Monday, May 25, 2015

Our Summer 2015 Reading List

Accidental Teacher:
     Can you believe I feel like there's a few books missing from this particular list?  I actually have an innumerable amount of books on my Kindle and book list, but these are the books I want completed before we start school again.  Also, just FYI, while I still like cracking open an actual book; the weight of it in my hands and the feeling of the pages I also like the convenience of the Kindle.  How else would I store over a 100 books?  Now to the kids:


Little Toughie:
     They will both read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

     These are their assigned books.  I want to make sure they truly understand what they're reading but since my daughter can't write a book report and my son has difficulties with comprehension and putting his thoughts on paper, I'm going to give them different options to share with me what they've read.

     My daughter is great at narration (it's the actress in her) so I'm going to challenge her a bit and have her write a letter to one of the characters in the book and/or draw a comic strip representing her favorite part of the book.  My son, on the other hand, is neither a narrator or actor or reader, for that matter.  Honestly, I struggle with getting him to read, so I may have to read those books aloud to him, but even that can be difficult because he's not an auditory processor either.  This is where the book How Am I Smart will (hopefully) help me.  As you can tell by his code name, he loves airplanes and I've recently discovered that he likes books with pictures that have a lot of information accompanying them.  Much like the airline magazines he reads and this recent book on fire stations.  Not picture books for kids, but books like the Usborne Encyclopedias.  I may ask him to create a magazine telling me about his favorite part of the books or what he learned from them.

     Either way, I can't wait for us to dive in.  Oh, and to make things even more interesting for my kids I created Summer Reading Bingo cards.  When they black out all the spaces they get to select a book at Barnes & Noble to take home.

Do you have a summer reading list?

Please share it on our Facebook page.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Year 2: Our Final Week!

     What a finale!  Some of the things our school year included:

  • reading and digger deeper into the first few books of the Old Testament
  • studying and reading about all the California Missions
  • memorizing a chronological timeline of 161 events and people
  • memorizing The Bill of Rights
  • memorizing the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
  • learning (and drawing) all the U.S states and its capitals (plus geographical features)
  • learning math facts and doing drills
  • science experiments along with learning science facts, including the first 12 elements of the periodic table and the parts of the 8 body systems
  • learning Latin rules and vocabulary
  • reading 7 classic literature books which were also used for our grammar lessons
  • reading over 70 books covering U.S. History and who-knows-how-many books read for fun

     Whew!  All of it was topped off with my Little Toughie playing the part of Small Alice in a production of Alice in Wonderland.
Small Alice in her wig and costume

     As my daughter stepped onto the stage my heart swelled with pride and my eyes filled with tears.  Seeing her take the stage represented the culmination of not only her hard work for and dedication to the play, but also all the hard work of both kids during our school year, which had just ended a few hours prior.  As my daughter took her bow at the end of the show, I bowed my head in thanks to God; for guiding us through another year of homeschooling and for His hand on my daughter through her first lead part in a show.  It was overwhelming to say the least.

     What did I learn this year?  A lot!  I learned that math online for my son is not a good thing.  It was the only thing we did online and he struggled with it.  I learned that my son isn't a great reader but he does a little better with audio books or when he's being read to.  He especially enjoyed The Wind the Willows.  I learned that he likes to write in cursive more than basic print, and I have to say toward the end of our school year his work was neater and his writing had much improved!

     I learned that my daughter is easily frustrated if she doesn't get something right the first time.  She wants to learn it all and she wants to learn it NOW!  I had to point out to her (many, many times) that the more she practices the better she'll get, whether it be math facts or writing.  By the way, her printing is excellent for her age.  She thinks it can be better.

     I learned that my kids will turn anything into a competition.  Who can do their copywork the fastest?  Who will be done with math first?  Who will be done reading first?  Who can recite John 1:1-7 in Latin the fastest?  I had to remind them that I wasn't looking for it to be done quickly, I wanted it to be done neatly and correctly and for them to understand what they were reading or saying.  I have a feeling that I will still have to deal with the competitiveness in our new school year.

     My favorite thing about homeschooling is, aside from being with my kids and watching them develop, grow and mature, is being able to read to them.  That is my absolute favorite thing to do.  Whether it's the Bible, a classic book or some silly book they picked up from the library; I love to read to them.  Thus, I learned that I need to take care of my throat!  At one point during the year I couldn't read Peter Pan to them because I was losing my voice.  They had to listen to the audiobook, which they weren't too happy with but tolerated.

     All in all, it was a wonderful year.  We had our ups and downs, of course, but my kids amazed me.  There were days I felt I was either asking them to do too much or not asking enough, yet they did the work with only the occasional complaint.  I know that none of this would have been possible without God's grace and mercy.  He's blessed my hard-working husband with a job that allows me to be home with the kids.  My husband is understanding and supportive in our homeschool journey and let's me choose the curriculum, though I do seek his input and opinion.  God has blessed me with a man who has faith in me and my abilities to care for our kids, teach them and raise them up for God's kingdom.  Praise be to God!

     As I wrap this year, the new school year is already on my mind.  I tried to resist, but there's so much out there and I like to see what our options are.  I'll have our new curriculum up in late June, but for now here is our Summer Reading List.  Have a wonderful summer.  See you when we start the new school year!