May 6, 2005

Call It a Year

Well I told Rhiannon last week that she was officially done with kindergarten. Truthfully she is more than halfway into first grade work in some areas and probably even further in her reading skills. Now we will drop down for the summer to just math, reading and copywork until late August. Of course we probably will continue to have lessons from time to time as their interests or events come up. However, with the nice weather all I want to do is keep her handwriting, reading and math skills fresh and spend the rest of the time outdoors as much as possible.

Of course with being outdoors and on more field trips as is our general summer policy she tends to keep more of her nature notebook so I guess we probably spend more time on science and art during the summer than during the rest of the school year. We will still listen to classical music and observe great works of art but I am not going to do it in a structured way.

Of course we will continue to read often and a wide variety as is our general policy. So I guess not much is changing as we enter the summer. I am just removing some of the structure and stopping with certain texts until the fall. We will hold off on our grammar, history, and more formal science texts. We will also take the summer off to plan for our country of the month studies to resume in the fall with a study of Central and South America, followed by Africa. I will stick to storybooks for summer reading, unless of course they pick up non-fiction themselves (which does happen from time to time) and listen to more books on tape as we spend more time in the car driving from place to place. We will exercise more, smell the flowers and visit the pond probably daily.

All in all it has been a great year. I have been so impressed with Rhiannon's progress. She is reading fluently - she has read her Picture Bible cover to cover and is working through it again! The stated reading level for this is 9-12! Of she needs help with some of the more complicated names or cities but after hearing them once she was able to start using them properly. At first I did not believe she was actually reading it and had her read out loud to me, which she could do easily. Then as she read quietly I would ask her about it afterwards and her narrations were excellent so she really is reading it. She has also taken to reading the Great Illustrated Classics collection. She reads every day typically for an hour.

For math we worked through Miquon and we stayed in the first workbook. I also supplemented with some things from the web. She has mastered her numbers to 100, skip counting, simple addition and subtraction without manipulatives, more complicated addition and subtraction with manipulatives, number correspondence, patterns, comparisons, word problems and the beginning concepts of fractions and multiplication.

For copywork she wrote poetry, scripture, famous sayings, her letters, letters to family, family names, and some specific lesson work. Her handwriting has improved tremendously over the year and continues to get better when she takes her time.

For history and geography we studied one country a month through our coop. We looked at the customs, culture, geography, flag, food, traditions, history and government for one country a month. We also worked through some of Story of the World and some basic US history.

For bible study she has been working through her entire bible, we learned the timeline and historical overview of the nation of Israel and the main events of the bible. She worked on memory verses and copywork.

For science we covered the basics our school district required: seasons, weather, five sense, body, and we will finish up with plants as we garden this year. We also spent quite a bit of time learning about a wide variety of animals and God's creation. We threw in some fun science experiments and concepts to lay the foundation for the future. We have spent quite a bit of time on magnets as well. She has started keeping a nature journal.

For fine arts we listened to composers Vivaldi, Bach and Beethoven this year and acquainted ourselves with their music. We looked at art from Mary Cassat and Monet. Of course during our year we were introduced to many others as well. They played with musical instruments, paint and a variety of crafts. They kept nature notebooks and drew pictures and cards.

For language arts we read, read and read some more. We also worked through First Language Lessons for grammar and Phonics Pathways for phonics. We listened to many books on tape in traditional and unabridged format. Some favorites were The Silver Chair by CS Lewis, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan by JM Barrie and Pinnochio. We read several hundreds books over the course of the year, our reading lists are available throughout the blog.

It has been a great year and I have loved learning with them and teaching them. Now we are off to enjoy the sunshine.


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