It’s here. The ‘official’ end of another year of learning. The time to assess what worked, what didn’t, and what’s to come.
Over the course of our children’s learning, I’ve found it helpful to do a quick year-end review. With the kids adding input, we discuss what worked, what we hated, and what we’d like to do more often.
This is one subject we all agree upon: it works! We like the curriculum, we like the layout, and we like the pace. We are currently using aBeka and that will probably stand for our coming year.
While we all love reading, we found this subject to be a trial this year. Mommy had the brilliant idea to hand out reading lists with ‘required reads’ on them (I got the lists from The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer), to be completed by the end of the year. Unfortunately, Mommy forgot that what works for one child, isn’t necessarily going to work for another. Thus, two of our kids did really well finishing off the lists (the older ones), while the younger two really struggled with this.
For next year, I think we’re going to change this up a bit. I will have a short list of books I would like them to read, based on our history/science lessons. Other than that, they are free to read what they like. For my high schooler, her reading list is going to be slightly more challenging than her siblings’ and will include writing assignments as well.
While I’d love them to read the classics, forcing them to read what they don’t like will only kill their love of reading and this is not the goal. I will continue to encourage it, but take one day at a time.
This is another subject, thankfully, which is working pretty well. Don’t get me wrong, my high schooler isn’t happy about doing algebra, but she’s learning tons and doing well with the aBeka curriculum.
I think we’ll be sticking with this until graduation, for all four of the kids.
This subject was a total bust. For the last two years we have been using aBeka for history and science, and, unfortunately, it isn’t working! Oh, they’re learning; a little. But, they hate it! The reading is long, boring, tedious, and repetitive. There are very few activities, and Mommy was constantly supplementing with her own activities. Even Pop thought the material was boring, including unimportant details while not mentioning others which should have been included.
Next year, we are going to be switching curriculum entirely. The base of our learning will be from The Story of the World. So far, just planning it out, I’m loving it! It’s short, to the point, has tons of activities, and leaves room for your own additions.
For our junior and senior high schoolers, we are going to be supplementing our family lessons with work from Western Civilization. I even found a helpful, online site which has tons of activities. We are all looking forward to the change.
As I mentioned a moment ago, science was not working for us either. This subject, if possible, was even worse than history. While I like aBeka for their language and arithmetic, history and science just wasn’t working for our family.
Next year, we will be using Biology: A Self-Teaching Guide. Biology; even for the littles? Absolutely! As a family, we will be covering the basics of biology together. After a quick initial lesson, the children will each be given hands-on activities and reading at their level. This is going to be a fun, experimental year in our homeschooling. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.
We all enjoy music, but the kids found this subject a bit of a trial this year. While they like classical music, they really wanted to branch out, learning to play more contemporary songs.
After a little thought, we purchased/downloaded sheet music for them based on some of their favorite tunes. Classic Disney songs, music from Charlie Brown, and more are now being heard around the house. Frankly, I wish we’d done this sooner. They still play the classics, but it’s been fun hearing them play a few favorites as well.
Our kids have always been encouraged to learn computer technology. We have quite a few art programs, editing apps, and devices on hand for them to use. This year, we took their lessons a step further. We brought in programming, animation, and drawing tablets.
Next year, we’re going to bump up their lessons just a bit more. We’ve invested in a camera, film equipment, film editing apps, and more. Our goal is to help our kiddos learn to make their own films (and help mommy make videos for this blog!), edit them, and upload them for others to see.
While I’d love to tell you I have been on top of this one, I probably could have been doing more. We bake – on occasion – we cook, clean, and do a myriad of other activities, but nothing with a definitely goal outside of household maintenance.
Next year, I would like to make a point of finishing embroidery projects. I’d like to start and finish a quilt. We are going to be instituting “It’s Your Night”. (More on that later this week.) I’d like to use all those fancy cake baking tools I bought which never get used.
Just one more area where we started off strong, but ended weak. Our kids are technically getting enough physical exercise to meet the required goals. However, they are probably not getting enough for what their bodies need. They aren’t overweight; they aren’t lazy, either. No, we just don’t get outside enough.
Next year, I need to make a point of finding fun ways to get ourselves outside and active. By nature, I am not a physical person. I don’t like running around. I like activity with a purpose. So, I need to find our purpose and get a move on. We could go hiking, biking, or… (See my problem?) I don’t really know what to do. It’s time to give it some thought. ‘Cause, I don’t really care to play sports and neither do my kids.
We’ve tried several different programs, but, for us, Rosetta Stone is what is working best. The kids are free to work at their own pace and learning a lot. Until the Lord directs otherwise, we’re sticking with it.
Overall, the year went pretty well. There are a few changes which we need to make before starting the next ‘school year’, but nothing we can’t handle. Before we get started, we are going to spend a little time simplifying life; trimming off the excess, so we can focus on what’s truly important.
It’s interesting to note, while this might be the ‘end’ of our ‘official’ learning year (what we file on paper), our learning never stops. True to most homeschooling families, learning is an everyday event in our home; it’s only the filing of paperwork which changes. However, doing a quick assessment before moving forward is always of benefit.
🔔Time to Chime In: How is your year going so far; what’s working and what’s not?
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