Thursday, February 27, 2014

An end of February review

So.  We've made it through to the end of February, hooray!  Once a year, I like to examine our days gone by to see what really worked for us (and maybe what didn't work so well, and why).

Switched from Horizons Pre-Algebra to Math U See Algebra I -
Win!  The 13yo and I really found our groove here.  Horizons Pre-Algebra was coming at us fast and furious, and we weren't getting along so well.  We did a brief review of MUS Pre-Algebra to cover anything we missed, and then jumped into MUS Algebra I.  I prepare the worksheets for the lesson ahead of time.  I watch the video and work through all of the problems myself WITHOUT a calculator.  This exercise gives me courage to expect the same of my daughter.  It also allows me to jump in and answer questions as they arise, without having to play catch-up on the math concepts.  We're both happier people, and like each other again.

[caption id="attachment_126" align="alignnone" width="300"]Math U See Algebra I Math U See Algebra I[/caption]

IEW Writing classes, *not taught by me* -
Win!  I love the IEW philosophy, but I knew that I simply would not be able to teach it on my own.  Kudos to me for admitting that upfront, but still being willing to give it a go! The 11yo and I sit together during CC Essentials, while a "tutor" (CC's name for the presenter of information) introduces the concept.  I enrolled the 13yo in an IEW themed class taught by a friend and talented writing teacher, and the 13yo is able to do her writing assignments independently.  It's been fun having both kids taught the IEW ideals through 2 different avenues; we can compare what we're learning, and relate to one another as new additions get added to our assignments.  Having experienced writing instruction from a different source (not me), I will definitely do that again.  I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle writing instruction all by myself.  I like having the outside help and outside expectations.

Enrolled in CC Foundations and Essentials -
Win!  This will sound strange, but...the cc memory work and campus time has had the greatest affect on my 13yo's learning, and she isn't even in the program.  She's always hated history, and simply couldn't grasp it.  I tried everything I could think of: documentaries, fun crafts, historical fiction, Story of the World, you name it.  But this?  It's working brilliantly!  It has given my very black-and-white thinking daughter definitive events.  It has made history tangible.  She gets the songs stuck in her head and sings them.   She's able to relate the things she is learning outside of cc, to the things her sisters are memorizing at cc.  I wish I had enforced fact-based memory work in song form when she was younger.  I'll probably feature cc in a future post, so I'll limit what I say here.  But if you have a "just the facts", "black and white", leans toward "auditory" type of learner that isn't connecting with information through books very well, picking up a CC CD to play ad nauseum might just be crazy enough to work...

Exploration Education Advanced Physical Science -
Almost-a win, but not quite yet! This science program is genius and the customer service from the company that provides it is absolutely stellar!  I have to admit, though, we stalled out around week 11, simply from our own burn out.  But, I knew when we got the program that the projects would take some time.  After all, it is a lab science.  We arrived at the electrical wiring lesson and then stopped.  I have every intention of picking it back up again, though.  I hope to get us through it during the summer, but if not, we can just continue it into the next school year.  It's good stuff, and worth doing.

Cupcakes, always cupcakes -
Win!  I'll probably devote a future post to our homeschool co-op, since its been an enjoyable part of our homeschooling since 2006.  But I have to say, here, under review, that the Cupcakes class at co-op has been really fun.  The kids have learned some cake decorating concepts, and we get 12 cupcakes to take home.  Yum!20140131_142137

A barrage of different activities -
Lose!  Booo!  We've had CC on Mondays, American Heritage Girls every other Tuesday, piano and AWANA on Wednesdays, writing class for the 13yo on Thursdays, co-op every other Friday, church musical practice on Saturdays, and church on Sundays.  Sometimes other things blend into those days, too, such as outside co-op practices, outside church musical practices, outside AHG events, etc.  In the fall, we had volleyball, which was often back to back with cc, co-op, and the church musical.  As a CC tutor, I've had days of meeting with fellow tutors and the director to plan out future lessons.  Seems like there is always something going on.  I'm going to have to put this in the "not working" category, because the time involvements have put such a stressor on schoolwork, housework, and just plain ol' wanting to stay home sometimes.  The 4yo had frequent meltdowns when she just didn't want to give up quiet playtime at home, or when she had just had enough busy time away from home.  The 11yo begged me every day to just stay home.  I'm torn.  It sounds like this is a perfectly normal way for any family to behave, so then I think I should just deal with it.  On the other hand, it really isn't a peaceful way to live, and I feel like we enjoy each other less as a family when we're under the pressures of outside commitments.

Note: this post has several links to products, however, these are not affiliate links.  I'm not getting paid if you click on them.  I wish I was!

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