Our school year is half over and in many ways it feels like it flew by and also went at a snail’s pace. Either way, here we are at the mid-point evaluating our initial plans. We tried several new things this year, many of which worked great! A few things worked not so well. We started the year with doing more online classes, a new local drop off co-op, and have one in public school. So let’s see how each student is doing.
Lynn: 4th Grade:
Math was the big question mark here to know what to use. I started the year wanting to try “Life of Fred” which was a big fail. She didn’t do it for more than a week. It’s becoming more apparent to me that a Mastery-based approach is going to work best for her. We are discovering a learning disability and the typical programs aren’t working. We are working through 10 days to Mastery Multiplication now and switching to the Mastery-based Math-U-See when we are done.
Lynn also joined a Lego League team this fall so I was able to count that as her science and drop her Sonlight Science which she wasn’t loving this year. Her team surprised us all at the Regional competition when they earned a trip to the State tournament.
I had grand plans of doing weekly picture book units with AJ, since picture books were a large part of the other two kids’ Kindergarten experiences. Those plans didn’t last the first week. I kept the picture books handy and when things get tough we grab one and share some cuddles. We were able to confirm he does have some learning disabilities in addition to his obvious strengths. I’m glad we were able to find out now and I can tweak how we are doing things early so he can have the greatest success in the classroom.
AJ also started some independent computer work so he can stay in the room learning when I can’t work directly with him. We have been using MobyMax, Teach Your Monster to Read, Starfall and Code.org, all of which I highly recommend.
Cub: 3rd Grade:
At the last minute we decided to let Cub start the year in our local public school. We were able to have him evaluated and update his IEP. It also provided a respite for his siblings as we searched for new tools for managing some of the challenges that come from having an Autistic brain that works differently than most. While the IEP process was successful, overall the public school classroom was still not a good fit and he is back in our homeschool this spring semester.
We are able to pick up with most of the same curriculum that we picked in the fall with a few changes. We are using A Reason for Handwriting B instead of a Spectrum workbook. Instead of Writing through History we are using Primary Language Lessons. I found a site that reformatted the Lessons to a workbook format and its working well. A couple bonus changes from going to school is he is working more independent. He is also using an assignment book to know what to do each day.
We had lots of new things this fall. We choose not to do a parent led co-op for the first time. It surprised me how much I missed the co-op. I didn’t miss the prep and teaching but I did miss the time with other moms. While my kids were busy this fall, I was just a taxi driver and it was lonely. We are going back the spring and we can’t wait to see our friends.
We also added a YMCA membership which will allow social time for the boys and another avenue for me to take a break from these wonderfully intense and quirky kids. Here’s to finishing the year strong and planning summer fun to celebrate!
What changes have you made to your schedule or curriculum as the year went on?