Friday, June 17, 2011

Our Year in Review 2010-2011

We've finished our year of kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 5th grade. I often worry about what we're not getting done. I thought it would be good to look back over the year to see what we did accomplish. We had a really good year. We didn't travel as much as some years and we didn't move during the school year, which made a big difference in how much we got done and allowed us to finish the year earlier than usual.

My biggest worry for this year was officially adding in a third child when it seemed like there wasn't enough of me to teach two some days. I have to say I was really surprised by how well it worked out. Kindergarten lessons don't take too long and Colin did a little more independent work. I also tried to do as much with them all together as I could. I would still like to start our day earlier, but we did make a little progress on that.

This was our first year having a room just for school. We loved it and I don't think we could ever go back to doing school in the kitchen or dining room again. It was great having everything together and being able to display all the projects the kids did.

Language Arts

The biggest success of the year was helping Molly learn to read. I remember teaching them to read was my biggest concern when I first started homeschooling so having the third one reading feels great. She hadn't been too interested before and didn't even know all the sounds of the letters when we started the year. She picked that up really quickly though. She made it through lesson 109 in Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and is reading lots of books.
Her handwriting improved a lot using Handwriting Without Tears.

She started Spell to Write and Read this year. She completed through list L-4. She's done very well learning all the phonograms, rules, and markings.
She did all of First Language Lessons 1 and about half of First Language Lessons 2.
She started learning cursive with Cursive First. We did all the lowercase letters and worked on learning to connect them.

In Spell to Write and Read, Colin started the year on list S and made it all the way through list Z. He tested at grade level 11.2 after finishing.
I had him start over with Writing Tales and he completed all but the last section. He still doesn't like adding in creative details, but his summaries have improved.
He did all of First Language Lessons 4.


Molly did RightStart A.

Caleigh almost finished RightStart C.

Colin finished RightStart E and Life of Fred: Fractions.


We did Exploring Creation with Astronomy. We learned about the sun, the moon, the planets, comets, meteors, asteroids, famous astronomers, astronauts, space travel, stars, and constellations. The kids really enjoyed it and loved all the experiments. They often said it was their favorite subject. Some of their favorite things were trying astronaut food, making hurricanes in a bottle, making sun bread, a salt dough volcano, and phases of the moon with Oreos.

We also did a few science things as part of some unit studies. We studied clouds, the water cycle, friction, butterflies, leaves, apples, migration, hibernation, pandas, ducks, Australian animals, owls,
groundhogs, and snow.


I'm so glad I decided to combine all the kids for history. When I did Story of the World Volume 1 with just Colin, it often got pushed to the side when we got busy with other things. Having everyone doing it made a big difference. Before starting SOTW Volume 2, we spent a few weeks talking about the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to get the girls caught up. We were able to finish all of Volume 2. We read tons of extra books and did lots of projects. Some of the favorite projects were a medieval feast, making Viking ships, ships in a bottle, sand art, and mosaic cakes.


Before starting history this year, we did a unit study on map skills. It was review for Colin, but I think the girls really needed it to understand.

We used the maps in the SOTW 2 Activity Guide to go along with our history study.

We also did a lot of geography in our unit studies. Some places we learned about were: Greece, Rome, Egypt, England, China, Japan, Australia, France, Norway, Russia, Ireland, and Canada.


This is the only subject where we didn't finish what I had planned. We started out okay, but then it kept getting pushed aside.
We only got through 8 lessons in Artistic Pursuits.
We used Draw Write Now to draw things that went with what we were studying.
We also used Discovering Great Artists a few times.
We studied Norman Rockwell to go along with a field trip to see some of his work. We also studied Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
We did lots of crafts and drawings to go along with our history, science, and unit studies.

Unit Studies

Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece and the Olympics
Ancient Rome
Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car
Autumn Treasures (DNG): Apples, Leaves
The Story about Ping
Grandfather's Journey
Mirette on the High Wire
Owl Moon
Robin Hood
Groundhog's Day
Katy and the Big Snow
Christopher Columbus
Leonardo da Vinci


Some of the extracurricular activities the kids participated in this year were baseball, basketball, roller hockey, ice hockey, First Lego League, and a geography fair.

Field Trips
Linville Caverns and Falls
Greek Festival
Yates Mill Harvest Festival
Optometrist Field Trip
NC Zoo
Walt Disney World 
Christmas activities at WDW
Picking Oranges
Grand Asia Market
NC Museum of Art
Raptors Program
Ripley's Aquarium
NC Museum of Life and Science
Strawberry Picking
NC Museum of History
NC Museum of Natural Sciences- February, May
Downtown Raleigh
Blowing Rock


Sharla said...

That is one jam packed year!!! I am glad to hear that Story of the World went well as I am hoping to wrap up book one this year, but was worried that Volume 2 would be too advanced for my kids' age and ability levels, but it sounds like it just may work out from what I read of your experience. Great recap!!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome year! This post showed me two things... one, we are boring and two, I really need to keep better records :)

I agree with you on the school room. We've always had an office/school room, but this year was our first year in our new room and it was very nice. It gave us the structure we need to be on task.

Nicole said...

WOW!! What a great year!!! Loved reading all about it!

Giggly Girls said...

Fabulous year!!! I love that you did an overview of that. I should do that.

Just popping in from the wrap-up!

Our Side of the Mountain said...

Astronaut food? Sun bread? TOTALLY interested! (Did you do blog posts of these? LOL) I'm doing Apologia Astronomy next year with my youngest two and keeping a running list of fun, hands-on things to do with it! VERY full year! You accomplished a lot! I was worried about adding #3 too, especially with his added SPD challenges, but it went well with HIM. Stopping by from Weekly Wrap-up (and heading back for Astronomy ideas LOL).


Amy @ simply necessary said...

Now probably through the year you had some weeks where you felt terribly behind. But I've found when I write everything we DID do over the course of the year then I am amazed at what was covered...even if it didn't live up to my totally unrealistic plan! LOL

jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa said...

So jealous about the official homeschool room. We have a homeschool "closet" and then we homeschool all over the house and outside. Which is fine except for the enormous mess we make. We have to work hard to keep all of our projects under control and neat and tidy.

Really like the variety in all of your theme studies. What great experiences!

visiting from HHH

Allison said...

Looks like an awesome year! Glad to hear that it went so well adding in #3. Sometimes we get so concerned, but it always turns out well in the end! Enjoyed reading your wrap up.