Some moments just hit you. This was one of them. Sawyer completed 8th grade this year. Wow! I know that I have already gone through this once, but this came fast! It seriously feels like not that long ago Sawyer was in first grade. She definitely filled her elementary and middle school years full of fun and learning. She always finds something to create, an animal to care for/observe/ride, joy in nature, a book to read, an obstacle to tackle and a fun time. We took the time to celebrate her transition from middle school to high school. Joined by a group of families whom we home school with and grandparents, Sawyer and her friend-Aidan played corn hole, 9 square, and prepared for the next four years as high schoolers!!
I was looking over my blog as I begin to plan for next year, and I noticed that I never wrote a year end wrap up! Now to remember what everyone did! We did a lot as a group this year, so there were less individual blocks that I was coming up with. First, let’s look at what everyone did individually.
Parks finished his first year in middle school as a sixth grader. He took his first true, big-kid classes this year. One class focused on writing and grammar. At the end of last year, Parks could barely write a sentence without complaining the entire time. By the end of this year, he could write an entire story. He worked really hard on this class. Parks also took a general science class, which ended up not being the best for for him. He is already a very science oriented kid so the class did not challenge him the way he was hoping it would. He worked through sixth grade math and business math using the Simply Charlotte Mason Pet Store series and the Life of Fred series. On his own, Parks learned more about drones, learned how to skateboard, participated in a snowboarding team, participated in a sailing team, did a ton of baking, helped Sawyer start a pet sitting business, and played a lot with his puppy,
Sawyer completed eighth grade this year and is more than ready to move on to high school. I actually think she was ready last year. Sawyer took a high school English class that really pushed her. I was a little worried that the class would kill her love for writing, but it didn’t. What it did do was teach her some major executive functioning skills and organizational skills! She had a lot of dates and assignments to keep up with. Sawyer’s favorite class this year was physical science-another high school level class. She was young for the class, but she rocked it. She loved the experiments and writing the lab reports. For math, she completed the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra series. In addition to traditional school subjects, Sawyer learned many new art techniques, sang at several events (a great way to end the year-she got to be a back-up singer for a concert at the big theatre in the city near us), continued her sewing, continued climbing on the climbing team, started a pet-sitting business, got her boater’s license, learned arial silks and became an amazing young lady (well, I think she has always been amazing, but she has really grown up).
Sims finished up his tenth grade year. I am trying not to freak out that he is almost done with school! He doesn’t look like a little kid any more and he doesn’t act like one either-well, for the most part. Sims took high school Chemistry this year with a group. He loved it. He enjoyed the experiments. He learned how to use a text book to its fullest potential. He learned about writing lab reports more in depth. Sims also took geometry through High School Math Live. He liked the online approach as long as it was live. He found it more difficult to go back and watch the class if he missed one. I like that he is started to be very aware of how he learns best. Geometry went very well. Sims worked with a teacher throughout the year on writing. He also worked through the Reading Horizons program to hone in on a few missing links in his reading and spelling. The Reading Horizons program worked awesome. Initially, he fought it and complained. After the first few lessons though, he found the usefulness of it. Sims experienced a pretty bad concussion this winter which made the first few months of the year pretty interesting. He could not be on a computer or any screen. He also had a tough time focusing to read without getting a major headache. So we took this time to listen to a few audiobooks, work on puzzles, and do a lot of discussion based teaching. Luckily by mid March, he was able to move forward again. Outside of school, Sims continued climbing and went on several climbing trips(except for the time during his concussion recovery), began sailing big boats and racing them, got his driver’s license, took up photography, built a climbing wall in his room, and hung out with his friends.
We worked through a couple of subjects together including finance/economics and US history. I wrote a blog on the finance block here. The only part not in the blog is their final block on entrepreneurship. In this block, each person worked on and presented a shark tank presentation. As far as US history, we started with the American Revolution and ended with World War II. The kids also participated in their 4H co-op each week. The blocks were the same for each of them, however the expectation of the project involvement increased for the older kids. The 4H blocks included geology, PE, Spanish, geography, finance, entrepreneurship, coding, cooking, sculpture, and environmental science. Overall, another successful year!
Woot! Woot! We are done-officially anyway with school for 2018/2019! Last week was slow and fun. ( I know that I am writing this at the end of the next week, but our last official week of school was last week.). Parks and Sawyer broke out the paints. We looked through photos depicting moments in US History. Sims and Sawyer went to their final science lab classes. Sims finished his geometry class. We did one last hike with our 4H group.
Now on to summer! And what would summer be in a homeschooling household without some good old fashioned educational activities (insert child moans)? We started our summer off hatching chickens. We are city folk here so this was a totally new experience. We learned about eggs and the embryonic development of the chickens. We learned how to “see” them develop through the eggs by holding a light up to the eggs. We watched them hatch and grow quickly! I also got a subscription to MEL chemistry kits for the summer. The first one already came in. I got it for all of the kids, but Parks jumped on it. He LOVED it. Other than that, we will continue with some reading throughout the summer! I will write a post wrapping up the year with everyone’s classes and such at a later time. Until then-Happy Summer!
We are seriously counting down the days now. We are finishing up our math books. Writing classes are complete. We are reading a book on World War I right now which we should finish up in the next two weeks. Hands on biology is happening all around us. Our monarch caterpillars are growing like crazy. We have chicken eggs in an incubator that should hatch in the next couple of weeks. We went on a field trip to an educational forest where we saw a beaver dam and pond, forest progression, and learned about forest ecology. We went hiking where we saw wasp eggs (at least we think that is what they are), spider nests wrapped up in ferns, turtles, and lots of beautiful plants. Oh, I almost forgot. We also rehomed to our house two black racers. Our friends did not want them to stay at their houses, so we boxed them up and released them in our yard!
Spring is here! We are loving the weather. Things are winding down Sawyer and Parks had their last writing class on Tuesday. Parks had to present his research paper on the history of snowboarding.
Wednesday, we headed on a hike to Boone’s Cave. We saw lots of critters and beautiful flowers. Later in the afternoon, a friend of mine came over to bring me some milkweed plants. We decided to run down to Latta Plantation to check on our butterfly garden that we planted there a few years ago. While we were there, we found some monarch eggs! Let the fun begin!
We ended the week with our end of year testing, planning for the summer and the end of Sims’s second Brave Writer Class-Essay Prep for the Research Paper. This class was tough. There was a lot more work than in the Dynamic Thinking class. I think he would have benefitted from another two weeks of the class. He learned a lot, and I think he needed more time to process all of the information inorder to properly complete the paper intended. We are learning! Now we are off to play on the lake.
The last two weeks flew by! We didn’t go anywhere. We didn’t do anything crazy. We just hung out at home, swam in the lake, enjoyed the lake, and celebrated life! We started the break off with Sims’s birthday and ended it with a concert! Over all, we had a terrific two weeks. The pictures show it all!
We had a special celebration on Monday, Sims’s 16th birthday! He celebrated by going out on the jet ski in the cold, cold water-amazingly, that cold water never seems to deter him from playing- and heading to climbing practice. Each year, I cannot believe how much he has matured and grown up. I am seriously ready for it to slow down! He had so many new adventures during his 15th year. He got to climb in many new states on new types of rock. He has made some great new friends. He has been a terrific big brother. He built his own climbing wall. He loves being on the water, outdoors, or on a rock wall! Happy Birthday Sims!