Friday, February 27, 2015

Term Two Review - Including Book List 2014-2015

It's hard to believe we're two-thirds of the way through our school year!  We took a little time off from our book studies this week.  However, the kids were still busy with enrichment activities including LEGO Club, Knitting Club, Keepers of the Faith, Choir, Art, and Piano Lessons.  They did continue math throughout the break and I had a read aloud going.   Speaking of which, here is our list of Term 2 2014-2015 History Read Alouds...

Abe Lincoln Grows Up by Carl Sandburg
Jed Smith: Trailblazer & Trapper by Frank Latham
The Story of John J. Audubon by Joan Howard - We read the first five chapters and decided to stop and read the following book instead.
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
The Seasons Sewn: A Year in Patchwork by Ann Whitford Paul 
The Erie Canal by Peter Spier
The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harness
Trail of Apple Blossoms by Irene Hunt
The Story of the Santa Fe Trail by Judy Alter
Along the Santa Fe Trail by Marian Russell & Ginger Wadsworth
Young John Quincy by Cheryl Harness
Andrew Jackson by Clara Ingram Judson
Who Let Muddy Boots Into the White House by Robert Quackenbush
Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac
Kit Carson Mountain Man by Margaret Bell
Quit Pulling My Leg: A Story of Davy Crockett by Robert Quackenbush
Susanna of the Alamo by John Jakes
Amistad Rising: A Story of Freedom by Veronica Chambers
Nettie's Trip South by Ann Turner
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Zia by Scott O'Dell
Jessie Benton Fremont: California Pioneer by Marguerite Higgins
Patty Reed's Doll by Rachel K. Laurgaard
Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi

Overall it was a good term.  I did switch a few things up that weren't working from our original 2014-2015 curriculum.   With mixed feelings on my part, Riley dropped Latina Christiana I.  She was struggling with this course and is also using Michael Clay Thompson's Town Level, which includes Caesar's English, a study of Latin stems.  I do want her to have some exposure to Latin, but maybe both programs at one time were too much.  She also dropped Logic of English Essentials and went back to All About Spelling.  And, I'm afraid we've grown lax in our Plutarch study, but I aim to get back at it soon.

I'm still using Bible Study Guide for All Ages, however, I changed the way I'm using it.  It just felt too classroom oriented.  I now simply read the recommended passages, the kids narrate, and we discuss.  Occasionally, they complete map work or an activity, but I'm not requiring all the busy work.

After finishing God's Design for Heaven and Earth, Our Planet Earth first term, we were scheduled for Our Universe second term.  However, rather than read it from start to finish, I chose various sections to study, supplementing with Master Books New Astronomy Book by Danny Faulkner.  The full color photos and more up to date information was pleasing. 

Ruben started a new online math program.  ST Math is currently running a pilot for homeschoolers and he was able to sign on for the second semester.  ST (spatial-temporal) Math is game based instruction designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning.  It was created from neuroscience research.  I was sold after watching ST Math's TED talk by creator, Matthew Peterson

Ruben has also started cursive writing using Logic of English's Rhythm of Handwriting.  Here again, I'm not using the program as written.  I've modified it to meet Ruben's needs.  We've been working through it slow and steady.  If he can give me 2-3 samples of his best writing of 3-4 different letters per day, I call it good.   After learning some new letters, we build words, writing on the chalk board, using the letters he's learned.  For example, after learning how to write "the swing letters", i, t, u, s, j, p, r, and w, we put the letters together, forming and writing words such as it, sit, pit, us, just, etc.  From this approach, he's starting to take note of cursive when he sees it.  The other day, Ruben read a cursive word on the back of a semi while I was driving on the highway.  It's very exciting to see the kids apply concepts they're learning to every day life.  This is one of the many blessings of homeschooling!!

As mentioned above, we've picked up choir, art and piano lessons the last couple of weeks of second term.  These enrichment activities will continue into third term.  We are blessed to have wonderful, organized, extra curricular homeschool activities in our area. The kids are enjoying it and I look forward to time spent with other like minded moms while we wait for our kiddos :)  It's a win, win!

How's your school year going?  I love comments!  Feel free to leave kind words below...

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