Monday, December 17, 2018

Fall Term 2018-2019 Wrap-Up

Oh, the beauty of fall seems long ago as I look out the window and see the earth covered with snow. However, according to the calendar, it is technically still fall until the end of the week...and what a fall it has been!

We wrapped up a very busy Term One in mid November, allowing us a scheduled week off for Thanksgiving and WI deer hunting season. A week of what I hoped would be filled with much needed rest and relaxation after our crazy start to the school year. Unfortunately, it began with some unplanned appointments and ended with a near tragedy when Ruben was pinned between a wagon load of round bales and the tractor, after the brakes failed, causing the tractor to roll back on him. Thankfully, angels were watching over him that day. I have no doubt that God's strength gave The Farmer the ability to move that 8-10,000 pound tractor up hill, allowing Ruben to fall from it's grip. After numerous tests, scans, and x-rays in ER, the doctor proclaimed Ruben's life a miracle. He said any man would have been killed under that kind of pressure, but because of elasticity in growing bodies, Ruben was spared. We are ever so grateful!!

Even though there were no organs punctured or bones broken, Ruben's body was badly swollen and bruised from being squeezed so hard. He had tremendous pain and walked with a walker the first couple of weeks, requiring a great deal of care. We've been administering a variety of therapies to aid in his healing since. Ruben is making great progress and slowly recovering. Our lives are gaining some sense of regularity and there is rhythm in our days. Hence the reason I am able to come back and blog about our Fall Term.

First, here is a preview of the resources I had scheduled....

Year One
Year Eight
Year Nine
Morning Time

Next, let's break it down and see what we accomplished in real life because a plan is only good if you are able to implement it.

Big Picture

Overall, we're getting through most subjects in spite of the chaos. As usual, some subjects are more joyous than others. I've had to drop a few books this term in the essence of time and over scheduling, but for the most part, the kids are getting the work done, even though some of it is hard. I don't typically drop books due to whining. (Check out Brandy's post, Don't Drop the Book.) However, if time is truly the issue, I do drop an occasional book. This was the case this term.

Morning Time has been a greater challenge this year with my age gap. I've made a few adjustments and it seems to be going better. I also let Levi come and go, depending on the book we are reading. I think it's necessary to choose a variety of books for Morning Time. Some should be geared to the older kids and some to the younger. I usually start with easier books or books geared for the youngest child. Then I let little ones go or play quietly while I continue with books for the older kids. Of course, the younger kids learn by osmosis and if they are quiet, I encourage them to stay if at all possible.

One book I dropped from Morning Time was our Geography read, Longitude by Dava Sobel. It's an AO Year 9 book that none of us were enjoying, including mama. I had to cut something because our Day 3 reading was too long. Longitude got the ax. We are continuing everything else at this point.

Year 9 - RileyAnn

Riley's been holding her own. Because she had several heavy readings, I did drop From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun. We also haven't completed The Iliad by Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore  and The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore using The Epics by Roman Roads Media as scheduled. We watched the first couple of lectures of The Epics. Wes Callihan is phenomenal! I just didn't have time to sit with Riley and complete the classes. Of course, she's capable of completing it independently, but I really feel strongly that it would be beneficial to do in a group or with a buddy. Therefore, we have set it aside for now. I would love to come back to it at some point!

We are behind in Introductory Logic by Canon Press Series. Again, this is my fault for lack of time to sit with her and complete the course. However, we will definitely continue this for her Logic credit in the coming weeks.

Year 8 - Ruben

Ruben's plan is fitting best of all three kids. I feel like we've finally found balance and he's hit his groove. The only subject that proved to be a bad fit was Introductory Logic by Canon Press Series. I have dropped Logic from his schedule this year as I just don't think he was ready for it. We will pick up some sort of Logic in his high school years, but I'm not sure which book at this point.

Ruben also struggled through astronomy using The Planets by Dava Sobel along with the Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide. He did finish it, but I must confess, the book was terrible IMHO. I find it hard to believe there wasn't a better resource out there for middle school astronomy. There were several readings I omitted because I didn't feel the content was appropriate or necessary for a 13-year old boy. I ended up pulling from Album of Astronomy by Tom McGowen and The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner. Both of which proved to be excellent resources and complementary to most of the big picture of the Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide.

Year 1 - Levi

I was way too ambitious in planning Year One. We've been home educating since 2007 and this is my my third go around with 1st grade. You'd think by now I would have a better sense of time and ability. However, each child is uniquely created and there is no one size fits all. Therefore, the best laid plans sometimes don't work. Term One was a testament to that.

A Mind in the Light Year One - The Complete Guide by Lisa Kelly is a wonderful resource, particularly for a home educator who doesn't quite have her feet under her, but wants to educate classically using Charlotte Mason's methods. It is structured and laid out in an easy to follow format. Unfortunately, I just didn't have time to do all the things. Fortunately, having experience, I was able to cull and pull what worked for us. We have completed all the Literature and Poetry so far, most of the Science suggestions, and the Arts that I put in Morning Time. The most significant changes I made to the program were to History, opting to instead read the D'Aulaire books reprinted by Beautiful Feet Books and scheduled in their Early American History Primary guide. This is proving to be a better fit for Levi. 

I also switched up his math. We began with Charlotte Mason's Elementary Arithmetic 1 by Richele Baburina and Simply Charlotte Mason, but changed to RightStart Level B. I really did enjoy the Math Immersion Retreat I attended in October and Richele clearly has a heart for mathematics using Charlotte's methods. I simply didn't find time to research supplementary problems. When I did have time, my brain wasn't in a place to create math lessons. Instead, I opted to switch to a program that was scripted. I expect teacher intensity at this level so RS is not a problem in that regard. 

Lastly, we began using Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld. I love All About Reading Level 1 by Marie Rippel. However, this particular child was not loving the letter tiles. He prefers a movable alphabet and was able to progress a bit more quickly than AAR was moving. I have not ditched AAR completely, but instead have been going between it and Alpha-Phonics. This seems to be a good combination. 

The changes noted above have allowed us to have smoother days. We are now beginning our fourth week of Term Two and things are going better. By shuffling a few books around, there has even been room for Christmas picture books, but that's for another post...


  1. So glad to hear your son is okay! How scary!

    The beauty of homeschooling is we can tweak plans and still have a productive year. ;) I pray continued healing for your son and those "better" days!

    P.S. We are having a GREAT year thus far with our BFB History/Lit course thanks to your guidance! :)

  2. Thanks so much Amy...and I'm so happy to hear your year is going well!! May you have a blessed Christmas season.

  3. Melissa, I visited that after a long lapse of time reading your blog (or any blog fine that matter). Thank you Lord for protecting Ruben!

    1. Thanks so much Shannon! I have thought of you on occasion and hope you are well.

  4. Ugh. We are slogging through The Planets by Sobel and it is going so slowly. I find the book unappealing myself but have been trying to not speak about it and just get through. Unfortunately it is our first Sabbath Mood science course and I am feeling a little underwhelmed.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that Carlie. Honestly, I have come to the realization that there are too many great books to waste time on a sub par one. I do also realize it can be difficult to throw in the towel for a couple of reasons, including the time and energy it takes to find a replacement and the cost of replacement. If you are more than 2/3, it may be worth sticking it out. However, if you are 1/2 or less, it may be wise to bow out and try something else. Pray about it and see where God leads you.