After five years in school, will homeschooling be a fit for our family? Walk with us as we try to find out!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Two for One Special

The Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers are already on Christmas break but I'm still cracking the whip over here...

You may have noticed that there was no Weekly Wrap Up post from last week.  As I mentioned the week before, I spent the weekend out of town visiting family who are going through a very difficult time.  It was a wonderful weekend and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go.  At the same time, there were some hard moments both during the weekend and after I returned home.  We had a full week of school and it went well, but I simply did not have the emotional energy to blog about it.  Once again, without putting the details of their situation out here, I simply ask that you pray for my loved ones as they walk through this time.  Thank you!!!

Last week was a typical week here in our homeschool.  The big news from last week is that I decided to slow down and modify parts of both test subjects' language arts curricula.  TS 1 is using Growing with Grammar, Level 5.  He has been doing fine with it up to this point.  However, we hit a wall once we reached the lesson on Predicate Nouns.  (I mean, who wouldn't?)  I realized, in trying to explain this concept to him, that although he did fine on the tests and worksheets from the previous lessons, he had not completely mastered some of the earlier concepts he studied.  As hard as it was for me to do this, knowing that he might not finish the grammar book by the end of the year (gasp!), I decided to put the brakes on this curriculum for awhile.  We  have gone back to the beginning and are reviewing each lesson by writing notes in a notebook.  We are also working on putting the main points of our review together in a Mini-Office that he can reference when working on grammar once we return to the curriculum.  

TS 2 has been working through Writing with Ease, Level 2 (WWE), and it has been a challenge for him from the beginning.  I love the curriculum for so many reasons that I believe it is worth working through the frustration. If you are not familiar with it, WWE is a four day a week composition/reading comprehension program.  Each week the student learns the skills of narration, copywork and dictation through the exploration of passages from fantastic works of children's literature.  WWE has spurred TS 2's interest in reading for pleasure tremendously.  He has asked for and read several challenging chapter books such as books from the Doctor Dolittle and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series as a result of being exposed to them in WWE.  

Last week, however, the frustration was building to the point of him crying during the lessons.  It broke my heart!  I still wasn't sure how to handle it, though.  If I modify the curriculum, will he still be learning all that he needs to learn?  (I know- duh!- but in the moment I was worried.)  So I did what I hope every confused homeschool mom has the option of doing, I called my dear friend turned homeschooling mentor to ask for advice.  She reminded me that learning cannot take place when the frustration level is too high, and that I need to find the point between challenging TS 2 and frustrating him.  Of course, this will require modifying the curriculum to bring the lessons to the point at which he will be learning new skills AND achieving success.  This week, I did that and he did really well.  He was still challenged to comprehend, discuss and retell the passages but in smaller, more manageable segments.  He was challenged but not frustrated, and not a tear was shed!  

The highlight of last week was our Co-Op Christmas Party.  It began with a sweet play performed by the children that told the Christmas story.  

Then the children rotated through three activities with their similar aged peers: Gospel Presentation/Christmas Craft, Cookie Decorating and Games.  I led TS 1's Craft class and we made cards to send to children with life threatening illnesses.

The party was great fun for the kids, while maintaining the focus on the true meaning of Christmas: God with us!  After the party, we met up with other local homeschoolers for the monthly ice skating play date.

This week has been a different week for the test subjects.  I took some time over the weekend to look at the overall picture of the school year and their progress.  It seems we are ahead of schedule in many subjects areas (LA, Science, Spanish and Keyboarding), right on target in Math and Bible and a smidgen behind in History.  Since we are about to start our Christmas vacation anyway, I thought it would make sense to treat this week as a lighter week in the areas in which we are ahead, which gave us time to do more History and to slow down and review in Language Arts.  It's worked out well and we've all enjoyed a slower pace going into Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours from the Research Team at Our Great Homeschool Experiment!  See you in 2012!!!

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