Wednesday, November 27, 2019

2019-2020 Homeschool School Year

It's been a long, long time since I've shared an update on this blog.  Recently, I was updating some file download links because I frequently receive emails asking how to download the files.  Doing so made me decide that perhaps I should give a quick update so that those who stumble across this blog can see what we're up to now.

We are still homeschooling.  This year, our kiddos are 6th, 4th, and 3rd graders.  We school at home from Monday - Thursday.  On Fridays, we attend a homeschool co-op with 4 classes for each student.  This provides gym, art, specialty classes (such as learning about engines, sewing, survival skills, etc) and other classes that are more fun in a group setting.

We moved from My Father's World to Heart of Dakota.  Slowly, we worked our way away from HOD in order to combine children for history and science, as we enjoy sharing those parts of our day together.

We are using a lot of MasterBooks curriculum this year.  We're finding that it's beautifully Christ-centered, great for apologetics, and easy to accomplish each day.  We are doing devotions, science, and history together as a family.  

Below, they are working on a zoology project, making a 'water cycle' bracelet to go along with one of their lessons.

Currently, we are about 3/4 of the way through America's Story Volume 1.  We are about halfway through Elementary Zoology.  We are using the 10 Minute Bible Journey for our morning time together.  (You'll also see America's Story Volume 2 and Elementary Anatomy in this stack, as those are on deck to begin when we complete our current books.)

Our 6th grader, Alex, is using Language Lessons For A Living Education, Level 5.  This is a big switch from our former curriculum, Growing With Grammar.  I loved Growing With Grammar, as it's simple and covers everything well.  I did notice that, although Alex is great with grammar, many of these lessons just weren't 'sticking'.  I gave him the option to try LLFLE this year or continue with GWG, and he decided to LLFLE a try.

He's also using Math Lessons For A Living Education.  He began a few years back with their 4th grade book, and he's now working in their 6th grade book.  Math is not his favorite subject, and this is one that is thorough, but doesn't cause a lot of tears or fighting.  (This is why we gave up Singapore - it led to regular tears and anger in our home, beginning in book 3B.)  Writing Strands is also in this stack, although he hasn't used it so far this year.  He made it about halfway through the book last year, but we've put it on hold so far because LLFLE 5 is meant to be all-inclusive.  He is also using a Proverbs Bible study that I think is really neat - it's simple, yet thorough.  (This is not from Master Books, although we did order it from their website.  They no longer carry this product.) 

Max, our 4th grader, is using much of the same - Language Lessons 4 and Math Lessons 4 from Master Books.  Math is for sure his strong suit!  He is so good at mental math, and he's almost finished with Math 4 already.  He'll be starting Math 5 after Christmas. He has Writing With Ease Volume 3 (not from Master Books), but he has not used it yet this year.  We've loved the first two, but like his big brother, we are holding off on additional writing curriculum while we adjust to Language Lessons. Max also is finishing up Cheerful Cursive, which he started last year.  It's my favorite cursive curriculum.  I believe we bought it from Rainbow Resource.  For Bible, he is using the Jesus Time provided by our church.  He is probably our most diligent student, knowing that the sooner he completes his work accurately, the sooner he can go off and have fun on his own.

Our 3rd grader, Jensyn, is using the same math and language as her big brothers.  She has completed Language Lessons 2  now, and she is working her way through Level 3.  Level 2 is in the picture, as we were still finishing it up at the beginning of the school year. (Language Lessons 2 came out last fall, after our school year had already started, so she got off to a late start.)  She's also using Master Book's More Than Words curriculum, which is a neat Bible and character program.  It's new this year, and she BEGGED to use it.  She really likes it, and I do, too.  I love the topics and themes, but I will likely have her do a more focused Bible study next year.  I do miss that!  We also tried A Reason For Spelling.  There's nothing wrong with it at all.  It's a neat program.  We have decided to simplify, though, and just have her use the spelling in Language Lessons.  (She also have Writing With Ease Level 2, but we are not currently using it.)

As far as outside interests, both boys are in a Christian program that is similar to Scouts.  It is offered at a local church.  They do badge work, Bible lessons, and 'boyish' projects together twice a month. 

Alex loves to be helpful and hands-on.  He enjoys following Dad, learning to do all sorts of odd jobs around the house and yard.  He has helped install a new sump pump, tear out a patio, fix small electronics, etc.  He likes to know how everything works! He likes to research the latest technology for phones, tablets, and computers. This semester, he took an Engines class at co-op, learning how an engine works and assembling his own working engine model.  He also took a survival skills class (photo above), in which the boys learned a lot of neat skills - building shelters, starting fires in the rain, making clean water for drinking, etc.

Max is our creative one.  He enjoys acrylic painting, building Legos without any instructions, creating out of random items, reading for hours, and playing soccer.  He also took the engines class at co-op, and he really enjoyed building the motor. He also took an art class, gym class, and Legos.  He's all about the creativity and fun!  He's an energetic kid, but he can also get totally absorbed into a book or project, and he sits still and totally blocks out the world for hours on end.

Jensyn is our dramatic one.  I don't mean in a stage-production way.  I mean in a 'you never know what you're gonna get' way.  She can be quiet and sweet, or she can be feisty and spirited.  She is also involved with a local girls group, similar to Scouts, that meets at a local church.  They do crafts, games, and Bible lessons together twice a month.

At co-op, she had art class, gym class, sewing, and book club.  She didn't love sewing, but she made a cute tote bag and some fun scrunchies! She is looking forward to a class called "Crafty Panda" next semester, where they'll try a variety of crafts throughout the semester.

She loves to draw, color, craft, cook, and bake.  Her free time is often spent doodling or writing in notebooks.  She often pops into the kitchen and takes over for me as I am making dinner.  She has started her own little cake decorating business, thanks to some kind friends & neighbors who are willing to pay for her services.  So far, she has earned $10 - $15 per cake.  She is still very much a beginner, but she is proud of her efforts, and she's learning more all the time.

I think that about sums it up.  I may try to pop in and do a yearly homeschool update post, but there are no guarantees on that, especially when you consider that the last post was from 2015!

While I'm not quick to reply to comments, I do try to respond to contact form emails within a week.  Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or for help finding what you need on the blog.

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