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Getting motivated for next semester


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What are you going to change? Focus on? REfocus on?

 

For me, it's Spanish for older. We have tried a few curriculums, and none of them have really worked. I think what it comes down to is vocabulary is HARD for him, period. He's just going to have to suck it up. I think we'll go back to Easy Spanish Step By Step, even though we are only on p. 18 and I feel like we're moving in slow motion.

 

 

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Can't I just east cupcakes from a plastic plate (maybe not PBA free...) while watching my barefoot children climb up a slide before I have to think about *next* semester!?!? :bored:

 

(Just kidding - but I knew you'd be able to take it and laugh...)

 

I think I'll actually use the easy-to-use Homeschool Tracker... Ugh.

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What are you going to change? Focus on? REfocus on?

 

 

 

 

We dropped Russian a few weeks ago. There's just too much,and ds moves slowly, to focus on two languages. Other than that no subjects will change.

 

Focus? Getting through KISS grammar, finishing WWS 1, work on oral skills, finishing algebra, and how to properly use a lab notebook.

 

Refocus? Time management, reading aloud time.

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No clue. I am feeling scattered and overworked right now. I am trying to push us through to the end of the week and force one ds to finish his AAS level and the other to finish ALL of ETC (hooray! so close, after sooooo many breaks) and then take off until Epiphany so we can loll in post-holiday joy.

 

A few weeks ago, I wrote a self-assessment for myself the way I write them for the kids and posted it on my blog. I said I needed to get more focused on bringing in art occasionally, and also needed to plan writing projects ahead a bit better. Right now I am feeling like maybe we'll refocus how we do math a little bit. I am thinking of instead of just doing whatever we do, of setting the timer and committing to do 45 mins of sit down math every day. I feel like the timer will help us.

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I'm tweaking our approach to history a bit. I've been fairly committed to the SOTW 4-year cycle but after trying to bring in my first grader this year in Vol. 3 I'm finding that both of my kids are being shortchanged. So I've decided to change up the four-year cycle a bit. I'm excited to dig in deeper with Early Modern and a lot more US History with my older son and start some Ancient History stuff with my 6yo dd.

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I don't know yet because I need to look for a part-time job after Christmas. Dh is laid off and in school. We've had tons of medical bills this year, and we've found no financial aid for school because he already has a degree. We've been putting it on credit card with long term 0% interest offers.

 

What I would like to focus on with ds (4th) is having him become quicker with his math facts and phonics-based spelling rules. For dd, I want to focus on more time management because I feel she's always a little behind on her work or not finishing everything in a day. She says she has a hard time focusing at times. I think it's because her brain is in overload from her own projects she has going on (making Once Upon a Time music videos, writing scripts and plans for the "next Star Trek series" she and her dad have dreamed up, etc.).

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I'm hoping to redirect my 8th grader's English. I ordered Hake 8 to try. Not sure yet what we'll do about writing and literature - I want to keep it simple. I want open and go, he hates the structure that is implied in that. (We've tried WWS, IEW, etc. He writes decently well without that kind of step by step.... He just needs a more intuitive writing teacher. :glare: ) I've been brainstorming possible writing assignments, but I'm not feeling very inspired. For lit., I was thinking about jumping back into Figuratively Speaking and focusing on having more discussions - even if they're about movies or previously read books. It's not that he minds reading.... he reads all the time.... I'm just not sure what I want him to read next. And it seems kind of pointless unless I'm going to read it with him. For history, we sped through the rest of 20th century history so he can study Ancient Far East History - his choice.

 

5th grader and 4th grader - I'm not sure if I want to keep plugging through the list of Literature selections I made at the beginning of the year or do something different.

 

5th grader - He will finish CLE 500 math soon. I'm not sure if I'll jump ship before or after CLE 600. Also, Latin has fallen by the way side again. <sigh> Not sure whether to leave it by the side of the road or not.

 

For the younger 4 (p-k, 1st, 4th, and 5th) I need to decide how many read alouds we'll really get through the rest of the year and which one to do next.

 

For my 4th grader - I ordered Phonetic Zoo for spelling.

 

For my 1st grader - we have started reading through Elson Reader 1 after finishing CLE LTR. He needs more phonics instruction, but I can't find anything I love. He may just have to keep doing ETC.

 

4yo - would like to start CLE LTR, but there are only so many hours in the day (*my* day, not hers).

 

Okay, I think I have more questions than answers, more whining than inspiring. But it's nice to put some thoughts "on paper." I'm sure I'll be back for ideas. Great thread.

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We school year-round, so we actually start alot of new curriculum in January. My older kids are going to start Mapping the World with Art, Around the World in 180 Days, SOTW 3, Apologia Anatomy and Physiology, Exploring the World of Math and my oldest daughter is going to start the Key To...Series for math review. We generally do a review sheet of math problems before we start our "real math". Well, I'm tired of hunting online for math review problems, so I'm just going to buy the Key To...Series.

 

Also, this is the last semester in which my oldest two kids are combined (the 11 yro and 10 yro). This fall, they are being separated (by their request) and the oldest is asking for more of a school-at-home curriculum. So, yeah, big changes on the horizon. :crying:

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I just want to get through this semester first!

 

I've been doing some loose studies on DaVinci, Galileo and other Rennaissance scientists this term. Next term we'll start Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day.

 

We've just finished all of the composers on Classics For Kids, so we'll start Children's Book of Music next term.

 

I think that's about all of the changes that we're making for next term.

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I needed to accept the limitations of my own English grammar and writing education and the time I don't have to make up for it this year. It meant giving up some long cherished methods and curricula plans for a plan more likely to get done and get done well. So, I'm not leaving grammar to Latin and context anymore and I surrendered to the WWE workbook. I already implemented the changes and I'm relieved. Now I really need to give more energy and time to Khmer.

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Once Christmas is over and I get my living room back I'm reworking a bunch of stuff.

 

-Setting up dedicated areas for the kids to work at. Ones that are there all the time, where I don't have to clear a table off to do school. Being in the living room (instead of at our tiny kitchen table) will make it easier to have posters, maps, charts, etc. available and help me keep on eye on both kids if one is doing book work and one is doing computer work.

 

-Get more structured about doing science, history and geography regularly. I'm thinking of switching to a 3 days of basics, 2 days of specials schedule.

 

-Do more literature, Spanish, art and music.

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Time-management: Getting school done in a timely manner consistently. We are getting done consistently, but not so timely with my slow-poke 9 yo who seems to think if he takes forever on one assignment perhaps the rest will disappear.

 

Working with my K-er: I think she could be reading fairly well by the end of the year if I can buckle down and find time to spend with just her every day. She is not even doing her school work every day because I'm busy nagging at (er, I mean helping) her older brothers. So after Christmas I want to be more consistent in working with her.

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I think the only thing we will be doing different in Jan is adding in Earobics for ds. We are doing well curriculum wise, we are just about 2 weeks behind where I would like to be for the year. I know it will all get done, i just want summer vacation sooner. ;)

 

OP, I tried a couple Spanish programs with dd and felt like we never made progress. A friend recommended La Clase Divertida and it has been great! Both dd and ds are learning and retaining the material!

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Okay, this thread really got me thinking. I am having to make some changes because a friend's child was coming one day each week to do history projects, science and health, and world geography with us. He has had to go back to school due to a severe illness with his dad. Ds has really missed his friend being here each week.

 

I'm thinking I'll keep history weekly because dh is a history teacher and usually reads with ds anyway. I'm going to spend one week each month on anatomy and health, one week each month on science (habitat studies to match our geography), and two weeks on world geography. I'm inviting another friend's kids to come one of the world geography weeks to do crafts, games, and food with us.

 

How does that sound?

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Finding our groove? :001_cool: ..I am only sort of joking... while some things are going pretty well, we got a late start on things due to a rough first trimester (I found out that we are expecting right before school started) and have still not added everything in. We are going strong on most skill subjects but I would like to add Dictation day by day for my 2nd grader and 4th grader, I would like to start teaching my ker to read and reinstate family lessons (Spanish, poetry, art, history & more read alouds). I would also like to start using WWE the complete writer across subjects and ditch the work books.

 

I want to keep focusing on composition with my 4th grader.

I want to refocus on WWE for my 2nd grader and working with ker consistently

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Doubling down on Kindergarten with DD. I've been slacking since it's "only" Kindergarten and she's already attending school, but after meeting with her teacher today I realized I need to get cracking. We're decreasing her English lesson hours next semester (her school has 14 hours of English per week in K) to give her more concentrated Turkish lessons so my after-schooling is going to be even more important. They strongly recommend that she be reading in English before she starts 1st grade so that she's not confused when they start teaching reading in Turkish.

 

We're going to the US for the month of January so I'll start then. She'll be out of school and we'll have the time.

 

I can't wait to have access to a library!

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We'll be starting Story of Science: Aristotle in January, adding it to our entomology, equine science, and botany studies. We're looking forward to that. The George's Secret Key to the Universe trilogy will be under the tree, too.

 

We've had good success this year doing American-history enhanced SOTW 3, so we'll keep that up. I plan to park and do a unit study on Lewis & Clark that will include US Geography, and then in the spring park and do a unit on the Civil War. Both will consist of reading historical novels, and reading/doing projects from the Chicago Press _________ for Kids series - Lewis & Clark for kids and the Civil War for kids. Dd would like to do more hands-on projects and she likes the look of these books, so a couple will find their way under the Christmas tree - including the American Folk Art for Kids, which I think she will love. We're ending up spending more time on history & historical novels, and less time on geography/artist composer studies than I had originally planned, but it's all good. Dd can now id at least 80% of the countries in Asia and Europe, so she's doing better than most US high school students! I find we do better with Geography eased into our history studies rather than trying to treat it as a separate subject. Not sure why.

 

She'll be doing horseback riding lessons, so that will be new but excellent. I've dropped the ball on typing since Thanksgiving, so we will need to refocus on that. Otherwise, things are going well, and pretty much according to plan: the elusive, flexible, ever changing plan that it is!

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oh my. I have barely finished this semester. Technically we haven't yet, but it is getting harder and harder to keep them working! DD10 still has a math test. DD8 still has an English test this week. Then there is my babysitting job, cleaning the house, finishing some Christmas shopping and wrapping and planning Christmas dinner, then the baking to do before next Tues. I will not be thinking about next semester until at least the Sat. after Christmas :)

 

But when I do think about it , I am going to rewrite the schedule to get piano lessons and practice back in somewhere. I have no idea where it would go. But I will. And then the science teacher is moving mid semester and I have to step in there, sigh. And the ELE is coming up, so I have to research that. sigh. One more week of not thinking of this stuff!!

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we have been on break since just before thanksgiving. we will start sometime after the sixth so i need to think about this soon. we do well on getting the three rs done plus history, but not on the "fun stuff". that needs to change. read alouds, regular memorization(not necessarily fun i know) and field trips need to find their way in. scienc too hmmm. need to plan soon....

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We aren't changing any of our studies, but I do want to be more consistent about copy work which kind of fell off the radar screen this semester. And I want to work actively with my 8th grader who is struggling with higher level reading. And I want to be much more regimented about getting up at the same time every morning and working through our studies in a steady, focused pace. We've always been relaxed around here but it just doesn't work with my 13 yo who has got issues. He needs structure and closure and what makes me feel relaxed is exactly what gets him uptight! So mama's got to readjust so beloved son can be more successful in his academics.

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We're going to try out a few things I've seen recommended on the forum - DS is going to start AoPS (his choice of either Number Theory or Geometry) and DD is going to start MCT. I'm not sure if AoPS is going to be a good fit, but I know DD will love MCT. I can't wait to start it.

 

DS is also going to take a break from his online math/science classes and try to be a little more efficient with his time. He has a busy spring coming up and needs to get in the habit of finishing his school work by about 2:00.

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So we have already been changing things up with Spanish. Turns out (i dont know why i didnt just go with my instincts on this one in the first place) DS does better with a written curriculum (meaning workbooks) to which I add video or speaking. I thought just watching videos, talking in spanish a bit, and teaching him how to say things would be enough but this is a kid who liked Henle in 4th grade! He likes rules, repetition, and written exercises. Sigh. I KNEW that, but kept reading how immersion is better for learning a language...he WILL get immersion, in his own fashion, but working out the hows and whys of the grammar is important to him. He recently confided that he really has no idea what's happening in most of the videos we watch. Sigh. So I pulled out Easy Grammar Step by Step and in one week, he seems to have learned more than he's learned all semester.

 

Lesson learned. You know your kid best, so trust your instincts.

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For DD, we are going to keep focus on the multiplication table for 6's 7's and 8 's. I really really want to do AAS but just don't have extra time.

For DS, not much change, other than we put off science most part of 1st semester. We spend 3 weeks traveling and another week and half recovering from time different, and then Xmas break , I really will like to get science start again.

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Major changes afoot! DS now loves sports activities and has added *another* martial arts with a 2x a week commitment. This is fine in December when we're hardly doing any work. But come January when we go back full swing, well, I'm getting worried. He says martial arts is about making patterns in space and loves it. Coming from a kid who was dyspraxic and had to be bribed to go for OT up to earlier this year, I'm ecstatic! I'm wondering if we're approaching the point of "too much" however, as we zoom around town for an ever growing list of sports. I need to add a language tutor, and he wants to add another games class if I'd allow it!

 

In terms of curriculum, math is great. He wants more books done - will see how that goes. Science- finishing up Ellen McHenry now with lots of fun experiments (this is our holiday treat!), so am wading through physics books to look for a right fit for next year. Also, LA will be completely new. I'm adding grammar for the first time, and hes starting WWE4. He had a trial run narration today - he likes! I just need to see how he handles the dictation. As of yesterday however, he seemed to like recalling every word of the story from memory. But who knows- I have WWE3 ready just in case. Definitely, DS has had a series of developmental spurts this year and I feel a bit fumbly as I try to respond swiftly and appropriately.

 

 

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We will not be changing much, as we have found our stride with most of our subjects. We will be doing block learning with Nancy Larson 4 as we got started late on it this year, and we will add in a brief study of grate composers, artists and writers...just to get familiar with the bigger names.

 

Cindy

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Ugh.

Well, we've been neglecting writing because it just isn't getting any better for her. We're concentrating on grammar and spelling instead, in so far as the language arts goes. I dunno. Maybe I'll have DD11 do copywork from her Harry Potter books. Frankly, writing is so terribly hard for her that everything we've tried has made her hate it more and regress more in it. I think we'll just drop the battle for the year.

She's swimming through math again, after we decided to just skip over the scaling figures section in MM6 - she's doing several lessons a day otherwise. I think I'll have her work on the weekends on that problem area with Dad.

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DD - We are hiring a tutor for her in January to help focus on her math and English skills. That person will help me set more specific goals once they evaluate her, etc.

 

DS10 - Concentrate more on his vocab for IEW, spend more time on Latin.

 

DS8 - Pick up handwriting again. Push him more in Math - he is not challenged enough.

 

Overall - more read alouds. They love them. I love them. But it is the easiest thing to drop for some reason! A mini project each week in one of our subjects. All three working on DD's native language. She has forgotten way more of it than I want her to, and the boys want to learn more. Hopefully found a curriculum that will help and we can hook up with some native speakers online.

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We're re-organizing the family room and adding a few things to our school room. We have a school table, but I just bought some desks for my two younger ones to have their own individual work spaces. I'm also buying a toy organizer (the shelves with the plastic baskets) to get their manipulatives and buliding toys out where they can see them and use them more. I'm also rearranging bookshelves so I can have some board games out and readily available. I'm having hubby make raingutter shelves so the picture books look more enticing. These will hang over a large luv sac with pillows to make a nice reading nook.

We are having a baby in February so we're going to work on getting into a good groove and schedule and teaching my husband how to run school a little so he can help out a little more. Right now I'm cleaning out, re-organizing, de-cluttering, etc. and getting everything clean and streamlined.

As far as curriculum, we're adding in Writeshop Primary for my youngest and Wordsmith Apprentice for my middle child. We need to have a little more hand-holding for writing, but I want it to be enjoyable and relaxed at the same time. I'd like to add in more art and music into our schooltime, as well as more fun math. I also want to make play and exercise a priority for my kids daily.

Those are my plans for next semester. I'm getting really excited!

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We're in the middle of a move right now, and my younger son is going to be starting public school after Christmas break, so we're in for some big changes!

 

Our focus for "afterschooling" will be on continuing AAS, which he loves and math, which he tolerates. I've spoken to his teacher already, and I'm sure he'll get lots of art, music, handwriting and science (class butterflies, along with units on penguins, space and the ocean) at school. I'm going to move SOTW to bedtime so that he can keep doing it with us.

 

For my homeschooler, we'll keep the focus on math and spend more time on science. We're going to focus on physics for the rest of the year, with a little Earth science thrown in. Everything else will stay the same, just moving up a level in a few things.

 

Our schedule will be a little crazier, with school drop-offs and pick-ups, but I think it will be a good change for everyone. :)

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January always feels like a fresh start for me...another chance to find that elusive homeschooling nirvana. I always love January...until February rolls around. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm cautiously optimistic about a new approach to science for dd9 and ds6. We were doing a self written biome study but it was just falling flat. With 5 to teach this year I just wasn't able to devote the time to it I had intended. Making living biomes takes time and attention...two things I'm in short supply of lately. Not to mention my kids seem to get bored with the same topic week after week.

 

I found this on my shelf and I think it will work very well for us. My plan is to do a two page spread per week, reading, looking at the pictures, checking out the internet links and then collecting our own supply of whatever is featured in the spread (bugs, paper, dust, mold, etc.) and then looking at it under the microscope at various magnifications. The kids can also do something they love doing with that too...drawing pictures of what they see in the microscope and journaling about their findings. It will be a different topic each week but with everything revolving around the microscope. I think it will keep their interest, AND they COULD do it without me if push comes to shove. :thumbup:

 

Let's see, what else am I going to be doing...nothing ground breaking, but I'm looking forward to a few little changes...

 

*heading back into the last part of WWE with dd9 after having a great run with IEW. Just wanting to shore up some skills before we start WWS in the next 6 - 9 months. We will continue to practice everything we learned in IEW through writing in science and history.

 

*adding some historical fiction for dd9 to read.

 

*devoting more time to read alouds.

 

Everything else is status quo. Just going to keep plugging along. :D

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We used a semester block based system this year, so the new year is going to bring lot of changes.

 

We are finishing science now. After a rough start to science, dd found a groove with DIVE Physical Science and finished last week. Ds is just finishing up Apologia Chemistry where he started strong and got a little snowed under with the math in the middle, but is seeing daylight again now.

 

Both kids are finishing their lit programs too. Doing a year of lit in a semester was challenging, but they both liked it. They liked being able to immerse themselves in a book or paper for a week or two and be done with it. They don't like dragging through books slowly.

 

Next semester we'll replace science with history, American History thru the civil war to be specific. Dd will switch from lit to writing and ds will add in computer science and personal finance electives. We're all excited for the changes.

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We are changing almost everything, one way or another. I have not been happy with this semester; I think I changed too many things/tried to do too many things differently. In a way it was a good thing because I realized that I like to do things differently. ;)

 

Ds11 will start SM S/E 6A; he will hopefully finish 6B before we break for summer (late June). Dh will also go through a few different topics from 5A/B to shore up some weak spots.

 

We are going from free-flowing US history back to a full 4-year cycle, so we are starting Ancients in January. I'm using K12 Human Odyssey mostly with ds11 and SOTW with ds9 and ds6. I'll be reading both aloud though, so all three will hear both books. And, I'm modifying assignments from History Odyssey 1 & 2 for the boys.

 

We are also going from free-flowing science to Elemental Science's Sassafras Zoology for the semester. (I'm really hoping to like the samples of REAL Science Odyssey Life level 2 for ds11 and ds9 next fall.) It'll be light, especially for ds11, but I think they will all enjoy it and ds11 can get a bit more rigorous with science starting in 7th grade.

 

We're also buckling down with writing. Ds11 and I will be doing WWS 1 together; I'm debating not even giving him the workbook at all, but using it for me and giving him lessons/assignments based on it, but using the reading we are already doing in school.

 

Otherwise, I'm looking to moving on from the Little House series (we are on the 6th book after starting the first the end of last spring) and reading The Wind in the Willows, A Secret Garden, and A Wrinkle in Time.

 

I have a lot of planning to do this break. Thankfully today is our last day and it's really only because ds11 has the last test for SM 5B to take.

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I am trying to decide whether to pick Latin back up or push it off for awhile. Otherwise, we're doing pretty well. I think we'll keep up the Dancing Bears for a bit, since DD has gotten into a habit of guessing words while reading (again). Luckily, it doesn't take much time.

 

For me, I need to pick my piano practice/lessons back up. I've been doing a DVD course on the computer and I'm most of the way through, but the holidays have gotten in the way of practice time.

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I'm stressed because we are adding a home based business and the majority of our break has been dealing with the logistics and legalities of that. Now I'll have to figure out how to homeschool around that and not let it interfere too much.

 

I also feel like I need to devote some serious attention to my Kinder. I have also been guilty of letting things slide just because he's 5. I think I can really get him prepared well for my 1st grade plans if I just focus hard on him.

 

We've neglected science too much around here as well. And I'm letting that take priority over history. I'm going to dial back our history to just read alouds and talking for a while.

 

I really want to start pushing my 4th grader in math a bit. Saxon 5/4 has turned out to be ridiculously easy for him, so it's been more a lesson in how to use a textbook and organize his materials and work independently. Not a total loss. And as my dh said, better for him to learn to take ownership of his work and learn to be independent with something easy at first. Shrug. I guess so. But he really likes Saxon. "Well yeah---it's not challenging you, so of course you like it!!!" Oh well. No harm done I guess.

 

I am going to add the dreaded vocabulary book back into his life. He has the hardest time understanding the meaning of words. I explain and talk till I'm blue and his brain is like a sieve when it comes to this stuff. I'm also going to focus on working through the entire writing process with him. He loves to write, but doesn't want to edit or revise anything. His spelling and grammar, mechanics and usage are great, but he has a hard time staying on topic and writing coherently. It's very stream of consciousness writing and he doesn't want to change anything or talk or converse with me about making anything better.

 

I'm also thinking about doing content subjects (science and history) first thing in the morning. By the time we finish the 3 r's he doesn't want to do anything else that afternoon. I hesitate to do this in case he balks at doing math and spelling etc later and those are obviously more important subjects to get done. But I'm going to experiment and see how it goes.

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Our first semester was horrible and i'm hoping that the New year will bring about a much needed new start. My plan is to get organized and to teach/help my 11th grader manage his time better, he wastes alot of time. I also need to get more consistent with my K'er, he loves doing school and even asks for it and I feel so bad for not having anything prepared for him. So, my changes are

 

for my K'er, i'm thinking:

MFW K

WRTR/ ETC ( he loves these books)

MEP math or Singapore 1A

HWOT K

 

my 4th graders new plans is looking like this:

WRTR (spelling)

HWOT cursive

MCall/Crabbs reading comp.

Building Thinking Skills lvl. 1

Mastering Mathematics

read alouds for history and science

 

We'll also be adding in CC cycle 1 memory work at home along with the fine arts and science.

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I have been purging and selling like crazy, along with giving stuff away. I couldn't believe the stuff I had! Some from my older two dc that graduated in '10, but the books were junior high level. Things I will never, ever, use again. I am still purging a bit but almost done.

 

I am working in setting up workboxes. I bought rolling carts over a year ago and never got them set up. I also have a completely separate arts and crafts cart I am going to set up and just label the drawers. I am trying to simplify the workbox thing so I don't have to make plans every day or move cards, etc. Dh and I have been working on brainstorming ideas together and will get this all soildified next week sometime.

 

I am adding in Latin (SSL as an intro + I Speak Latin), spelling (R&S), Memory Work (VP and Living Memory) and Classical Writing which we will alternate with WWE. I need to make a schedule because I have broken it down very simply for us and it is a lot broken down!

 

I am looking forward to starting again. The days feel less used it seems more time is wasted when we are not schooling. Dh starts the Law Enforcement Academy and he is looking forward to that.

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I am trying to decide whether to pick Latin back up or push it off for awhile. Otherwise, we're doing pretty well. I think we'll keep up the Dancing Bears for a bit, since DD has gotten into a habit of guessing words while reading (again). Luckily, it doesn't take much time.

 

For me, I need to pick my piano practice/lessons back up. I've been doing a DVD course on the computer and I'm most of the way through, but the holidays have gotten in the way of practice time.

 

 

Also, I am adding in the first creative writing course from Connect the Thoughts. DD can narrate well, but really can't tell a story. I want to remedy that.

 

Looks like we're going to be really heavy on the English for awhile.

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