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Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Quarter Report

Explorer's Bible Study- Discovery: Genesis
We have worked through lessons 1-9 which covers Genesis 1-7. I had my doubts whether Camille would be ready for a step up in work concerning Bible study but she has quelled those fears and I'm very proud of her. We struggled a bit trying to decide whether to write the answers out or to answer orally. Once we decided, Bible is now a time of snuggling and reading God's word followed by a discussion. The only exception is the map work.

Horizons Math 3

Horizons Math 3 has been dropped and I am contemplating whether to sell the teacher manuals for all three years we have, year 1-3. This was a bold move for me, I've suspected that Horizons wasn't really teaching Camille math but just leading her through the motions, she learned how to do math the Horizons way but there wasn't much understanding outside of the workbook pages. I decided to take a chance and look for a new program. We have Math on the Level right now at the end of the first quarter and I'll be deciding soon whether it is our new math program.

Times Tales by Memory Trigger Systems has been wonderful. We are using it while we are transitioning math programs.

Prima Latina
We love Prima Latina, we enjoy watching Mrs. Lowe and having a different approach for one of our subjects. Camille has always done well with memorization and since we've dropped a lot of memorization for more hands-on approaches, she excels with Prima Latina. I don't know if it's the most fun program out there but we make our own flashcards and play games with the vocabulary. Her work load for the week is:

Monday- watch DVD
Tuesday- make vocabulary flashcards (listen to CD)
Wednesday- review vocabulary, complete 1 page of exercises
Thursday- review vocabulary, complete 2nd page of exercises
Friday- none

Primary Language Lessons by Margot Davidson
I've seen Camille grow with this program at a steady rate since we started it last January. She has 26 pages of written work in her notebook, some pages have double lessons. She has written friendly letters, started descriptive writing, rewritten fables and completed plenty of copywork with grammar concepts woven in. We have expanded on the grammar concepts with Writing Aids and Grammar Tales. As we end first quarter we are on lesson 132.

Explode the Code, Book 7

We've ended the first quarter on Lesson 10, just where our spreadsheet said we would. Lesson 10 is a review lesson which is perfect to do when we start back up in two weeks. I'm not certain it is truly helping but I suppose Camille is building her vocabulary, phonetic awareness and her reading has improved greatly. Unsure about whether it is because of ETC or maturity and practice. We will finish and complete Book 8 for good measure just in case.

Poetry Memorization from The Harp & Laurel Wreath
This quarter Camille has memorized:

Bird Talk by Aileen Fisher (4 stanzas)
Merry Sunshine by Anonymous (4 stanzas)
Foreign Lands by Robert Louis Stevenson (5 stanzas)
Windy Nights by Robert Louis Stevenson (2 stanzas) *still working on

We are one week behind what I slated for each poem, Foreign Lands taking one more week than expected but I'm so proud of her. I raised the bar on the amount and she has risen to the challenge.

Tapestry of Grace Year 3 Redesign, Unit 1
We have studied the French Revolution through the War of 1812 and Simón Bolívar and learning about South America. Camille has been making president flashcards and has Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe so far. She made moccasins, a quill pen, and a collage of South American countries and flags which was supposed to be a South American map puzzle. We enjoyed learning about Lewis & Clark very much and completed an interactive paper map as well as other paper crafts to illustrate what we have learned.

Through Tapestry, we've also read many picture book fairy tales which we enjoyed with afternoon tea. We read Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Bremen-Town Musicians, Rumpelstiltskin, and the original Grimm's Cinderella and charted the elements of a fairy tale if each tale had:
1. Special Words (Once upon a time, lived happily ever after, etc.)
2. Good character
3. Evil character
4. Royalty and/or Castle
5. Magic
6. Problem and Solution
7. If there were occurrences in 3's or 7's.
We've had a bout of colds and sore throats so we gave this up a few weeks but I'm satisfied with what we've done.

Building Critical Thinking Skills Level 1
We both enjoy this, at first Camille was doing it independently but she became stagnant in completing the work so I joined her and we're both having fun now. This week she completed 6 exercises in 30 minutes and wanted to continue.

Head to Toe Science by Jim Wiese and supplements
Not to sound like a broken record but we've had fun and learned a great deal using Head to Toe Science. We have oodles of completed projects from Easy to Make and Learn Projects: Human Body by Donald Silver and we have a completed My Body outline by Teacher Created Resources. We have one chapter to finish while during our break because there are 10 chapters and I didn't want to condense any of it. I think Camille was most impressed by the cow bone we obtained from the butcher. The experiments have been great and easy. Camille also built a double helix with our Zoob pieces, very cool.

Camille has had to write out her science vocabulary for the last three chapters and this will continue through the rest of our science studies. I am currently reading about teaching science through inquiry and keeping an inquiry-based science notebook. I feel this was an excellent start for our year.



Nature Study & Field Trips
-We've walked a local 3 mile trail 4x in the last 9 weeks and observed grasshoppers, spiders, birds, turtles, fiddler crabs, flowers and noticed the trees changing. One time Camille held a grasshopper in her hand!
- Skidaway Island State Park and identified animal tracks.
-On our milkweed plant at home, we've had milkweed bugs and monarch caterpillars.
- UGA Marine Extension Aquarium and walked the nature trail where we saw dolphins.
-Local park, we've observed and identified the various geese including Canadian, Greylag and Muscovy ducks as well as a Great Egret
-At the Savannah Ogeechee Canal the kids feed gopher tortoises, observed spiders, butterflies and mushrooms as well as learned to walk over water. We saw many different types of birds nests at the center.
-Discovered mantisflies in our backyard, observed spiders.
-Identified and observed neighborhood hawks, Canadian geese and a woodpecker.
- Identified and observed the many different butterflies that have visited our milkweed plant.
- Attended a Public Safety Day where we were able to explore many emergency vehicles and watch fire fighters use the Jaws of Life.
- Attended a Fall Festival, with petting zoo where Camille held and petted a snake and the kids learned about whelks.
- Went roller skating with a local homeschool group
- Visited a fire department and learned to escape a fire.

Drawing with Children replaced by Draw Squad
Draw Squad has been a hit! We both love it as I see Camille's drawings becoming better and better. She draws on her own so I didn't need to ask her to keep a drawing journal like Draw Squad suggests. While I love Drawing with Children, it just wasn't pick up and go which is what Draw Squad provides.


Handicrafts and Character Studies
I've pretty much dropped these, although I didn't intentionally drop needlepoint. It was a slip through the cracks, we ran out of time type thing. I'm assessing whether to make it a part of our day for the 2nd quarter, and when. Character studies have been dropped, we love the character booklets we have from Keepers of the Faith but after a few attempts they were forgotten.

Composer Study & Biography
I'm hanging my head in shame. We listened to Vivaldi occasionally but not as much as I intended to. Preparing and eating lunch while listening to a composer is great if you can remember to put the CD in the stereo and press play! By the time I would remember, lunch would be over. I don't care how easy someone wants to say reading a book for 15 minutes daily is, if you don't REMEMBER to do's the hardest thing in the world. We finally read I, Vivaldi and I am so grateful to have Opal Wheeler biographies to read for the rest of the year's composers.

Independent Reading
I've had Camille read various books that aligned with out studies, including books from Tapestry deemed independent reading as well as science titles such as What Happens to a Hamburger? The one book that has made the most impact on her reading is the one she's reading right now, The End of the Beginning by Avi. She is enjoying it and although she could read the entire book in 2 days, she's reading 3 chapters a day. She'll finish it tomorrow (11/14) and then we'll start tandem reading Swiss Family Robinson during our break. She's going to read the Classic Starts version while I read the Unabridged version and then we'll discuss it with a few helps from Teaching the Classics.

Camille is enjoying her new teacher and will perform The First Noel and The Angels Heard on High at a recital December 5th. Her new teacher is not using Alfred's Basic Piano course but she has grown in many ways following his methods.

I have failed in Mom's School. I just don't have enough of me to go around and I'm okay with that although I'm constantly wanting to study and learn something on my own. I have a long list of want to's. Currently I have to learn a new math program and plan out the second quarter.

Notes for possible changes: Afternoon tea can be with a composer once a week, read one chapter a week while listening to the composer.




Anonymous said...

Thank you, for sharing your 1st quarter. I enjoyed reading it. :)

Laughing Lioness said...

I love the idea of quarterly review- you are such an inspiration = ).

judahmo said...

Thanks for sharing your first quarter review. As usual your thoughtful assessment of what is working for you and what isn't is helpful to me!

Carolyn said...

Great report, but I take issue with something you said. I certainly don't think you have failed, Jessica. Your Camille has learned a whole lot, and your dedication, diligence and commitment to her well-being and education shine through.

LISA said...

Wow, you have accomplished a lot. I want to encourage you in the area of Mommy school. I have been home educating for 12 years and have at least 10 more to go. I am a huge lover of learning and have always had multiple projects going on. There are never enough hours in the day to do it all.

One day I gave my husband a list of all the "things" I would do if I did not home school my children. He read it and replied "you would not have enough time to get all of these things done if you did not have any children",(great perspective).

Pick a project to work on so that you children know who you truly are.
Blessings on your journey!

jamie in rose cottage said...

Thanks for sharing all of this! I'll be back to reread!

My weekly report is here.

Have a wonderful week!

christinemm said...

Great job!

Glad you're sharing what you changed and why. Glad I'm not the only one who tweaks things all the time.

I realized today when I found an Opal Wheeler book at a library book sale that I did plan on doing composer studies but never put it in writing in my plan AND we have not done it yet.


Have you in the past, listened to the Classical Kids stories on CD? They are about 45 minutes long (going by my memory). You can learn from them plus there are teacher's guides if you want to go deeper (I got mine from Rainbow Resource).

Today I'm culling books from our home library and examining yet again what I had purchased that I thought we'd use yet still have not ever touched. Sigh.

bubbebobbie said...

Congratulations on your Homeschool blog Award nomination. I can see why! I love the science drawings your daughter did this quarter. I lke you Pooh quote, they sure hard trouble keeping that one in ordr didn't they? (yes I have watched it THAT many times)
Hope you do well in the voting, there are so many talented moms out there!
Because of Jesus, Bobbie

Jules said...

You are an amazing mom and teacher. I am impressed with all that you have accomplished. Great job! And great job to Camille, too, for being such a curious and strong student. She is going places, I am sure!

School for Us said...

Wow! You guys have done SO MUCH!!! Planning really helps, huh? (I'm not much of a planner - maybe I'll try...) You all deserve your 2 weeks "off". :-)