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 – FinishedExplode 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. (more…)
Urgh, what a month. I feel like I’m on this sharp incline, holding onto a rope so that I don’t fall into the abyss that’s called “lack of motivation and too many things going on.” Slowly but surely the classroom/homeroom is losing structural integrity but I’m patching holes as quick as I can until Christmas vacation comes around and I can reset everything once again.
This month was particularly hard because we’ve been having visitors every 2-3 weeks. It means I have about 1 week of whole homeschooling in before we interrupt it with something. And this is on top of 4H disrupting my schedule, or unplanned playdates, and having a sick Baba for what seems like forever but is really just half of the month. Half a month of almost single parenting does not make Mama Teacher happy.
Wow, what a month. I went through it feel like I couldn’t squeeze it all in. Partly because we had visitors for a whole week in September, and 4H just started which meant a lot of meetings. But looking back at what we’ve accomplished, we did do a lot of things. I think it really helped 1) having my co-op every week and forcing me to prep, and 2) having that monthly curriculum planned in advance. I’m still feeling my way through my scheduling but at least I’m not in a “What do I do?!” phase. More on that some other time.
Before we go on, at the beginning of the month we also had her state test. I was all worried because she isn’t reading yet. But we were allowed to ask for audio instead and she scored high on math as well as English. I was surprised and relieved by the English score. I know she has no problem with comprehension but the reading and understanding how to take tests stressed me out. So, very happy.
August was a strange month. We had zhuyin class and playdates for 3 weeks, and 1 week of vacation for Thumper with the kids been gone on weekends. At the same time I had to prepare work samples for my charter school and there’s nothing like doing these samples to make you feel like you’re behind.
I have not managed to make too many indents in my presentation schedule. I’m trying to remind myself that we actually haven’t had time to homeschool daily. And this first week of September is still the same with appointments as well. Plus next week my siblings are coming to visit us.
There’s always something going on. I’m burning out again from lack of prep time and all days with the kids. (Baba has been sick.) September may be a month where we stay home a bit more. (Says the person who’s already scheduled playdates half of the month!)
I wanted to note that with Astroboy’s zhuyin class this summer, he’s been really loving coloring books. We don’t actually have them, so we’re working with metal insets to help improve his pincer grip, which you need for writing. But I did learn that he does much better coloring than drawing pictures when I make booklets. I’m so happy he’s finally ready to draw and use the pencil. He resisted a lot last year because he sees his sister drawing and then he feels like he can’t do it and always asks me or her to draw. There are definitely benefits to having outside classes when you homeschool.
The good thing is, since I had to do samples, I know exactly what the kids did this month:
Science – introduction to 4 types of energy, focused on electrical energy. Keeping a moon log.
Social studies – map of North America
Enrichment – clay class.
PE – swimming classes.
Chinese – Sagebooks reviewed Book 1 & 2
Practical Life – Lots of paper airplanes
Sadly, I feel like after the great works in July, August was a slow month. And no pics to boot. We did have a lot of really great playdates though. I’ve already kind of documented some of the things we did.