Monday, July 17, 2017

Preedy Academy: Year in Review, and Year in Preview

I have largely abandoned my homeschooling posts, obviously. This is because I have learned that I don't know enough to be writing about what I'm doing. I am still such a learner and this year has been no exception. We did accomplish most of what I set out and planned for us to do last year. But not exactly in the way I thought it would. With buying a house and renovating it in six weeks in the middle of the year, our spring semester got a little jumbled, and we had some shifting for the better.

The best part of this year was my own self-education that has happened.  Our small co-op here decided to join up with the new Schole Group Network, and as a result, we were given access to I took several courses on there this past year: Teaching From Rest, The Liberal Arts Tradition, Latin for Teachers, and The Eight Essential Principles of Classical Pedagogy, among others started but not yet finished. I learned so much from those classes! This year, somehow, I've also read:

-Orthodoxy by Chesterton
 -The Liberal Arts Tradition by Clark and Jain
-Desiring the Kingdom by Smith
-Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator by David Diener
-Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason
-Home Education by Charlotte Mason
-Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason
-School Education by Charlotte Mason
(I got really interested in whether Charlotte Mason's ideas were in sync with the main ideas of classical education, and found her whole pink six volume set for $10 at a sale. So I'm reading through them... two more to go!)

I was also so blessed to go to a Great Homeschool Convention in February and get to hear Sarah Mackenzie, Dr. Christopher Perrin, and Andrew Kern in person and have real live conversations with them! It was just amazing!

I feel like I have grown leaps and bounds. I've had so many questions answered, and many more created. My imagination has been stirred, and I've been inspired to keep pursuing virtue through learning to love truth, goodness, and beauty together as a family.

So last year, this was our plan, with what we didn't accomplish in full or decided to drop, crossed out:

-Westminster Shorter Catechism, last 36 questions, with devotions from Training Hearts, Teaching Minds (we did the first 24 questions instead)
-Reading Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew
-Twelfth Night from Shakespeare
-Music of the Hemispheres by Michael Clay Thompson
-Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Study Portfolios (Botticelli, Rembrandt)
-SQUILT for music appreciation and composer study

-Memory Binders: Shakespeare monologues, Psalm 139 and a couple other passages, three hymns, traditional prayers and liturgical readings, and poetry selections

Upper Grammar:
-Latin for Children Primer B
-Writing & Rhetoric Books 4-5
-Reasoning & Reading book 1 (only half, we'll spread this out over two years)
-All About Spelling Level 6 (only half, also will spread this out over two years)
-Grammar Town and Grammar Voyage (MCT Language Arts)
-New American Cursive Book 3
(NOTE!: We will not be doing all of this everyday. We will have 3 elements of LA everyday: Latin, Writing, and the others on a loop or by term)

1st grader:
-All About Spelling Level 1
-Copy work for handwriting (and we moved into Cottage Press Primer 1 in the spring)
-Veritas Press Readers
-Christian Liberty Nature readers
-Narration practice
-Song School Latin 1
-Ambleside Online read aloud selections (we focused on Tapestry books instead)
(Again, not all of this everyday)

-All About Reading Level 1 (phonics)
-Handwriting Without Tears Book 1
-Read Alouds from AO Year 0

-MUS (Zeta, Epsilon, Beta, Primer/Alpha)
-Select MEP Pages for puzzle and play with math from Year 4/Year 1(it was just too much. MUS was enough). 

Upper Grammar:
-Berean Builders for Historical Science Science in the Ancient World/Science in the Age of Reason, one lesson per week(we did an occasional lesson, definitely not one per week. Maybe 20 this year?) 
-Memoria Press Book of Astronomy: supplemented with Storyland of the Stars, Find the Constellations as read alouds and lots of star gazing.
-Elementary Geography as a read aloud
-Memoria Press Geography II
(AGAIN: Not doing all of this everyday. Rotating in and out.)

Lower grammar:
-Exploration Earth Animal supplement (copywork, animal study and classification)
-Burgess Animal Book of Nature Lore

-Working on continents

-Tapestry of Grace Year 2: Upper Grammar level for older two kids, Lower Grammar read aloud only for little kids
-AO Year 4 independent reads for Upper Grammar kids
-L: He will begin cello in the public school orchestra, and piano lessons
-K: She will continue with violin at home and piano lessons

As you can see, I over-planned. We didn't get through or even to everything on this list, but I'm very satisfied with what we did accomplish. And I learned an important lesson. It's good to have lots of ideas. Its not good to expect it all of your kids. Also, a shorter book list that I can keep up with is better than a long one that is so intimidating we just don't do any of it. :) 

Next year, we are basically keeping the same path in place. Just taking the next steps in Latin for Children, Writing & Rhetoric, All About Spelling, and Reasoning & Reading for the older kids, as well as moving on to Grammar Voyage and Building Poems by MCT. (Nota bene: I adore MCT grammar and poetics). Little ones will continue with phonics, handwriting, and Levi in Cottage Press Primer 1 and reading his McGuffey reader, Meryn with the Veritas Press readers. Everyone's moving up a level in math. Same with science: moving on to Geography 3 by Memoria Press for the older two, and doing an Anatomy study all year together. 

Little new things we're trying: 
-Anatomy: Memoria Press didn't have anything on this, and we were all interested in studying the human body. So we're using Sassafrass as a spine and jumping off point. I also have Body by Design and an Anatomy coloring book for the older kids, and we'll learn the Lyrical Life Science songs on each body system for fun. :)  I have some fun body books and games for the little kids, and we'll also be reading through a set of Childcraft books I got at a library sale, all about our world. :)

-The Art of Problem Solving math: we're going to give this a whirl. Just for my pre-algebra student, Luke. I happened upon it while doing some looking at on-line pre-algebra classes. I'd never heard of it, but it looks like a really fun and interesting approach, so we'll try it. But I went ahead and bought the MUS Pre-Algebra materials to have on hand in case its a total bomb. :) 

-French for Children A: Yes! We are ready to begin another new language! I'm really looking forward to learning French together. :) (Older kids only... littles are just beginning Song School Latin). We are doing both Latin Primer C, and French Primer A at half pace, so over the next two years, we'll cover both books, but only one new chapter a week, alternating between Latin and French. This way we are continuously studying both languages and making progress and keeping it fresh, but not being overwhelmed. (At least I hope that's how it goes!) :)

-Simplified history: I've been toying around with this for a couple of years, and have finally decided this is the way to go. The older two kids have 4-5 books for the year that cover the time period as spine type books. They will rotate readings from these books all year long. Then for each 9 weeks of history topics, I have a handful of other books that they pick 2-3 to read based on what's most interesting to them, what they want to know more about.  Each week I ask them to give me one written narration about their history reading. It can be a journal type entry of what was interesting, a biographical paragraph or short essay on a person they read about, a first person fictional account as if they were living in the story. Anything they'd like. This has been a much better approach for us that is manageable. We were getting overwhelmed with all the books and not getting to many if any of them because of the looming pile. I also try to be familiar with or have read all the books they will be reading over the year and these shorter piles makes that a lot easier. :)  I'm finding that reading fewer excellent books more slowly is giving us more room for thinking, contemplating them, discussing them.  For the little kids, we have a small stack of historical non-fiction/picture books, and literature, about one small book a week. Other than that, we are focusing on My Book House volumes 2-4 this coming year. I will also read aloud a short chapter several times a week from The Story of the Great Republic by Helene Guerber for everyone to keep the story of history going for all of us together. 

That's my plan! I feel like its simplified from last year, and it has to be. I learned about my limitations last year as I added my fourth student to the mix. It's hard to spread yourself out between kids learning Latin and reading super fun books and a budding reader and teaching letters, the moving on to long division and decimals, then back to basic place value. So much task-switching. :)  I learned what works for us and what we can reasonably accomplish, and, more importantly, what I need to trust my older kids to be responsible for on their own. This brought peace and a very Schole (leisurely learning from a state of rest as opposed to hurried anxiety) feel to our days. 

Blessings to you as you prepare for and begin your year!