Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year!

Whoa, it seems like I should have whip lash as the time is flying by so quickly. I cannot believe we are now halfway through Year 4. Happy New Year everyone!

After taking two weeks off for the holidays, we've started back to the routine this week. During the break I did much thinking about how the first half of the year has gone. Overall the kiddo is doing very well and I felt only a couple of changes were needed. We're nearly finished with the second grade readers, and I have a 3rd grade reader ready to go. That is fantastic considering it was the end of Year 3 before reading finally clicked for him. Another area that is moving right along, more quickly than I expected, is math. I had expected to spend the entire year on Professor B Book One, and we are nearly finished with it and I have Book Two ready to start in just a few weeks. Wow! I am so glad I found Professor B! He can't wait to start multiplication. How cool is that?

We are wrapping up our nutrition study this week with a viewing of Food, Inc. While the kiddo was only mildly interested in the subject, I think he has a better understanding of why Mom makes the choices she does regarding what we eat. He is very excited to begin chemistry next week. History has also been an enjoyable endeavor, as long as I don't try to tackle too many books on a subject (so many books, so little time!). TruthQuest History has been a great fit for us. We are looking forward to tackling some Texas history and the Civil War this semester.

So, what's not working? Spelling and Spanish. While Queen's Spelling Copywork was something that he could do independently, it didn't seem to do much for him actually remembering how to spell words he had studied. On the SCM board someone asked about Spelling Mechanics, which got me seriously looking at switching our spelling curriculum. There was much to like about Spelling Mechanics and I almost ordered it. But I decided to check out Cathy Duffy's reviews and look over some other programs. I did not like that SM had exercises requiring students to identify correctly spelled words among groups of misspelled words. I thought that may further confuse the kiddo. In looking around, I decided to try SpellWell. It appeared to have some of the aspects that I liked from SM, and hopefully still be something he can do independently. In the meantime, he is using an iPad app, while we wait for the SpellWell books to arrive.

We've been playing around with Spanish since Kindergarten, and the kiddo is just not interested in learning to speak it. We've talked about learning sign language for a while, and he's very interested in that. So, I decided to take a break from the Spanish and dive into ASL. I am not giving up on Spanish and am still hopeful that he will realize the importance of learning it and have more motivation down the road. But for now, we'll work on a language he wants to learn. Since I am hard of hearing and its only going to get worse, I figure we'd better start learning to sign sooner rather than later. If sign language is something you think your kids would be interested in, check out ASLU - a great free course to get you started.

I am very pleased with how this year is going so far, and we're both looking forward to our studies for this second half. How are things going for the rest of you? I hope that your efforts are proving successful more often than not. I would love to hear what is working for your kiddos and what you are changing as we enter the new year.