Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mid-Year Assessment

We have now made it over halfway in our homeschooling year - yay! (102 days to be precise.) I sat down on Thursday with our books and roughly mapped out our weeks of school and number of lessons we have left. With N1 gone two days a week for her homeschool tutorial, I have been a little concerned that we were going to get to the end of our 180 days and find that we were no where near finished with our language arts and math work. There are some of her subjects that I can easily double up on the three days that she is home (handwriting, Writing with Ease, etc.) However, her math (we're doing Saxon 1) takes us easily 30-45 minutes a day sometimes and to double up on those is tricky with everything we're trying to check off + the whole 3 other kids thing. : )

After looking at numbers of weeks v. numbers of lessons, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we will easily wrap up everything by the end of the school year with the exception of her math! Whew. It looks like that will take us a few weeks into June to finish up the daily lessons, but I am fine with that. I want to make sure that she is solid on her math skills for 2nd grade ... I am not a great mathmatician myself and I want her to be confident in her math skills we continue on.

As far as the materials we have chosen for this year, I've been pleased with the curriculum we decided to go with. The materials from Peace Hill Press (Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons) have worked very well for us and I expect will continue on with them next year. Saxon math has also been a good fit for us this year even though I wasn't knocked out with it for Kindergarten. I'm glad I gave it another shot for 1st grade. (Not that the kindergarten materials were bad; I think N1 was somewhere between the K & 1st grade materials when we started and they were to easy for her. Now, when I pull it out next year for N2, I think it will be a perfect fit). The only thing that I haven't been fired up about this year was our spelling/vocabulary workbook (Wordly Wise) but we're going to keep plugging away at it.

I've also started doing a little planning and notetaking about next year for my soon-to-be-2nd grader and almost kindergartener! Right now (although nothing definite as far as a decision has been made) we're planning on bringing N1 back home fully for 2nd grade. I cannot begin to say how completely providential the tutorial was this past year. Having two days a week where I didn't have to do school was such a lifesaver for me (mentally, physically, educationally) what with having a baby, surgery, and now our upcoming move. I have been so thankful for her teacher and the program they provided. However, I will admit that there is a tug-of-war with our time between the work that I do with her and the work that the school asks for. It's not much, but I find that have to let go of some of the things that I plan so that she gets her tutorial work done timely. Again, not a bad thing, but not as hands-off for me as I thought I would be. (Does that make sense??) : ) Anyway, I'm looking at / thinking about social studies and science curriculum for her. She has spent the last year in American History - mid-1800s and on. I'm contemplating using Story of the World but starting in book 2 (middle ages) as opposed to book 1 (ancient civilizations) and then hitting book 1 on our 2nd lap through the series when she is older. We'll see. And then, science. I like the looks of the Young Explorer Series by Jeanne Fulbright (i.e., Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day) - how much would my nature girl love something like this? There are a lot of cool options out there, that's for sure. : )

This has turned in to quite the long-winded and rambly post. My apologies but I apparently needed a brain dump on some of this school stuff. I've also been tweaking my calendars, meal planning system, and cleaning routines - can you tell I'm trying to get organized for the before and after of the move? : )

Happy Saturday!


  1. We LOVE the Story of the World! I love the activities in the Activity Guide. And I have never heard of Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.... have to look into that!

    With no. 4 on the way in July, I am already planning and gathering materials for next school year. I want to be as prepared as I can be! :)

  2. Love hearing what you guys are doing Steph. Don't know how you do it all!

  3. I was trying to figure out what the "code" was before I started reading the post. I gave up, hopeless. =) You are mighty organized! (Will I EVER be?!)

  4. Bravo on doing all of this...I don't know if I would be disciplined enough to home school - although, with the way some things are going - I might should reconsider that. :) I think you're doing a great job. :)

  5. wordly wise is the BEST vocabulary set ever! we used them heavily from 8-10th grade ... i *hated* it, but i secretly loved it too... ha!

  6. I love reading these posts!! Is that your record keeping/lesson plans at the top? That looks like a good way to do it. Sounds like you're on top of things! We haven't done spelling this year (except for a week or two when we did All About Spelling before I decided to wait until we are completely through with OPGTTR). I like AAS, but it us fairly time consuming.

    Contests on making it 1/2 way +!!

  7. Hey Steph -- congrats on your homeschooling success. You are doing a great job. A science program that we have liked is Considering God's Creation. Is that one you have looked into? You have amazing resources so may already know about that one. I think your nature/craft girl will like it. Just a thought.

  8. We have used Saxon for 10+ years and it is excellent. No need to finish every single lesson when you get to the end of the year because it will be repeated the next year! Also, many homeschoolers find (based on Saxon's recommendation) to give your 1st grader Saxon 2, your 2nd grader Saxon 3, your 3rd grade level 4 and so on. It has worked well for us!

    Love Susan Wise Bauer's materials as well!


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