This is the point in the year where I second guess everything we have done so far. Actually, I don’t know if that’s accurate. Because if I am being honest, this is the point in the year where I feel like we have done absolutely nothing, so really what is there to second guess? The boys are behind. I am behind. I’ve been too lax. They can’t do this. They don’t know that. Yikes!
One would think these hyperbolic thoughts would get my butt in gear, but rather they make me think ahead to next year. Greener pastures and all that . . . sad, but true. This happens every January. I let myself have my little panic, maybe even take a peek at next year’s blocks and then I force myself to look at the evidence: all the paintings we’ve done, the main lesson books we’ve completed, the books we’ve read, the handwork we’ve created. The facts are we’ve done a bunch, had some great successes and learned a lot. Yes, there are some adjustments that need to be made, but nothing enormous. Some plans need tweaking, some things have been skipped and some struggles have come to the fore. This is real, live homeschooling, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Below you will find a listing of our first semester’s accomplishments and also our second semester’s adjustments. Seeing everything in list form allows me to view things objectively, without the baggage of what went wrong, what could have been improved, what someone pitched a fit about, what I thought I was going to poke my eyes out over. A simple list. Just the facts. A thorough assessment, and then, we move forward.
Vincent: Fifth grade is vast. We will not accomplish everything – not by a long shot – and that is ok. The first half of the year was devoted almost exclusively to Ancient Mythologies and Math, specifically fractions. We covered India, Persia and Babylon. We reviewed carrying, borrowing and double-digit multiplication. We introduced long division. We reviewed basic fractions and started adding, reducing and multiplying fractions.Vincent has extended his pennywhistle repertoire and knits everyday. He is able to follow simple knitting patterns and has taught himself to increase and decrease. His agility in basketball and football has improved greatly. He is almost swimming. He is on track to earn his Arrow of Light in cub scouts.
Some adjustments we need to make include adding daily math practice, assigning independent reading related to main lessons and imposing a 2 handwork project limit. My grand plans for Botany have gone by the wayside. Somehow, we all shut off on Thursday night – me most of all. We still bake on Friday and have storytime, but that is about all we seem capable of. I’m giving myself a pass on this, and sometime in March or April we will do a Botany block. I have also decided to finish up our US Geography block from last year where we never made it west of the Mississippi. Plus I saw this state quilt in a magazine, and it made me swoon. I showed it to Vincent (Mr. No Fear!) and he was confident we could do it. Hmm . . . we’ll see.
Jude: Jude has taken to school like everything else in his life: slowly and steadily. He is (mostly) agreeable during main lesson, but would still prefer to be outside playing ball. I keep his lessons short, with lots of art, stories and movement. We have completed our letters block, introduced all the numbers from 1-12, and completed 2 mini nature blocks on fall and winter. Jude has become a confident knitter. He can cast on, cable cast on and do the knit stitch. He has made lots of squares. Just this past week he has started knitting with brown yarn, whereas previously he would only knit with green yarn. I’m seeing progress where I can and viewing this as pushing some sort of creative boundary. He continues to improve on the pennywhistle and is becoming more assertive during his lesson time. He loves Tiger cubs and has achieved several belt loops.
With Jude, my tweaks will be minor. First grade is just getting your feet wet. I do want to incorporate a little more writing, such as Jude copying a summary sentence from the board into his main lesson book. Trying different tactics (anything!!) to encourage him to retell the stories he has heard. I made a storytelling basket full of props that will hopefully assist in this goal. A little more pennywhistle practice and tackling a larger knitting project.
Is it June yet?