Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our Year Thus Far.

We're now well into Term 1, and it's time to stop and take a look at how we are going.

My teens are very independent these days, preferring to work on their own.  I sometimes don't even get to mark their work, as with answer keys and so forth, they're quite capable to grade their own assignments.  Of course, I do check their progress from time to time - fortunately, they are very trustworthy, but, they're still teens!  :)

My teens have been using the following resources:

Maths - Teaching Textbooks or Life of Fred (they choose their preferred text)

Writing - One Year Adventure Novel, while my 15 yo is working through Student Writing Intensive, Level B.

Grammar - English for Australian Schools

Literature - As for history, my teens have a reading list - some of these titles include 'The Wind in the Willows', 'A Christmas Carol', and 'I Can Jump Puddles'.  They've decided that it would be best to concentrate on the history reading list first, and will then complete their literature list in the 2nd half of the year.

Science - Apologia - two are working through Chemistry, and one is almost finished General Science, about to begin Physical Science.

History - we are using historical novels for world history, with a focus on Medieval History for the 1st half of the year.

Australian History - History Through Movies. 

So far, we've watched the mini-series 'Captain James Cook'.  It unfortunately had some nudity included (the natives on Tahiti), and some less-than moral behaviour with the natives, but otherwise, it was excellent.  (As a side note - if you follow the link I've provided to the DVD, the same seller has a host of other excellent, Australian movies and mini-series available, some long out of print or no longer available).

Logic - Critical Thinking, Book 1.  We all come together for this, and we have quite enjoyed it, and had a great deal of fun with the questions.

Religion - Understanding the Scriptures.  We're almost done - just two lessons to go!  Again, it is a resource we use in a group setting, with my two oldest teens completing the lessons, and each Thursday, we come together to discuss the answers.  I've found this to be an excellent text - and the information is presented at just the right level.

Music - Concert Band, Choir, and various other resources depending on their interest, which ranges from 'no thanks' to formal lessons and music theory.  The instruments chosen this year by my three oldest are harmonica, clarinet and piano.

Art - Artistic Pursuits, High school level, and much informal art, including drawing and painting.  By this level, my children know if art is 'their thing'.

Computer Studies - Pure & Simple, as well as their own studies into website building and movie making.  Once upon a time, I would have insisted on a 'curriculum' for much of this, but they are doing so well without one - my son has created some wonderful animated movies, my 16 year old is busy finding out all about website building, and my 15 year old has created some amazing animated characters.  It seems the old 'learning by doing' is working well here.

PE - plenty of time outside, on the skateboards or firing arrows into the hay bales.  We recently purchased both a left-handed and a right-handed archery bow, and it's fitting in very well with our Medieval studies.

My 15 year old completes some lessons with her older brother and sister (such as Logic), but joins in with the younger ones on such subjects as Latin.

The youngest three (aged 13, 11 and 9) are using the resources listed below:

Maths - Signpost Maths + Calculadder Drills + Times Tales (and they've also read most of the Life of Fred Elementary Books)

Writing - Student Writing Intensive, Level A

Grammar - Voyages in Literature

Spelling - Phonetic Zoo Level A

Latin - Latina Christiana Book 1 -  as always, it's 'slow and steady' with our Latin lessons, but we're getting there!

Literature - they have been reading through our selection of 'troll classics' - shortened versions of famous books such as Black Beauty, etc.  As a read-aloud, we have been thoroughly enjoying 'Pollyanna'.

Science - Science in the Creation Week, by Dr. Jay Wile.  We are very much enjoying this book!  The lessons are simple to do, the experiments work, and there seems to be the right amount of information per lesson.

History - We've completed 'The Middle Ages' lapbook from 'In the Hands of a Child', and are now gearing up to begin our Australian History studies, using 'Australia, the Wide Brown Land for Me!' plus the notebook.  As well, we are still enjoying the 'Horrible Histories' DVDs, and they are listening to the Story of the World Audio Books, which they will finish up in the next week or two.

Logic - Building Thinking Skills, Mind Benders and Balance Benders.

Religion - The Golden Children's Bible - reading and narrating about 6-8 pages per week.  As well, I try to read the saint of the day and say some short, simple prayers with them each day.  I hope to begin using the 'Acitivy Paks' from Homeschool in the Woods for the Old and New Testaments, but we've not begun these as yet.

Music - my 11 year old has trumpet lessons, and my 9 year old sings in the choir.  I've a great music appreciation programme planned out - no surprises here, we've not really begun that - yet.

Art - Artistic Pursuits, Book 2.  Again, we're running a bit behind with 'the plan', but we've very much enjoyed the lessons we have completed.  We are also finishing up 'The Drawing Textbook'.

Computer Studies - Logo Adventures, once per week.

PE - plenty of time outside, on the skateboards or firing arrows into the hay bales. We also make great use of the 'Wii Fit' programme.

There's more 'bits and pieces', of course - but this year, I'm attempting to become more focused on the basics. 

While we have not completed everything I'd planned, I find that this year I am much more accepting of what doesn't get done.  In the past, I felt that if we hadn't completed several science lessons per week, I had somehow failed - now, if we only fit in one science lesson per week, then that's one more lesson completed, and I'm satisfied.  It's been quite a shift in my thinking - there are still things I'd like to see improve, of course, but it has led to me becoming more relaxed and more able to 'go with the flow' as sometimes, life takes over.


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