Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Year-End Round Up

Well, this week went a little more pear-shaped than I expected. I found out I'm coaching a pee-wee baseball team, all our care practitioners called to make appointments for the week, and then we had the usual hustle of said baseball meet-and-greet / photo day, Taekwondo, and those appointments... It's been a little harried.  However, the end of the year is upon us!  Already!  Good grief, where does the time go?

And so, I wanted to leave the update for how the year progressed for us, versus how we had planned for it to go.

Looking over our plan, it looks like we actually managed to get quite a bit of it done, and even the things that didn't get finished have enough progress made to make the end of the year fairly solid.

  • Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ
  • The Chronicles of Avantia: First Hero
The Giant Germ was actually really easy for Mad Natter, which was probably for the best, because this was well before we were able to get help addressing his attention issues. He enjoyed the book, even if we only read two pages at a time, and he isn't particularly interested in reading aloud. I think it's partly because it demands he focus and follow steps in order, neither of which are activities he enjoys.  Chronicles of Avantia: First Hero actually turned out to be a really good read - for both of us.  Mad Natter wants to get the second book, and I plan to try to add that to next year's reading activities, so there's something I know he wants involved as well.

Children's History of the World read-aloud

Children's History of the World has been interesting for us. It's been a bit of an edit-on-the-fly read, as it is very Christian-centric, but Mad Natter has been willing to sit and listen, which is really about all you can hope for with a read-aloud.  The plan has been to read-aloud one chapter per week, which I think has been far too slow, but we'll be starting over with the ancients again next year, which will give us another shot at getting the actual history, but with Mad Natter's interacting with the material, and his having a basic grounding in the concepts before we start, which is never a bad thing.

Math Mammoth 1B, 2A/2B

 Math Mammoth has been a ridiculous blessing. Mad Natter had such a hard time with Right Start that I was worried about his math. Yes, I knew this when we did 1A last year, but still. It warrants saying again.  Math is not Mad Natter's favorite, again with the needing to work at the material, but he is actually retaining the material now, which is leaps and bounds ahead of Right Start. He has started and finished Math Mammoth 1B and 2A, and he has finished all but the last chapter of Math Mammoth 2B, which will carry us through to the beginning of next school year - and this was done purposely, so that we wouldn't see any skill atrophy over the summer break. The plan is to do 3-4 problems per school day, just to make sure that we don't need review time at the beginning of the 15-16 school year. 

Thames and Kosmos Little Labs:
  • Botany: The Experimental Greenhouse
Magic School Bus Science Kits: Slime and Polymers, Microscope, and Chemistry

Oh, goodness, the science. We go through more science than should be feasible. Mad Natter ran through all the Magic School Bus kits, and we're now midway through the Botany lab. He adores all things science, and I'm really happy with how that's going. Granted, using lab-kits seems to be one of those things that's going to have to change if I want him to get a more thorough science education, but at the same time, I don't want to remove it completely.  As usual, each of the kits needs things from home, and most of them don't tell you what up front. Most experiments got done, and those that didn't had their lessons retained in other ways, so everything that really needed to get done, did. 

Logic Safari: Book 1 - ?

Logic Safari... I was a little disappointed with Logic Safari. I was hoping it would be organized like Lollipop Logic, where it had deduction, ordering, analogies... Sadly, Logic Safari was entirely deduction. Now, personally, I enjoy deduction. I do those sorts of puzzles for fun. Mad Natter, however, didn't care for the lack of change, and is still vaguely irritable that one of his favorite things to do has turned up as kind of boring and repetitious.  We still made our way through the first two books, but it was a bit more of a slog than I would have liked.

Song School Latin

Oh, Song School Latin.  We actually really enjoyed this program. I enjoyed it, as I learned at the same time as Mad Natter did. Mad Natter, in general, enjoyed it, but he was both ridiculously averse to actually saying the Latin words, and also very opposed to the Derivative River, as he really doesn't care about etymology. However, he enjoyed all the stories, and I still catch him humming the songs under his breath. I'm calling it a win, and I'm sad we're shuffling to French next year instead of continuing with this.

Handwriting Without Tears Grade 1-2, practice pages

 Handwriting Without Tears remains one of the best things I could have hoped for. We took a break midway through the grade 1 book, and put in more practice pages, and again it turned out to be a wise move. Mad Natter wasn't ready for the full-poem copying that was expected in the book, and once we made our way through all the upper and lower case letters, he was ready for the rest of the book.  Grade 2, however, will wait until next year. I'm happy that his handwriting is on grade level, as it was well below when we began.  He's doing really well, and he's trying really hard to improve his writing, which is one of the best things I could have seen.

Spelling: All About Spelling Level 2

 Mad Natter adores All About Spelling.  We did finish level 2 this year, roughly by January. We've been continuing a review (using the phrases and sentences along the way) since then, and Mad Natter still loves it. Since we've gotten his attention issues sorted, his performance in spelling has skyrocketed, and I honestly think that the multi-sensory format of the program has a lot to do with this. 

English Language:
Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar Island

 Grammar, not Mad Natter's favorite. He loved the stories, and even if he didn't much care for the actual "name the part of speech" portion, he did enjoy the vocabulary, the writing book, and even some of the poetry. All in, this has been a fantastic series, and Mad Natter has retained significantly more than I ever remember learning about the English language. I'm extremely impressed, and very pleased with the end result.

(Looking for a good typing program!)

 Depressingly, I never did find a good typing program. However, Mad Natter did take it upon himself to learn how to use Google, YouTube, and in-game chat for Terraria, so while I'll still keep an eye out for a good typing program, I'm not going to be panicking about it in the meantime.

Physical Education:
Hockey 2x/weekPark Days 2x/week

 Hockey went very well, and while park days were pretty much out due to crummy weather, followed by monsoon-style rain, hockey went well is a good thing. We have since moved into martial arts twice a week, and Mad Natter is learning the difference between an individual sport and a team sport. He's having fun, he's getting a lot of exercise, and we're all pretty happy.

All in, I think we've had a pretty good year. We accomplished the vast majority of what we intended to, and Mad Natter took very well to just about everything, which is helpful. I'm actually looking forward to 15-16, to outlining our plan for the year, and for making use of the resources that have come into the house.