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School Retrospective - Random babblings of a fiber-obsessed nutcase

About School Retrospective

Previous Entry School Retrospective May. 17th, 2013 @ 07:40 am Next Entry
OK, the school year is winding down - whatever that means. We go year 'round, so there's no Summer off...but Himself finished Singapore's DM 3A last week, so this is a good time to review the year.

1. TorahClass - rocks! LOVE it! We've made it to Genesis 42 now, and the kids have learned a LOT (as have I - I don't remember some of the connections made, so this is cool!). I have Exodus and Leviticus that I just need to get printed out - we are definitely keeping on with this!

2. Art Appreciation - we're almost done with "The Annotated Mona Lisa". I can't say nice enough things about this book - it's great for what it is. We've had a complete overview of the artists/styles throughout the ages, in a way that was easy to understand. We've got a couple more weeks of it, then we're going to start the DVD course "How to Look at and Appreciate Great Art" from The Teaching Company.

3. History - We've started "All American History", after completing "Mystery of History III". It's....different. Not bad....but different. It's arranged kind of weird - you start out with the People, then you do the Events...it would make more sense to have the Person and Event together. We're going to experiment next week with me skipping around in the text, to see if that makes more sense. I kind of LIKE the book - not as much as I loved MOH! - but the jury's still out on it. We'll use it - I have both volumes, after all! - but I'm not sure how much the kids are going to retain from it (an aside - I do this as a read-aloud, like I do most of our stuff. That way, I KNOW the kids are actually *getting* the info, not just skimming it. The only things I don't read aloud are Science, Geography, and Writing - because I need a break! :lol:)

4. Science - Still plugging away at Apologia's "Physical Science". We're about 6 weeks from finishing it - I still like it. Both kids are learning, and I like the "chatty" style of the author. Not sure which way to go next: Biology or Chemistry or Physics. Must do some research.

5. Geography - We're plugging along in Glencoe's "World Geography". :sigh: BORING. Dry. But - it covers what I wanted. I think I'm going to spring for "Mapping the World with Art" when we're done, to reinforce this, and to add in some real Art.

6. Math - Herself is doing well in Abeka's "Consumer Mathematics". She's actually BORED, but hey! - she's carrying a 95 average! She hasn't done that well since...well, 6th grade Math, so this is great.

Himself has finished Singapore's "Discovering Mathematics" 3A - 3B starts Trigonometry. Is he ready for Trig? Well.....yes, BUT. He's not really solid on his basic Algebra - DM moves kind of quickly. There are a few areas that we probably should have stopped and drilled on, but I didn't. So, this week we started reviewing with "Life of Fred: Basic Algebra". It's a Living Math book, and...while the story is cheesy (the main character is a 5 year old Professor of Mathematics at KITTENS University in Iowa :snicker:), the math is solid. We're doing this as a read aloud....and he already learned something new! (Sets. Singapore basically says "This is a set :whee!: Move along!", while LoF actually EXPLAINS it, then has thinking problems to reinforce the learning. Himself finally nailed adding negative numbers and positive numbers! So, we're going to do LoF Beginning and Advanced Algebra and Geometry before tackling Trig - and if Himself would prefer to do LoF Trig instead of Singapore, we will (and also Calculus, because eBay was good to me last month. :lol:)

7. Music Appreciation - Still using "Elements of Music", and it's FABULOUS! I gave up on teaching an actual instrument - it's not worth the fight. This is giving them a good overview, and it sneaks in some Theory, so....IF they want to pick up an instrument later, they'll have a decent foundation. Not my ideal, no - but it's more than they'd get in our local schools.

8. Art - :sigh: I suck. Herself I simply tell to "go Art something!" and she does. Himself....not so much. Right now he's coding "texture packs" for Minecraft.....I'm calling that Computer Graphics, because a) it is and b) it IS artistic, just not traditional.

9. Critical Thinking - we're almost done with Book 2. Book 1 was MUCH better, IMO, but this hasn't been bad, and both kids are now noticing how.....slimy advertisers (and politicians) are. This is a *good* thing, because they aren't as likely to be snookered by fast-talking people, but it's also a *bad* thing, because their arguments have gotten more sophisticated. :lol:

10. Latin - We've made it to Ch. 8 of "Wheelock's Latin". :sigh: It's slow going, because I never took Latin, and am learning it at the same time. Still - they're learning, and that's the point. This isn't a race, right?

11. Hebrew - We gave up on Rosetta Stone; there simply wasn't a lot of *learning* going on. Individual words, sure - but not *understanding*. We're now using "Hebrew Podcasts"...and it's going better. We're still going slow - this is an entirely NEW language, after all - but I'm seeing a lot more retention with this.

12. Writing - I started "Writing With Skill" 2 months ago, and I LOVE what I'm seeing. Himself no longer complains about writing - he doesn't LIKE it, but he doesn't complain! - and he's starting to turn out some OK stuff. Not stellar, but I think he'll get there.

I think that's it....We've done a few extras, but these are the big ones. Overall, I'm pleased with what we're using - they're mostly working, and the kids are learning. We've done some field trips to the Perot - and will be taking more, that's an AWESOME place! - and I'm trying to set up more for this Summer. We'll just keep on, keepin' on - it seems to be working. So far.

Anyway - Shabbat Shalom! See ya on the flip side!

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