Saturday, December 1, 2012

Curriculum Evaluation Three Months In

So, in the summer I laid out my plans for what I would use for each subject. My plan seems to ever change, influenced by curricula I am offered for review, by influence and desire, and by real life. I thought I would revisit what I thought we would be doing, and how we are actually doing each subject. The "planned" materials are boxed and highlighted; the comments are between the boxes.

  • ·         Bible – Apologia: Who is My Neighbor;

We're still doing Who is My Neighbor. I'm still loving it; JD still doesn't care for it, although he now does it more resignedly (doesn't fight with me, just does it because he has to, but doesn't express interest in it). It will be interesting to see if he ever changes his opinion. He sometimes does.

We started out daily with General Science. He was really hating it, and I had other materials (to review), so we switched for awhile. We worked on Activities in a Bag and Birds of a Feather, as well as Box of Ideas: SALT.  When I was done with my SALT review, he said he had never wanted to know about salt and now knows more about salt than he ever cared to. That's sad, because there is more to that program that I had hoped to do. Maybe I can reintroduce it, a bit at a time, at a later date.

He also did not want to apply himself to Birds of a Feather. It also seemed to go at a faster pace than we were able to accommodate, with all that we are trying to do, such that I think each week of the four week program would take us a month. He is in Boy Scouts, but is not yet to a place in rank where he needs to work on merit badges, so I may revisit it at a later time when he wants to work on the Bird Merit Badge.

We have continued nature studies, although not as formally as I had hoped. We have a wonderful bird feeder outside our dining room, and we've been constantly working to identify the birds that are our frequent diners. I've started trying to photograph them more. I don't have many (many are so elusive!), but here are a few.

 Nuthatch, very fast and elusive, hard for me to photograph! Often upside-down!
 Would love to know what this bird is, with the splash of yellow on its breast!...
Purple finch?.... I'm not sure...

We also see lots of house sparrows, song sparrows, cardinals, mourning doves, tufted titmouses, dark-eyed junkos... I'm not sure what I am missing, but I'm sure there are more.

I'd like to see notebook pages being completed on various birds, or trees, weeds, insects, mammals, whatever, and I'd like to see me accomplishing weekly Outdoor Hour Challenge blog posts, but it is what it is.

We cycled back to General Science, after awhile, and are still in module 1 but are almost done. Will continue to keep the science varied in hopes of snagging JDs interest better. He wants more hands-on, but when we get to it, he's not always interested. ::sigh::

We were happily working on Horizon's, but we hit a spot where he just didn't have concepts down solidly. We had six months if IXL Math, so we switched to that for awhile. Then I sat down with him on the Horizon's, and he's finally getting concepts he was missing. We're just finished with intense work on powers and square roots, and are now into converting between units (grams, cg's, kg's, etc.), and it's just a matter of memorization at this point. Will keep on "keeping on".

Foreign Languages:
  • First Form Latin (daily);
  • Spanish I (daily);
We just aren't getting to the foreign languages right now. Will have to report back again at a later time.

Language Arts:
  • Vocabulary: Vocab Videos;
  • Spelling: words from Vocab Videos
  • Writing: Susan Wise Bauer's Writing With Skill when he doesn't have a writing assignment with Lightning Lit;
  • Writing and Lit: Lightning Literature and Composition (almost daily);
  • Literature: Ambleside Online Literature and "free reading" (daily or almost daily)
  • Grammar from BJU 7th Grade English (almost daily) (skipping non-grammar assignments)
  • The Art of Argument (almost daily);

I am very pleased to be able to say that we have been able to continue working our way through Vocab Videos. I think this is such a valuable pre-SAT preparation program.

We have not done anything with spelling. He is such a good speller that it is hard to convince myself to spend time on this when there are other areas we are not getting to that are more important right now.

We have done a little work with Writing With Skill, but I also pulled out a book I had purchased for 6th Grade that we had not utilized, and we're doing more with that right now. It is probably easier than he should be doing, but since this area has been neglected I'm trying to bring him more "up-to-speed" in a more "painless" way.

Lightning Lit -- while this is an excellent program, I'm just not getting to it. I'll report back again later to let you know how we're doing.

Ambleside Literature "Free Reading" - What is "Free Read" vs. "Literature" on their lists tends to run together in my brain. We finished A Christmas Carol by Dickens (yes, the real one, not an abridgement). We are also currently working on Oliver Twist. We are reading Man of the Family, by Ralph Moody, and All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriott. There are so many books waiting on my shelf. ::sigh:: We finished Ever Hopeful, Hanna Lee and started Turn Homeward, Hanna Lee (unless I have them confused -- we read the first one and are working on the 2nd one, whatever the correct order).

BJU Grammar - haven't been working on it. Time to look at it again and decide if I should be, or if it is too redundant with what we are already doing. Maybe it is time to transition to this one from the 6th grade book.

Art of Argument - falls into that category of stuff I consider so valuable but am still just not getting done right now (this and foreign language, as well as more formal nature studies, and... ::sigh::: read on).

Oh, biggie that will help on "Writing" assignments -- I started JD on a book called Kids can Type to help him learn "touch typing" (where you don't look at the keys). He's happy with it and working hard on it.  He is also massively working on a mostly daily journal, so that is most of his writing work right now.

Social Studies:
  • Ambleside Online History readings (almost daily) with time lining;
  • Ambleside Online Geography readings (weekly) with map work;

At some point I had to just stop looking at the weekly Ambleside reading assignments and just work where we are. So many programs fly through certain historical periods, and we needed to just park in the Civil War right now. There are so many more Civil War books that I want to get to before we move on. We just finished a "non-AO" title on Antietam, which I squeezed in just before this weekend (today) when JD went to Antietam with his Boy Scout troop to camp two nights and volunteer with the annual illuminarios that they light every year on the first Saturday in December to remember the Americans who fell during the nation's one bloodiest battle in history.

  • Ambleside Online composers, including biographical work; notebooking; mapwork; listening to music;
  • Ambleside Online hymn studies;
  • Ambleside Online folk songs.

We were working on DeBussey most recently, and my son really disliked his particular music. He doesn't normally react that way to classical music, so it was rather interesting, but he felt DeBussey's music was dark. We did not do any biography work at that time.

We have now transitioned to Bach. We have probably touched on Back in the past, but I plan to hit it more deeply this time. We also started a biography. We listened to a YouTube piece of Bach music done on -- are you ready for this?...  crystal water glasses! I wish I could embed it here, but my Adobe Flash crashed and I can't get to it right now. I think I need to reboot.

We did hymn study in October, but not September and not November. In December there is an AO planned hymn, but I know JD wants to do Christmas songs (the ones in the hymnal count as hymns, right?), so we'll be focussing on those. 

Folk songs -- same deal. Skipped September, was gung-ho in October, but slacked off in November. With a bunch of TOS reviews due, followed by Thanksgiving, I just kind of went into a vegetative state. Is it time for my summer break yet?...

I apparently never reported Artist Study plans. There is an AO plan, and I had purchased a Harmony Arts plan. We did a little artist study, but not much so far. I don't even remember what artist we were supposed to be looking at. I need to get busy with this. I also own the Artistic Pursuits for this year that I had high expectations I would really get going with this time, but still I haven't.

And that is why I did this little evaluation. It will help me try to get back on track where I need to, evaluate change and make decisions where I am not solid, and encourage all of you to do the same.

Hopefully I will report back again in March. Hope you found this helpful. Feel free to comment, especially if you know the yellow and red breasted birds I posted photos of. Thanks.

No comments :

Post a Comment