Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our Off-Week Update

So...last week was our "off week" from school.   I'm thinking that I really, really like this 4 weeks on - 1 week off thing.

We had time to do a few fun things....
- Michelle and Papa have been observing the moon each night, so we watched a couple YouTube videos about the phases of the moon. (See the moon challenge at The Handbook of Nature Study.)
- I am not usually an artsy-mama AT ALL...but this week we did do a Monet-inspired art project.  Which was (considering it involved paint) not really all that messy.  Even Elizabeth got to play around with some watercolors while the big kids did their painting which she thought was just grand.  You can't leave this little one out of ANYTHING the big kids are doing.  They had a great time and have asked when they can paint again.  And given how totally NOT STRESSFUL this was for me...I just might let them have at it again soon. (But don't worry, I don't have any intention to turn into a crafty-mama anytime soon.)
- We FINALLY made it to the library so we were able to check out some French books - good practice for all of us, I hope.  The kids actually got cards in their own name since the kids cards are free (adult cards aren't - and we can't read in French above the children's level anyhow.)   They (James in particular) are totally enamored by the fact that they have real cards WITH THEIR NAMES ON THEM.  Ah, the little things.

I took some time to evaluate how our school year is going so far.  Overall, I'm really happy with how things are going and the materials we are using, and the progress Michelle is making.    During this week off, Michelle asked me "when we were going to read about Ponce de Leon again", which told me that she is making a good connection with the history stories we are reading.

A couple of things I'd like to change or improve in the next 4 weeks:
- We've been really consistent with doing nature observations - more so than any other time in our homeschooling experience - but not so much with reading nature stories.  I want to make sure we do this at least once a week.  I'm thinking we will start into the spring-related stories from Outdoor Secrets.
- I want to be more consistent recording Michelle's narrations, aiming for at least once a week.
- Michelle understands math concepts well but needs more practice to cement her fact memorization.  So, we are going to add in a daily math drill - combination of addition facts copywork, addition facts drill sheets, and games.  I'm thinking this will be something she can do independently as part of her "chores" to keep our math instruction block from getting too long.

- I also want to kick our French study up a notch.  I am scheduling in time for the kids to work with The Learnables software that we bought, and we may also try out these videos which have been suggested a couple of times over on the SCM Forum.  As noted above, we also now have access to French books and media at the library, so I also hope to add in at least 1 short French story to our normal read-aloud time each day.

Now that we've pretty well settled into a good school groove, I will try to do a post soon about what our daily school schedule looks like...that is when my school schedule allows. =)


  1. I found your blog via Simply Charlotte Mason and I saw there you posted something about being missionaries in a tropical climate and that you were looking forward to studying the seasons once you had moved. My family and I are moving to the Dominican Republic as missionaries in a few months and I will start homeschooling there. I've been wondering how to study the seasons when they're pretty much the same. Do you have any advice?

  2. Hi Laura,
    Sorry, I didn't reply sooner, I only just now saw this comment. And I'm sorry that I don't really have any great tips for studying the seasons (at least first hand) while in the tropics. What I meant by my comment is that we are enjoying studying the seasonal variation while we are in the Northern hemisphere - we were in the US on furlough last year and currently in France for language study before heading to Africa. We served previously in the South Pacific and I actually found it pretty hard to try to explain the seasons to my kids who were too young to remember the last time they were in N. America! But this time around, at least when we read things about seasons we will have something we can relate to since we've made a definite point to observe the seasonal variation during this time. We do still do nature study type activities in the tropics, focusing on what we do have available. During this coming field term we will also be able to compare and contrast with what we know about the climate, plants, and animals back "home." HTH some - blessings to your family.