Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March Madness

Things we're loving:

Corinne at age 5 is reading! Yes, reading, reading. Thanks to brilliant genetics (ahem) and programs like Starfall.com, All About Spelling and Frontline Phonics Readers (we bought this program about 9 years ago and I highly endorse it for little ones!), she is an avid reader. Amazing, actually. No bias.

She's also spending a lot of time on her finger loom, sewing a pillow at homeschool club, learning bits of clocks and money and just diving into all things kindergarten. I have no doubt tthat she learns more than I realize. Since I don't do a formal "record" of my kids' academics, it's a bit difficult to "gauge" her school level, but I'd put her at about the K-2nd grade levels for most of her abilities. Considering she would only be eligible for preschool due to her birth date, I'm really pleased with how she's progressing!

Evan is nearly 9 and has shown a HUGE improvement in the past year. His reading comprehension is the largest area that I am excited about. My heart nearly stops whenever I walk in on him just reading, JUST FOR FUN. This from the child who hated books about 2 years ago!

He continues to be an extremely imaginative writer and just took on the beginning of his first "novel" entitled "The Battle of Normandy Beach." Honestly? It's pretty darn interesting! I ignore the spelling and grammar and encourage the imagination because his vocabulary is far above his spelling ability. He is doing the Excellence in Writing through a homeschool group to assist the development of expanding ideas and utilizing all parts of the English language. It's extremely exciting for me to have a fellow writer in the house. :)

I recently started him on Teaching Textbooks, level 5 for Math. It is a cd-rom math program that I resisted for a long time because it just looked too expensive for something that a workbook could teach. But we borrowed it from a friend and Evan has responded REALLY well to it. (as have all the other children in our homeschooling group). Soooo... I do believe I will be buying the set for him for this year and for next. (And for Corinne for levels 2-4 as well! She likes to sit with him and shout out the answers! Yikes.)

He just finished his American Heritage history book from Abeka (though we're not Christian, I like the layout. We just skip the proverbs!) and I would like to have another formal history curriculum for him but I think that the Story of the World that we have is just a bit above his language comprehension right now. Anyone have any other Abeka history books they want to sell?? He's doing a study on Martin Luther King Jr. from library books for a while. I may just have him pick out important people to study for the remainder of the year.

GEOGRAPHY! This kid is a wiz. As in, WOW. We are working on the capitals of all the states now as he's memorized the states quite a while ago. Evan responds really well to flashcards. I want to get some anatomy and world geography flash cards for him for next year. Again, anyone want to make a few bucks by selling what they have?

Justin is 12 and does a majority of his work independently now. Yay! He is on book 2 of Life of Fred and I cannot speak highly enough about this program. We both enjoy it, and it's a great supplement for a math curriculum. We don't use a formal curriculum and so his Fred books are actually in conjunction with several workbooks that we have bought online and through book stores. I hope to find something of a higher level for him next year and am considering the Teaching Textbooks for his age, too. It seems to be harder to find homeschooling curriculum over 6th grade without searching online...

He is on book 2 of Story of the World and still enjoying its layout. I have been lax in testing or quizzing on this book but we are doing a group class that centers around the 2nd book and I find that this is a great way to supplement and reinforce what he's already read.

Justin also uses several books from FlashKids and Spectrum that are just fabulous. I especially like the color and texture of the FlashKids books (really important for Justin's comfort level issues). He is plodding through the Fearless Writing Essay workbook; it's only been slightly bloody over that book. (Though I have finally found a topic he wants to write about: Dungeons and Dragons! THANK YOU GOD!) I like the layout of this book and intend on purchasing some of the other topics as well.

I am truly happy with all of their academics this year. Without a report card to show to family and friends, it's difficult to explain how much they've learned. It seems that we all desire a checklist, report card, letter grade, etc. as "proof" of how intelligent or educated our children are. However, the longer I homeschool, the greater my belief is in the LACK of a checklist of evidence. My children are the evidence! They are thriving and writing and reading and building and creating and playing and HAPPY.*

What report card could tell me more than that?

*(Not counting the pre-teen angst...)


  1. That last sentence is the only report card you need - it says it all. Your kids are very lucky, and they are getting the best possible school experience.

    And you, Tracey, are the unsung hero - you get an A+!!! :)

  2. Awesome! Thank you for the update. I love your updates, they give me so much hope.

  3. So awesome to see the results of your hard work. You rock!!!!!!!

  4. Thanks, JC! You do know that I can no longer find your blog, right? If it's private now, that's cool. I just didn't know if you realized it...