Friday, December 3, 2010

Fall Semester in Retrospect

I have a minute this morning so I decided to drop in here and let you all know how the first semester has gone here at Blueberry House. As in any other year there have been false starts and finding out that a book or program is just not going to work the way Id like it too. But that is just par for the course. If you are a new homeschooler and that is happening to you, take heart.  Even us seasoned homeschoolers and teachers get it wrong sometimes.
Peter has evolved through the last three months to where he now is doing everything but Math in Christian Light Education. He has a huge three ring binder that has file tabs in the right cover. Each one is labeled with a subject from CLE. His Lightunits (same thing as the old Paces) fit perfectly in the pockets. I broke down and bought the actual goal charts from CLE when I could just have easily designed my own but why reinvent the wheel? Right? I hole punch his goal chart and put it into the binder and off he goes. He can work almost independently. I have him read to me every day; one day he reads his Reading story and the next he reads his Social Studies to me. He reads all vocabulary words aloud to me and then he is on his own!

Tink is struggling. I am not so happy with how things are going with her. I need to just figure out what is most important this year and let the rest go. Her three most time consuming things are her orchestra classes, her volley ball and a writing class that she is participating in at the Charter School. I really wanted to focus on reading vocabulary this year and so far I have but she is really struggling with it. I have to figure out a better way to introduce it - a better way to fit it into her schedule.

She is now complaining about Teaching Textbooks. She claims its too hard. Did I make a mistake when I let her skip TT Grade 6 and go straight from Grade 5 into Grade 7? She tested at Grade 7 with there online tests but maybe with her processing problems I shouldn't have let her skip. I plan on taking the Christmas break to figure out what to do with her Math.

The Grammar Keys arent working for her like I'd hoped either. I have a little cricket on my shoulder that continues to chirp even though I try to kill it. What is it saying? Well listen. Here is what it says, "Tink has reached her limit. She cant learn any further. Nothing is working because she cant process more. She is academically DONE!"

I refuse to listen but I have niggling doubts that maybe she is reaching her limit with English Grammar. She wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo this month. She ended with 7,612 words and ten chapters. It was required for her writing class. She got an A+ for this semester but mama definitely had to take over the editing to keep the story on track. Now that the deadline has been met my goal is to take paragraphs for her own unedited writing of that story and use if for Writing Mechanics. There's nothing like fixing your own mistakes to speed up that learning curve.

So life goes on. I have 13 students now. I plan 60 lessons a week. I have 2 students in first grade, 2 in second grade, none in third, 3 in fourth, 1 in fifth, 3 in seventh, 1 in eighth and 1 in ninth. There is never a dull moment!

Tink has an all day volleyball tournament Monday and Tuesday. I am looking forward to taking Tuesday off to go watch her play.

So how does your first semester look in retrospect. Have you found something that is working great? Is there anything that hasn't worked? Share it with us.

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