Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mid-Year Homeschool Report

We are a little past the halfway mark! A good time for me to evaluate how things are going. Truly, I am always doing this in my mind, but it's good for me to get it down on paper/screen.

Way back in July I laid out all our plans for the year... now to see how we're really doing....

Hannah, 7-8 years : 2nd grade

Saxon 3 continues to work for us. I know many don't like the colorless pages, the hand holding teacher notes, the endless timed drills ("drill and kill" is one name I have heard), but Hannah and I don't mind a bit. I find she really benefits from all the built-in review. I do feel it doesn't include as much mental math as compared to Singapore, so I add a bit of that for fun. :)

Language Arts:
First Language Lessons - second half of book (supplementing with Evan-Moor's Grammar and Punctuation 2, Write a Super Sentence, Paragraph Writing). I really like FLL and the Evan-Moor worksheets have been a nice complement.

Explode the Code - She has finished Book 6 and is well into Book 7.

Spelling: I decided not to use Spelling Wisdom before school started and switched to All About Spelling. I had heard so many good things about AAS, and a friend let me borrow it, so we gave it a try. We used it for the first half of the year, but neither of us liked it. Hannah was bored to tears (and it required me to do the lessons with her). I imagine it would be a wonderful program for a struggling speller, but Hannah is not that. We usually glossed over it and had Spelling Bees using words from Explode the Code. I ended up going back to Spelling Workout C and we are both happier. Next year, I will use Spelling Wisdom.

Poetry Memorization (pulling mainly from The Harp and Laurel Wreath and other lovely books of poetry from the library): Hannah loves poetry. It is a joy for her to decide on the next poem to memorize.

Writing: Hannah is always writing... poems, stories, filling up diaries. We have not started a writing program, but I have been looking at the Institute for Excellence in Writing/Pudewa which many of my friends use. I think we will wait until next year.

Handwriting - Cursive: A Reason for Handwriting C. I really like the way this program divides up the lessons for a week. Her cursive is beautiful.

Reading: I have been lazy about keeping a book list of all that she reads. She is constantly reading. I really should compile a list of her favorites.

Will, 5-6 years : Kindergarten

Math: Horizons K. Math is his thing. We are moving quickly through this.

Reading: Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, Explode the Code - Books 1 & 2, Evan Moor's Phonics Skills. We are moving along... perhaps a bit more slowly than I had hoped. He reads well during his lessons, but will rarely pick up an early reader and read independently. He is just not eager to labor through a book when one could be read to him. I am hopeful... it does seem it is all beginning to click.

A Reason for Handwriting K - He just finished this book. Now we are just doing simple copywork, knowing that one short phrase beautifully written is better than a whole page of sloppy letters.

Peter, 3-4 years

We are enjoying puzzles and books, while learning letters and numbers. He is almost always with us during Music, Art, History, and Science.


Leading Little Ones to God, The Child's Story Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Scripture Memory. I am currently setting up our scripture memory box following Simply Charlotte Mason's system (very excited about this). We will finish Leading Little Ones to God (which we have enjoyed) very soon, and will then move on to the Shorter Catechism/Children's Catechism to guide our devotions. Hannah has her own daily Bible reading time using the Children's ESV Bible.

I had planned on beginning Latin this year using Song School Latin. But Hannah had the opportunity a few months ago to join a weekly, homeschool Latin class taught by a homeschool mom who used to be a high school Latin teacher (Perfect!). There are six kids in the group that meets at a friend's house. Hannah LOVES it. Hannah missed the first year of this group, but is catching up quite well using Minimus Secundus for the text. She is reviewing the vocabulary she missed last year through online flash cards and games. It helps that dad knows Latin. :)

Early American History, A Literature Approach (Beautiful Feet Books). We LOVE this! All of us. We often read much more than the lesson requires. The books have all been wonderful. I'm very happy with this choice.

States and Capitals using My Father's World state sheets/cards. I decided to wait for next year to use A Child's Geography, Explore His Earth next year. We are slowly reading Hillyer's A Child's Geography of the World. Hannah loves online geography games.

Science/Nature Study:
We are following The Well-Trained Mind's suggestions for 2nd grade Science using the Usborne First Encyclopedia of Our World, the Usborne First Encyclopedia of Space, and piles of library books. We have also been thoroughly enjoying our study of birds using the Burgess Bird Book and Peterson's field guides. State birds and flowers are also included on MFW state sheets/cards which has worked well. We use the library heavily for our science lessons. We haven't done nearly as many experiments as I had hoped, but I knew that would be the first thing to go. We are anxious for the weather to allow for more hikes and outdoor nature study.

Overall, I've been pleased with our choices. It's been a good first half.


  1. I love your mid-year report. We utilize much of the same materials for our homeschool.

    Thank you for sharing. Great idea to document our evaluations mid-year rather than just keeping in our head.

  2. Wow! We do think alike! Hannah sounds a lot like Jackson, our oldest. And Will sounds a lot like Joshua. Is Will a lefty? Just curious. I almost used the Institute... for Writing, too. It seemed so complicated and expensive! I have just been encouraging a lot of different types of writing assignments to accompany our history text. For example, a poem about King Arthur, a narrative about Joan of Arc, etc. I can't decide if I should invest in it for next year! We already do 6 different language arts subjects (if handwriting is included!). But I've heard great things. Let us know what you decided. So glad your year is going so well! Love the updates.

  3. Thank you for this post. I have a 6th grader, 2nd grader, one in Kindergarten, a new 3 yr old and a 1 yr old. I have attempted to keep my same homeschooling schedule/curriculum over the years, and what didn't seem so complicated has turned into something of a chore. I have been thinking about rethinking. You are an inspiration and a huge encouragement to me. Thank you so very much.



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