is dictating his stories to me, the other children are writing theirs. They love creative writing and I’m enjoying listening to how their minds work, some of the stories are very well written, particularly Mariah’s.
- Malachi is using the One Year Adventure Novel and loving it. We’ve used this program before with Dominic and it is excellent. Appreciating it anew.
- Working daily with Malachi and Mariah on formal composition skills. Currently analayzing and improving paragraphs. They both write very well.
- Malachi is copying Aesop’s Fables in imitation of Benjamin Franklin’s model of writing.
- Reading poetry daily to the younger four, reading from a couple of poetry books we haven’t really used previously, truthfully I don’t think these are ‘grabbing us’. Planning on trying some different poets in the upcoming weeks.
- Mariah has been memorising and reciting poems; Bold Bruce Backwards and Tall Timber
Learning to Read
- Using All About Reading with younger three boys. Love, love, love this program. Sebastian is using the Pre-Reading Program, and already learnt all of his capitals! We’ve just started on learning the lowercase sounds. He is picking everything up so quickly.
- Ignatius and Saxon are using Level 2 and doing so well, obviously Saxon is progressing through the level and lessons at a much faster rate than Ignatius, some of his learning is in the way of review, some ‘filling the gaps’. He likes the lessons 🙂 Ignatius amazes me with how well he reads the words/stories after completing the lessons! Brilliant program.
- Ballroom Dancing – years ago I learnt ballroom dancing, teaching the children The Barn Dance and the Pride of Erin
- Tracing – all things tracing. sheet on the glass, particularly Genevieve and Sebastian who has impressive fine motor skills
- Woodwork – Malachi has been building a chicken coop with the younger boys.
- Woodburning – Malachi has been tracing intricate patterns and burning them into wood.
- Mariah learnt how to do cross-stitch and made a beautiful design for my birthday
- Swim lessons for Sebastian and Ignatius twice a week.
- Swim squad for Saxon and Genevieve once a week.
- Homeschool choir for the three oldest weekly.
- Church choir for the girls weekly.
- Speech lessons weekly for Sebastian.
- Mariah auditioned for a musical and was accepted, practices twice a week.
- Tap and Jazz ballet for Mariah weekly
- Akido for Malachi weekly.
Malachi Reading to Siblings
Squire’s Tale – Gerald Morris – begun reading to younger brothers.
Mariah Reading to Siblings
Geneveieve Reading Aloud
Children of the New Forest – Fredrick Marryat – Teens
Geography Picture Books
Africa – Orphan Boy
History Picture Books
I Wish I’d Gone to the Moon With Neil Armstrong – Leonie Young
Jelly Bean Read:
The Littles – John Peterson – several
Battle Boy – most in series