Friday, February 4, 2011

January in Review

Hmmm, long time no see! I'm not sure why I haven't blogged; there's been a lot going on!

SuperKid had a wonderful birthday and a really fun birthday party! The kids all enjoyed an afternoon of bowling, arcade games, cake and pizza. I loved seeing how happy SuperKid was with his party. It was such a happy day!

SuperKid continues to love his piano lessons. His teacher moves quickly! We are one month into the instrument and SK is playing music that amazes me. He actually "gets" it and he loves it. It's so awesome to see him play - he's no virtuoso, but he has enough talent that he can keep up with the lessons and really enjoy the challenge. Perfect.

We spent a great day at the Science Center this week. There was a terrific NASA exhibit that we enjoyed, and then upstairs they have a myriad of different hands-on scientific experiments for the kids (and adults) to enjoy! That part was our favorite! We haven't been to this particular museum in several years but we definitely want to go back again. Maybe next time we'll go when SportsBoy doesn't have school so he can join us.

At the beginning of the year, SK was really balking at completing his school work. No more (at least for now)! The past few weeks have been very productive. The material is interesting and he's enjoying all the subjects. I did make a couple of changes that I think helped.

First, I took a break from our Saxon Math. While I basically do like their approach of introducing a concept and then reviewing previously-learned concepts in each lesson, I do feel like the concepts kind of jump around too much. One day we're doing area and then the next day we're doing something else. Then a few lessons later we're back to area - I felt SK was getting a bit muddled from the jumping around. I also thought the arbitrary use of metric measures was a hindrance to his learning at this point. It's hard enough for SK to really understand the relationship between an inch and a mile right now - to then intersperse centimeters and kilometers in a few problems here and there was really not reinforcing the most important part of the lessons. So for several weeks we just did word problems and some measuring (US measures only). This week I went back to Saxon and SK's excited to get back to the format. I have changed all metric refrences to US measures for right now, and we'll see how that goes.

We are continuing with our A Beka History but I decided to change out the geography portion for our own geography lessons. We are studying Europe - learning the names of the countries and their capitals, where they are located on the map and what their flags look like. I bought the boys this world flag game for Christmas and we're having a ball learning with it! I also got a very cool app for my iPad - it gives us a country name and 8 or 10 flags to choose from and we have to pick the correct flag. Also very fun! Even SportsBoy joins us for Geography now, and that's on top of the geography he's learning at school.

I am loving loving loving (did I tell you I am loving?) our Excellence in Writing curriculum. SuperKid loves it, too. He can actually write very fun stories with this technique! Finally! I have never been good at teaching writing - and this curriculum makes it so easy for both me and him.
We switched over to it just before Christmas, so we're really getting into it now. He's proud of his stories, and while the concept seems so simple, it is clear that the techniques it is teaching him are challenging. it's not easy, for example, for him to think of alternative titles for stories. And he still has enough of a language issue that adding appropriate adverbs to sentences is hard - really hard. But his vocabulary is improving with this exercise, and I find him substituting other words for "banned words" in daily conversation. Yes, this is good.

All in all, I feel like we worked hard in January! And we did - we logged well over the 100 hours we target for each month. But that's okay, because we just might have been a little under that target for the month previously ;-)  - Christmas is only 24 hours on the calendar, but around here it and all its festivities last a lot longer than that!

I hope you had a good first month of 2011, too! Let's hope we can build on this momentum!!


  1. Sounds like a good month. Glad the party went so well. I've heard good things about that writing program and keep meaning to look into it.

  2. Thanks, Sarah! I really recommend IEW. It's been so helpful to us!