School officially ends this year mid May because we are off to visit family for the summer.
It’s been a year of growth for me. I have so much to say about what I learned this year, its going to get its own perspective post. So here’s a short summary of what the kids did the last 1.5 months.
- English – Finished Explode the Code. Started and dropped Sara, Plain and Tall, read Percy Jackson 4 & 5 (Guided Reading Level W & S), started and dropped D’Aulaires Greek Mythology (GRL X), started Pawn of Prophecy (AR 5.9), superlatives, syllabication, All About Spelling review, Whodunit Detective Agency series (AR 5.x)
- Chinese – Sagebooks characters #61-#130
- Math – opeartor precedence, divisibility of 8, fraction multiplication of 1 unit, decimal multiplication, line, ray, segment, horizontal, vertical, broken, curved lines, division by 4 by 1 digit
- Others – Cowgirl Creamery, running 1 mile , knitting, Orff class, violin class, sourdough, hawaiian mythology, hawaiian hula
One of my favorite jdrama is Long Vacation. The main lead is an aspiring pianist who is in a rut. There is a scene in the drama the main characters are talking about how he is no longer entering in piano competitions and contemplates giving up altogether. Rather, he’s just floating by giving piano lessons to kids. The female lead suggests, maybe, he is just in a long vacation.
I’ve always loved that concept of long vacation. Maybe you’ve falling off the exercise bandwagon, or the eating well bandwagon, or the homeschooling well bandwagon. But you haven’t failed, just taking a long vacation.
Or as I like to tell my children when I’m feeling lazy, 休息是為了走更遠的路。
This year, we’re staying with my parents for 6 weeks while I help my sister with her sitting month. The kids stayed with their other grandma the first two weeks. I spent my kids-free time doing mostly brainless activities, waiting for my 3 meals to be served, not tidying or tackling the huge list of things I’d wanted to accomplish during my time here.
Finally I got bored enough to get off my butt and do some stuff. Stuff like:
Reading Raising an Emotional Intelligent Child. The author, John Gottman, is a researcher who studies marriages and his conclusion is that we all need to be emotionally intelligent and learning this skill starts in childhood.
We all know the drill of acknowledging children’s feelings, but he goes a step further. How do you guide them when they’re having a moment, be it a tantrum or being sad or angry, and help them during those moments to be aware of and to process their emotions.
I’m going to be sad when Spring semester is over. Finally, after 3 years, I have figured out what homeschool daily routine works for me and what kind of homeschooling method/curriculum fits me. I’m also very close to figuring out what kind of homeschool fits my kids now that I’ve discovered Myer Briggs. Since March is so long ago, I no longer remember what I learned that month.
- English – Read Percy Jackson book 1 & 2 (GRL W & S), Frindle (GRL R), Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (GRL V). Half way through Book 8 of Explode the Code. Homophones, homographs, Singular & Plural possessives, comparatives/superlatives. All About Spelling book 3, L2. Handwriting.
- Chinese – Percy Jackson book 1 & book 4, 晶晶的桃花源, Writing first 60 characters in Sagebook,
- Math – common multiples, least common multiples, factors, prime, divisibility of 2, 5, 25, 4.
- Geography, Art, History – Listening to D’Aulaires Greek Mythology audiobook, reading Chinese history, introduction to biomes, Waseca North America biome portfolio
- Others – violin lessons, orff lessons, cooking class, Fieldtrips to learn about local foxes and birds, hiking, running laps
We did bare minimal homeschooling while in Taiwan and getting over jet lag took me all of January. Early February, my ceiling leaked, which resulted in the removal of a bookcase. As a result, I needed to reshuffle all my books, which lead to a general purging and organization of the living room/homeschool area.
Finally. I had a homeschooling area again. Who knows how long it would have taken me if the ceiling hadn’t leaked. February was the first month we’ve tried to stick to a 3 hour work period in a long time.
Here’s what the children did this month. (more…)
Age: 6 & 9
My February monthly summary is sitting in draft, because we’re finally back on track homeschooling-wise and I had so many things to document. Since who knows when they’ll get published, I wanted to do a short post so I can at least document my happiness that things are going (mostly) well. It’s taken me 3 years, but I finally figured out what daily routine works for me.
I would fill this with pics, except I only remembered to take one.
Our homeschool day is supposed to be 9am-12pm for Astroboy and 9am-2pm for Thumper. On this day, the children started their work day at around 9:40 after getting up between 7:30-8am. We worked till 3pm, accounting for random breaks, chores, snacks and outside lessons. I tend to go with their flow when it comes to meals and rest. Usually they need a break after about 1-1.5 hours of work. They always get cranky or start not paying attention (as in I have to say something 2-3 times).
7:30am I wake up before Astroboy for once and quickly pop some Trader Joe’s berry scones in the oven.
8:00am The kids get up. I’m busy cutting flashcards and reading email and try to ignore them while they get ready for the day and eat breakfast.
Been awhile since I’ve posted a summary of what we’ve been up to homeschooling wise. After a month of minimal homeschooling in Japan and Korea, and a summer of play, we’ve been making some progress so it’s time to document.
Rather than detailed listing of what we’re doing, this time around I’m going to try and summarize.
After a summer of working on her English, we jumped from Guided Reading level K to about M/N. I don’t know why I continue to be surprised that when you have the comprehension you don’t have to worry about learning to read late. Because I keep worrying!
We’ve been working with Explode the Code to get the basics of phonics down more. Right now, she can slough through The Odyssey by Mary Osbourne, which is about Level S. I’m breathing a sigh of relief that she’s now close to 3rd grade English reading level and almost caught up.
In Chinese, she started with zhuyin version of Harry Potter, then went ahead and just read the other two without zhuyin. I’ve having her wait a year till she reads Harry Potter #4, as content-wise she’s not mature enough for it. This is the biggest thing occupying her life right now. Everything is about Harry Potter. She dreams about it, she does her Chinese sentence composition about Harry Potter, her first country in our flag study is England.
Wow, this school year will mark our 4th year homeschooling!
Last Year, Thumper started the school year reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Chinese. That’s about a 2nd or 3rd grade level, and Level 4 in Chinese reading level. She spent the rest of the year jumping around, re-reading the Reading 123 series, the Dahl series, starting but unable to finish books like Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, picture books, etc. People remarked that her spoken Chinese improved so I tried not to worry that she is seemingly stuck around the Reading 123 level (Level 2-3).
Because our focus was on learning to read in English, the Chinese reading was just me providing reading time and allowing her to read whatever she wants. The rest of our Reading 123 and the Reading 456 series came at the end of the school year and she binged read the rest of the Reading 123 series and maybe a book or two of the Reading 456 series before she gave up.
Every week, I think about writing a post on our progress in homeschooling, thoughts on books, and what we’ve been up to. But nothing gets written because it takes too long. However, we’re about to embark on a 4 month trip. I figure I should at least summarize what we’ve been up to and other random thoughts I have before our big trip.
We moved in April and sold our house in June. Given that I got the idea in my head at the end of February, it was a very quick move. Thankfully half of my house was already in various plastic boxes due to me kondo’ing the last 3 years. But the whole thing still took up a lot of my energy and I’m amazed we still managed to homeschool some and attend our co-op during our move.
We’ve downsized from a 00600 sq ft house into a 1000 sq ft apartment. I don’t think I’m made out to be a home owner, despite loving to garden. So it’s with a relief that I no longer live in a big house and had to toss/sell various things. I love our new neighborhood and our new way of life. We get to walk everywhere.
We’ve had such a super duper month that I don’t even know where to start.
Okay, technically it’s not true. Because I started the month feeling iffy and behind because we weren’t working. I just didn’t have energy to clean my classroom and I also took a super long time planning our new work plan. For a few weeks we didn’t even go swimming. We didn’t really get get back to homeschooling till middle of the month.
Looking back, I probably just had to recover from the craziness of seeing lots of people. But finally we did get back go homeschooling and with our new work plan everything is going so very well.
Thumper is solidly doing her work nowadays without my supervision. She actually told me the other day that she wanted to get an alarm clock so she can wake up early to finish everything on her work plan. We had a talk about how checking things off isn’t the goal but rather doing things you want to do or study.
Yay! The semester is over and I survived!
November and December summary will be short on summary and pics. We all retreated upstairs to work on our dining room table because it’s so cold downstairs. That threw off all our routine. We keep having to move things to the sofa to eat our meals. There’s no place to sit when guests come over. BUT! The amazing thing is, we ended the semester with Thumper finishing all of her work on her work plan, all by herself, for two days, before we went on Christmas break.
Really I feel like this month is more about me reflecting on all the things I learned this semester about homeschooling and being a teacher. It feels like homeschooling is just slowly coming together. I’m slowly getting how it needs to work for me.
I think the biggest thing for Thumper is really, as I said, her easing into the whole routine of doing work during work period. And outside of work, doing her chores without much reminding from me. I actually consider this her biggest accomplishment for this semester, rather than whatever knowledge she’s learned. She seemed to have gone through a growth spurt recently (what with eating 2 bowls every meal) and is now suddenly at this much more independent stage. She cooks herself breakfast and sometimes lunch, she preps for her school day, she feeds the cat, all without me nagging most days.