2017/2018 Year End Wrap Up

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.

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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.

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Sawyer’s happy place

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.

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Mulberry eating

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.

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My three!

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.

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Weekly Wrap Up-Last Week of School!

Testing is completed!  All papers are complete! Summer is officially here!

Monday, everyone finished up their testing and started on the summer play list.

Tuesday, I enjoyed my garden.  My hydrangeas are two different colors this year which I find interesting because they are right next to each other.

Wednesday turned out to be a really fun day.  Sawyer had climbing club and Sims joined her.  It was member night at the climbing gym so Sims stayed at the gym.  Nick needed to pick up the boat which meant that he needed a driver and Sims was at the gym so…..Sawyer go to drive the boat by herself!  She did a great job (she did have a friend in the boat with her who has her boaters license).

Thursday was a pretty typical day.  We worked on portfolios for the year.  I decided to have the kids write up their own portfolios this year.  It was fun.  I always feel like we haven’t accomplished enough for the year until I stop and look at what we did accomplish.  We got through a lot of information and had a lot of fun along the way.  I should be able to write my year end wrap up next week.  🙂

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Parks working on his portfolio.

Friday, we had some fun at the lake to wrap up the school year.  We got some ice cream.  We tubed.  We stayed up way too late.  It was a fun night.

Saturday, we headed over to the new barn that we will start riding at in the fall.  It has a lot of work to be done.  Bella and Cinnamon worked hard too…playing all day with the other dogs.  Bella was wiped out.  While Sims and I were at the barn, Sawyer went to a class on safely using the water craft on the lake and Parks went sailing.  Then we all headed to the lake for some more tubing.  Parks and his buddy don’t get to see each other over the summer so it was a fun way to wrap up their school year together.

Sunday, we headed out for some more fun and got Parks up on the wakeboard and the surfboard!

Weekly Wrap-Up

End of year testing started this week.  The kids opted to do an online CAT test this year, so that is what they are working on.

This year, like most years, I sprouted my seeds and planted my seedlings in pots earlier in the spring.  However with the new puppy, I decided not to do a garden (she likes to dig and my planters make a fun spot).  Thus, I let my sprouts go.  Well for Mother’s Day, Nick and the kids made me new planter boxes for my garden.  My garden is back on.  Tuesday, Sawyer and I headed to a local farm to pick up some starter plants for my garden, and we got them planted.  Then my niece added a bean plant that she sprouted and grew at school.

Summer fever is here.  Wednesday Sawyer had climbing in the afternoon and then we all headed to the lake for an evening swim.

Thursday we finally got back to barn for an exciting day.  The kids found a mulberry tree to munch on.  Bella and Cinnamon played in the field and with their fur friends.  Sawyer didn’t get to ride due to the vet showing up early to float Sky’s teeth.  We also watched as the vet worked on another horse at the barn that had colic.  We all learned a lot during this visit-from horse anatomy and physiology to vet care.

Friday, Sawyer and I headed back to the barn so that she could get a ride in.  Then Friday afternoon, Sims and I headed to the DMV to get his permit.  Unfortunately, he did not get called before the close of the day but our friend got called at 4:29-one minute before closing.  Thus, we hung out and waited for her to get her permit.  So much fun to watch our friends!  The night was beautiful so we headed back out to the lake for the evening.

Weekly Wrap Up

Another crazy week here. Nick worked from home on Monday. He and Sims finished up a few projects. Tuesday, Sims finished up his driver’s education, and I got my invisaline off!. Then Wednesday through Saturday, I had continuing education so the kids were at home with Nick. Nick worked from home so the kids were sort of on there own. They had a blast. Wednesday morning was the last day of art and that evening, they went tubing. Thursday night, they went climbing. Friday, Sims went sailing all day. Saturday, they went climbing again. Today, we enjoyed a beautiful day at the lake. Obviously, I don’t think much school happened this week.

Weekly Wrap Up

Another odd week here.

Sunday morning Parks and I drove up to Asheville so that he could ride at Kolo Bike Park. He enjoys the dirt jumps. We headed back before dinner.

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Parks at Kolo

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Parks at Kolo

Monday through Wednesday were fairly typical minus a mini mental breakdown- mine of course. I think I’m ready for summer.

Sims started the driving portion of his drivers education on Thursday! Since he was out hitting the streets, he missed horseback riding and Bella’s first play date. She played with Steve, a five month old chihuahua. They had a blast!!

Friday the kids had a party with some friends. Parks found his first ever four leaf clover at the party. Sawyer is a master four leaf clover finder. I have never found one. Crazy. Then Friday afternoon, sims and I headed to Nashville for a climbing competition.

He competed Saturday. Then we drove home. Sawyer sang at a festival in town with her band. I missed it, but her dad, Parks and her grandparents made it. I hear she did well.

Sunday we just hung out at the lake. Bella learned to swim. Cinnamon just watched. I ended the night with a magnificent sunset.

Weekly Wrap-Up

May!  It’s May!  How did that happen?  Seriously, it was just August of 2017.  I really wish that I had done a weekly wrap up throughout the year.  Even though there isn’t much exciting to report on, I would like the record of what we did.  Well, its better to start now than to never start at all.

Last weekend was full.  You know those kind of crazy weekends when you need another set of parents to get everything done?  That is what we had.  Sims and Sawyer had a climbing competition at the same time that Parks had his first day of sailing team practice.  Next, Sawyer had to be about an hour away to sing at Catawba College.  Her voice instructor brought all of the bands that she worked with this year to come play as part of her senior project.

We had a bit of an off week of school this week.  Parks was supposed to participate in the Starbase Program at our local Department of Defense.  Unfortunately, the class did not work out for him-but it was a week long camp and I had plans with the older two.  I know, I know.  Plans are meant to be flexible.  Tuesday, Parks headed to his ecology class at Latta Plantation while Sims, Sawyer and I took Bella on her first official walk/hike.  Then we went to the Discovery Place in Charlotte for Sims to take a class on cell biology.

Wednesday, Sawyer and Parks went to their drawing class.  They are learning to draw what they see and not what they imagine.  They both love to draw, but this class is really challenging them to step outside of their box with their art.  Thursday, Sims and Sawyer met with their writing teacher.  They are both wrapping up their writing programs for the year.

Friday, we hit the trails.  We met up with two other families and hike Stephens Road Nature Preserve.  Hiking was the perfect wrap up for the week.  The forest had lots of fun finds.  Then we ended the week with a performance of Parks’s band at a local spring fling and the Avengers movie.

 

Anatomy and Physiology

We decided to join/start up a new 4H group in our area this year.  We didn’t do a whole lot as a group this year, but we did try out a few activities and plan to do a lot more next year.  One activity we did was charcoal making-you can read about that here.  In addition to primitive skills, we tried out an anatomy and physiology class.  Two other moms and I split up the systems and went to work.  We grouped the systems into -systems for movement, systems for nutrient delivery, and systems for nutrient absorption and excretion.

Systems for Movement 

We started with the skeletal system, learning the anatomy of the bones and the skeleton and the physiology of the bones.  Then we moved to the muscular system. We wrapped up this group with the nervous system.

Systems for Nutrient Delivery

This unit began with the circulatory system and finished up with the respiratory system.

Systems for Nutrient Absorption and Excretion

The kids went into the depths of the digestive system, and they loved it.

The class concluded with each child presenting on a disease, disorder or condition that they researched.  We had a fantastic array of information.  The list included pulmonary fibrosis, autism, diarrhea, strokes, heart attacks, pace makers, hemophilia, central core disorder, celiac disease, and Paget’s disease.

 

I really enjoyed teaching this group of systems and tying them together in this manner.  I felt that the kids were able to put the systems together and realize that they are never separate from each other.  The kids also really learned the importance of taking care of your body and how ignoring one body system can really effect more than that one system.