I always love looking back on the year. I always end the year thinking that we really should have gotten through more information. Then I reflect back and realize that we did get through a lot of information. It happens every year. And just like every year in the past, my beginning of year plans/curriculum changes throughout the year.
Parks completed fifth grade this year. He wanted to work on spelling and writing (did he really?). Those were his personal goals. I simply wanted him to do his school work daily without arguing about it. I am not sure where we ended on his goals or mine, but he did work on spelling and writing and he did do school everyday including working with a tutor two days a week (a local homeschooling grad who is going to the local college). Parks worked through Ancient History including Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China and Greece. He read lots of myths from those time periods and areas. He also did blocks on geometry and astronomy. He read several books including a children’s version of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Starry River of the Sky, The Odyssey (a Children’s version), Blood and Guts, A Rise in the Sun and Secret of the Andes. For math, Parks did a variety of things, but he mainly focused on Life of Fred books Apples to Jelly Beans. I found that he is having a tough time with multiple step math problems such as division, so we will be working on that through the summer. He also worked through Growing with Grammar, Soaring with Spelling and Apples and Pear Spelling. He invented more contraptions than I can think of-rubber band guns, lego cars, tech deck skateparks, rales for his scooter, and so much more. He found out that he loves snowboarding, and he recently has refound his love for wake boarding. He lives to ride his bike and to play with friends. I feel like he really grew up a lot this year. He still doesn’t like school, but he is wiling to do it. He has very high expectations for himself and works hard at the things he loves. I hope next year, we can find something in school that he loves too so he sees the benefit of working hard in that area as well.
Sawyer finished up seventh grade-although I feel that she completed middle school! She worked hard this year and has found a love for learning that amazes me. She loved pretty much every subject that I threw at her (don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t jumping at the bit for more school work. She simply enjoyed learning). Sawyer worked through blocks on Ancient Rome (just a review), Islam, Alchemy and Chemistry, Wish/Wonder/Surprise, Astronomy, China in the Middle Ages, Europe in the Middle Age, Geometry, and Photosynthesis. She read more books than I can fit on this page. She reads–alot. :). She also worked through Growing with Grammar and Soaring with Spelling. She did the Life of Fred math books for fractions, decimals and percents. Sawyer also worked with a tutor on creative writing. She wrote some awesome stories that I hope she continues to work with. She brought the characters to life through her stories. She also continued to work on her sewing. She made several new things this year including a dress, water bottle holders, her Halloween costume and many more smaller items. Her artistic side really popped this year too. If she isn’t reading or outside, she is drawing. She also found that she truly enjoys rock climbing indoors (Sims, as you will see later, loves climbing outdoors). She enjoys the challenge of completing the routes.
Sims made it through his first year of high school. He made some big gains in school this year. We had a lot of growing pains in the beginning of the year trying to find the right fit of curriculum for him, By the end of the year, I think he had a good rhythm with his work. Almost everything changed from the beginning of the year! LOL. He completed Life of Fred Algebra. This shocked me because he does work with a dyslexic brain so I never would have picked a math program that required reading. However after trying Thinkwell Algebra and seeing that a traditional approach was not working, he asked if he could try Life of Fred. He loved it. The mastery approach worked well too. He had to master the chapter prior to moving on. For Language Arts, Sims worked through the Life of Fred Grammar series as well, and he worked with a tutor on academic writing (expository, compare/contrast, descriptive, research, and personal essays). This also required him to learn how to get his thoughts down on paper independently. He learned how to type and how to use speech to text software. For Biology, we mixed it up using several different curriculums and making our own course and doing labs along the way. For World History, he used the Simply Charlotte Mason’s Stories of the Nations along with working with the younger two on their blocks. World Geography turned out to be one of his favorite subjects. He used the Oak Meadow World Geography course and supplemented with several books from the Simply Charlotte Mason series. Sims also worked with the natural resources department for our county in the beginning of the year to work on a forestry elective. He learned about local trees and ground cover. He also worked with the Project Learning tree where they taught about forestry to local sixth graders. He also did research on his own about the trees that are native to NC. Together, Sims and I went through a Health book. We found that most of it, we do daily and speak about in our day to day lives. He took the “tests” at the end of each chapter and found the whole thing silly, but he completed it. I did not give him any grades this year. I am not sure how that will effect him in his journey to get into college. I felt that this year was about learning how to be independent in his studies. I think that he did great with it. He also continued rock climbing, both indoors and outdoors. He also took safety classes for climbing to continue learning. He also sailed on a local sailing team and competed several times. Sims is a very active teen. He rarely has a down moment which is his own choice.
As a group, the kids took an anatomy and physiology class. They loved it. They also cooked a lot more this year and began experimenting more with cooking. We had more sweets than we have ever had this year! We didn’t hike as much as I would have liked, but we did get some hiking in and a few trips. My three kiddos are really growing up. They are each finding themselves and they are each so very unique in their interests and personalities.