Thursday, January 05, 2012

Term 1

Misty asked how school is going, and it took me a little longer to write that out, because I wanted to include details and links.

Right before Christmas, we finished up our first term of the school year. I had planned that we would have an exam week (which is a special treat) then, but our extra week in Kiev back in November put us a little behind, so we just finished Week 12. I was thinking about starting back up after our winter break with an exam/review week, but I changed my mind. That's a good reward for the end of a term, but not what we need to start off. So, we're done with Term 1 of our Ambleside online year, with Jaan doing Year 2 and Raia in Year 0.

What has been going well:
  • AO books! Of course, what is there to go wrong with such wonderful selections? We like ALL of them. Raia loves when I read Year 0 books aloud, just to her, too. She and I recently finished Winnie the Pooh.
  • Folk songs and hymns: They actually seemed to connect with them and really learn and enjoy them for the first time.
  • Math: We like MEP! Toward the end of the term, I started using a timer with Jaan, and that's really good for him. I generally give him 5 minutes for each section, and he races to get them done, instead of dawdling over them for as long as he can.
  • Copywork for Jaan: he's finally writing! This has been a struggle for him in the past. I think I few things changed this term. First is probably just maturity; maybe his hands are just finally ready to write. Second, I let him type up (computer=fun) his selections in the fonts with arrows that show how to form the letters, before he copys them. And, third, we've moved on from just letters and words to real, interesting poems, quotes and verses.
  • Reading for Raia! I am just amazed to hear her starting to put sounds together! We're still not done with the primer, and she's still not reading books, but she's definitely figuring out words. I just heard her reading chapter titles from one of Jaan's books
What we can work to improve in the next term:
  • Artist study: It just didn't happen. I got the pictures printed, Will bought me a frame for them, and that's all. We'll use the Fragonard pictures for next term now.
  • Nature study: Of course, we were outside, enjoying nature a lot, but we didn't sit at the table to draw, paint, observe or discuss even once. Next term's focus is trees, and I'm going to set aside Tuesday evenings to study them. (Wait. I guess we did do formal nature study, just once. That's better than nothing.)
  • Bible memory: I'm not really happy with how slowly and painfully they're learning their selections. I had Jaan and Raia each memorizing a different Psalm, and they got most of the way through them, but... well, I'm just not happy with how it went. I'm going to switch over to the Simply CM method and use their Verse Pack 1, for all of us in the next term, to see if that's any better.

Oh, I asked Jaan what his favorite book has been, listing off some of the ones we have been reading. He said that it was Understood Betsy. Then, a few minutes later, he realized that I had forgotten to mention An Island Story, and that is his favorite. So, there you have it. The favorite subject of a little American boy, born in Russia, living in Ukraine is... British history.

I entered this post in the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival for January 10.

If you're coming over from that, welcome! Please be sure to say hello.


Karen G. said...

Smiling about the history. My little boy (now 21--sniff) loved and loves history of all kinds. He adored biographies and stories about inventions. I bet I have a few things here that we could pass on to Jaan...I'll keep him in mind when I sort and cull our books (one of my plans for this year).

Mom said...

Thank you for posting this; it make my heart sing to read of all you are doing educationally. You are an incredible teacher!

Baba Julie said...

I love that last sentence! So wonderful! You do a fabulous job. Thanks for posting and sharing with us all! Love you all!

Clare said...

Thanks for the update Phyllis, it's so useful reading about what works and what needs tweaking for other home educating families. I love that your boy loves British history, we def had a whole lot going on :-) Am looking forward to doing some American history with my children, as I didn't do ANY at school!

Jessica said...

You will love SCM memorizing system! We have been using it for several months now and have memorized a ton together. Long and short scriptures and poems.
We pick our own poems as a family and scriptures to work on and then every morning at breakfast we go through our daily, odd/even, day of the week and day of the month cards.
So far retention has been very good.

Kim @ Homestead Acres said...

"The favorite subject of a little American boy, born in Russia, living in Ukraine is... British history."

Oh that gave me a smile. :) We are using AO as well this year. But do to some "life" upsets are only on week 4 of Year 1. Loving it though!

Heather Powell said...

Hi! I found you through Simply CM. We are missionaries in Ukraine as well (also in the Zaporozhya Oblast) in the city of Berdyansk. Thanks for sharing all that has worked and not worked yet. I especially liked all the Russian hymns, folk songs, ... that you are including. I'll be stopping by frequently to see what y'all are up to.

Name: Misty said...

oh YeaH! Thank you for sharing! Sorry it took me so long to read this post.

I love hearing what you are doing and how you make your "curriculum" work for you family. It is such an inspiration to me.