Friday, May 22, 2015

It's a wrap!

Memorial Day weekend is upon and that means we're wrapping up another school year.  So indulge me as I pause to look back on all we've done.


We always start our school day with Bible study.  This year rather than using a purchased study we followed the requirements for his Royal Rangers Bible merit (this is a required merit on the path towards Schnickelfritz's Gold Merit of achievement).  We've had to build a timeline of people and events in the Bible as well as a chronology of when the books were written and what period they covered.  We talked about genres in the Bible--poetry, prophecy, epistles, etc. (eight in all according to the handbook's classification) Then we had to read two books from each genre, none of which we'd read for other merits.  One of his final tasks was to write a 5-8 minute devotional on salvation.


Last fall we reviewed Fix It! Grammar from the Institute for Excellence in Writing and when the review period was over we just kept using it.  I've been amazed at my son's progress.  When we started it would often take him several guesses to come up with the verb in a sentence.  Now he's identifying adverbial clauses and the comma rules that apply to them.  The hardest part was keeping him from reading ahead to find out what happens to Robin Hood (the subject of the story we edited sentence by sentence).  I've already purchased the next level to continue our studies next year.  


Grammar and writing tied together beautifully, which was no surprise since they come from the same company.  We're finishing the first half of the Student Intensive Continuation Course--Level A.  Writing is still Fritz's weakest area, but we're plodding along.  The reinforcement from grammar is helping with his sentence openers, strong verbs and quality adjectives.  Still, where Dickens got paid by the word and thus tends to use as many as possible, I think my son would pay for every word he doesn't have to write.  We'll finish the SICC-Level A course next year.


We've completed the last of the elementary science courses from Apologia written by Jeannie Fulbright.  We'd received the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics  as a review product in the fall of 2013, but we were currently in a co-op using the Anatomy and Physiology book so we set Chem & Phys aside after the review to pick up this year.  As good as the material is, We both missed doing labs with friends (and I missed the reinforcement of being tied to other families to stay on schedule).  Next year we're jumping ahead to Apologia's Biology so that we can work with another family again.  I know this means skipping both General and Physical sciences but I got reassurances from the author of all three titles (Dr. Wile) at this year's Homeschool Expo that my son is ready for it based on his math (see the time table included in the linked post). 


We've worked our way through history from the American Civil War through World War Two.  I'd been combining Volume 2 of All American History with the corresponding titles from Home School in the Woods' Time Travelers series.  This slowed us down as I tried to do both , so by the time we got to WWII we just used Time Travelers.  Now I can confirm that it does work as a stand alone history course (and watch next week for my review of the study).


Our key curriculum was Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1, but we had several interruptions to review online math programs.  I'm concerned that math used to be my son's favorite subject, but it's dropped from that position and may not even be second at the moment.  I don't know if it's the curriculum jumping or the complexity of the work.  Just before Expo this spring my son asked if we could go back to Mr. Demme and Math U See.  So that's what we'll be doing this fall and I'm even going to resume with Algebra 1 again.  Since MUS progresses when mastery is shown we may move through it quickly and be in Geometry before the year's up but I want to make sure Fritz's algebra is solid since he'll be using it in biology.


This has been Fritz's favorite subject of the year.  We were using Homeschool Piano (another review product).  I should have sat with him more to make sure he was doing the work, not just watching the videos.  He does still like to work out his own tunes, but we won't be continuing this as school work next year.

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