Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekly Review (3/24-3/28)

There won't be too much detail this week as we didn't accomplish much academically. It was finally time to make the big change that I'd been considering for many months, and I had to get that decision made. More on that later in this post.

Riley finished reading Five Children and It. She declared to one of our friends that it is her "favorite book". I cannot help but laugh because, when I handed it to her, she crinkled up her nose and said she didn't want to read it. She has done that SO many times with these Ambleside books, only to finish them and declare them the best book ever! :) She also wrote some thank-you notes for her birthday gifts, and did math on the computer with the Singapore Math CD-Rom, Vroot and Vroom.

Austin continued reading The Princess and Curdie, and did copywork from Spelling Wisdom. We began a new lesson in MUS Delta where he is finding a fraction of a number. It is blowing his mind, so we will be taking it easy and moving slowly through it.

Reece re-read some favorite books, played math on the computer with the Singapore Math CD-rom, Rainbow Rock, and wrote a couple of letters to her friends.

We didn't do history because that is where the major change is coming. We were planning to play our science human body game, Some Body. But there was alot of stuff going on around here that made that impossible. So we'll play it another time, even as we embark on the study of Astronomy next week.

We are nearly done with Nim's Island for our read-aloud. It comes out next Friday to the theater! :) Can't wait to see it! We're going to read Prince Caspian next, in preparation for THAT movie coming in May! LOL

OK, about the change-

Starting on Monday, Austin and Riley will be doing their history and literature completely separately. It was a hard decision to make, mostly because I have had this vision of our homeschooling where we are all learning together in bliss and sharing knowledge and there are birds whistling a happy tune at the window. I resisted switching everyone to their own rotation and time period. It just made me very sad to consider it. But ultimately, with the help of advice from my friend Tammy and from this article at Ambleside Online about combining years, I decided it was time to make this break, for the sake of Austin's self-esteem.

If I use my minor in psychology for a moment, I would probably admit part of the struggle I've been feeling was a result of a comment from the neuro-psych who evaluated and diagnosed Austin with Aspergers. She noted in her recommendations that Austin's younger sister was going to pass him up academically and that I would need to put one or the other of them in school to avoid either holding her back or damaging Austin's view of himself as a learner. I could sort of see her face going, "Ha ha! Told you so!"

OK, off the couch for now, and back to the details. All I'm really going to do is accelerate Austin slightly, so that he will start AO Year 5 in the fall (his 6th grade year). Riley will continue with what we've been doing since October, which is Year 3, and moving into Year 4. And Reece will begin Year 1 in the fall as well. I am prepared to make adjustments as necessary to the schedule in Year 5, for instance, we will not be starting Plutarch or Shakespeare (aside from reading from Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare). There are a number of the literature books that are available on audio (which is right up Austin's alley!), and I'm going to have him doing history 4 days a week, in order to break each assignment into smaller parts. We will continue to do science together next year, but the year after that he will be doing Apologia General Science on his own.

It shouldn't be much more work than I'm currently doing, because Austin and Riley will be doing the readings on their own for as many of their books as possible. I will just have to read to Reece, but I have two assistant teachers who are going to also be reading to their sister to take some of the load off me. Once we get into a groove, I think it will be good for everyone. So we're jumping in on Monday and getting our feet wet.

It is still sort of sad for me to think about it, because it's a loss of what I thought was the 'ideal' for homeschooling. And who knows? Maybe one day we'll be able to come back to more shared time with learning. I do want to incorporate small chunks where we learn things together, so that Austin can work on handling his emotions when he's feeling incompetent. But for now, he has to un-learn that reaction and replace it with some competence when he compares himself with his sister.

So there's what kept me busy this week! :) It does sort of make the planning for next year easier, since I already know what we'll be working on! I just have to order books, and arrange schedules! LOL But that is best done while watching Pirates of the Caribbean and eating too much chocolate! ;)


poohder said...

I love your updates! I have a question... you probably already
have said this in one of your blogs
but how do you rotate Am. History and
World History, certain days of the week or what? I want to get more structured with that aspect of history. Thanks

Niffercoo said...

We have been doing World History on Monday and American History on Wednesday. I am changing that up a little bit as we transition the children to reading their own books. We'll be doing history 4 days per week, with two each of American and World History. Since I will be reading American History with each of them, Austin will have Amer. History on M/Tu, and Riley will have it on We/Th. I am planning to have them each cover a chapter of each history per week, but we'll have to see how well they are able to handle that. We may have to slow it down somewhat.

We currently do Science on Tuesday and Thursday, but that will also change next year when Austin does an upper level science text. I think it will benefit him to do it 4 days a week as well, so he can concentrate on smaller blocks of reading.

We use the 5th day (Friday) for geography and games and art history, among other things.

Hope this answers your question, poohder!

The Glasers said...

Five Children and It is STILL one of my favorite books ever! But, don't watch the movie that came out a few years back. It is nothing like the book and completely unwatchable. David and I could not sit through the first half hour. It was so awful.