Friday, October 24, 2014

Homeschool Week in Review: End of the First Nine Weeks

Week Nine! I don't think we've ever made it this far into the year without getting off track at ALL. We are all pretty proud of ourselves! This year has been the most enjoyable and joy-filled of our entire homeschool experience.  You know what I think the difference has been? We have rebuilt trust between the three of us. One of Charlotte Mason's principles deals with creating a secure environment to learn in. "It's good to be me, here with you."

We spent several years in a University Model School, where the kids were in school two days a week and were homeschooled by me the other three days. It's the best of both worlds; you still get the joy of homeschooling, but also the accountability and community. The thing is, it was also the worst of both worlds. I lost the freedom to choose curriculum (which I loved), and we were bound to the school's schedule and pace.  I was stressed out all the time, going at full-tilt and feeling like we never got enough done, not at all the homeschool mom I wanted my kids to remember. Now we're homeschooling on our own, with two academic co-op classes for each child. They're working hard, and seeing their efforts pay off. I really couldn't ask for more than that!

So enough about what I learned this week. :) Here's what the kiddos worked on.

Bible: Our "name of God" this week was Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is peace. We learned that the word "shalom" means much more than our English word "peace."  It denotes not just absence of conflict or inner calm, but also wholeness, completeness, wellness and perfection.   One of my favorite verses from this week's study was Isaiah 26:3:
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind 
is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

Math: Everybody's still on track and doing well. Will is working on percentages; Katie finished up a couple of days on long division and started a new chapter on telling time. Well, okay, there's probably more to it than that, but after how hard she worked on all that division, I'm glad she gets a little break for a few days. My only complaint is that the Teaching Textbooks guy (we call him Uncle Mike) keeps referring to analog clocks as "old-fashioned" clocks, and Katie finds that hilarious.

Grammar: Will just finished the chapter on nouns and pronouns and will take the test on Monday. Katie is blasting through a chapter on nouns and should also have a test coming up in the next few days.  (Did I mention how happy we are to be right on track?!)

Literature: We had a split focus this week. The kids were working independently to wrap up their biography projects, but we went ahead to the next genre and started an adventure book: the last Percy Jackson book in Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series. We've been reading these books as a family for several years, so I'm really happy to be able to incorporate this final book in an official capacity.

History: This is one of my favorite discussion-starting classes. This week we studied Joseph Stalin's rise to power in Russia. Interesting side note: You probably already know that Lenin's body is still on display, more than eighty years after his death, but did you know there is a committee responsible for checking and maintaining the body weekly? And that committee occasionally changes the Commisar's clothes??  In discussing the totalitarian regime that Stalin brought to Russia, we naturally touched on the United States' system. I tried to explain--neutrally--what the various political parties believe in. Imagine my shock when Katie burst out, "Ugh! I hate those guys!" when I was describing the politcal party I align with! When I pointed that out, she stammered and back-pedaled. Oh, well, it's a free country, I guess! :)

I'm going to wrap this up for now, but if I have time this weekend, I'll try to share what  the kids  put together for their biography projects in literature. In the meantime, y'all have a great weekend.

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