Sunday, May 29, 2016

The "End" of the year? and Lots of History

Next week, I really want to get more things packed for summer/eventually moving, and then I'm going to be gone to Arizona, so I felt pushed to get "school" done by the end of this week. Well, we sort of did, but it was hard because our littlest schooler was Very sick. I'm hoping he's all better now.

I told my kids a couple of weeks ago that we were going to have summer soon so we were going to be done with school. "NO! we love science. NO! we love history!"  Ahh, sometimes there are sweet moments in a homeschool mom's life.

Since I've been so sporadic with history this year, I've really had to ramp up the output to feel finished, and I'm still going to teach about Shakespeare and the Tudor time period more since I never got to it.

Two weeks ago we studied the reformation. I have a beautiful book about Martin Luther. He truly was a man who changed the world. I'm so glad he was peace-loving. I think that influenced things in so many ways.

We made stained glass windows to celebrate.

We also studied about Leonardo Di Vinci. I LOVE learning about him!!! My kids do too, especially since most historians believe he was dyslexic.

Did you know that he knew about heart valve functions? He invented so many things and made so many advancements in science. The main reason he was only known for paintings for so long is because he didn't write in latin and get his findings and theories published. History might have been changed if only Leonardo had a good marketing and PR team.

We made a model of one of his inventions: a paddle boat, but the cogs in the gears weren't big enough so it didn't work properly.

We also studied Michelangelo. It was neat because we had watched Animated Hero Classics about Leonardo Di Vinci, it showed that he was a contemporary with Michelangelo. Then we found a "Adventures from the Book of Virtues" about Michelangelo.  I really like the hero classics and book of virtues. If they want to watch cartoons, then at least they can be informative!

In the movie it had said that Michelangelo had sculpted snow for a party. I hadn't heard that before (and I KNOW my art history!) but we researched it out, and Yes indeed! He did.

Maxwell asked for us to do something different than painting on the bottom of the table (which is what I had planned.) And I got a stroke of inspiration from the snow story, so I quickly bought some ice blocks, and we started sculpting away!

I have to say, I felt so clever and so effective as a homeschooler that afternoon as they chipped away at their ice. Even if all they made was a "loaf of bread" a "ice bowl," and "miniature skating ramp park." Definitely doing this activity again.

And lastly we studied Good Queen Bess aka Queen Elizabeth I. I didn't have much oomph when studying her. Not sure how much they got into their memories about her, but they did make these cute ruffled collars:

Like I said, we will be studying the Tudor time period more and Shakespeare. However, I doubt I will do any activities to show for it.

Right now we're reading a cute book about Anne Boleyn and Tyndal:

And there you go: Ancient history from the beginning to the Renaissance.

We pretty much have the first half of Classical Conversations Timeline song down, and if we add what we learned last year, then we have TEN MINUTES of the 12 minutes memorized! We'll do the rest in the fall.

And we had already finished science, but my mom sent us this cute package full of rocks to encourage their rock collecting:

And now: a moment for math:


Math is always my push to get homeschool done each day. There are a certain number of lessons in each book, and the ocd person in me HAS to get the books done by the end of the school year so I push push push.

Hyrum's book had 150 lessons, while Maxwell's only had 140. Those ten extra lessons seemed like such a hurdle. When we got finished this week, I went online and looked at Maxwell's next year. He had 165!!! AHH! How will we survive?!? And then Daniel will have the book with 150.

Starting in August is the only answer. Blah.

AND I was wondering when Rightstart would really teach about fractions. Don't get me wrong. They teach so well that Maxwell can add and multiply fractions that he can conceptualize. He can also change percentages and decimals into fractions, BUT he hasn't done the rote fraction math. Like 14/23 plus 13/41. What would that be? You can't conceptually figure that out.

SOOOOO I figured out that there is ANOTHER book....the fraction book. It teaches fractions in just 45 lessons.....WHEN are we going to fit that fun book in?!? We'll just have to double up lessons. Not happy Rightstart, not happy.

Really, Maxwell is ahead of Alberta standards, so I should not feel like I'm in a rush or anything, but I want to be DONE with Rightstart by the end of next year because I want to have Maxwell be learning on his own in grade 7 using "Video Tech" math. I will be teaching William by then and I CAN'T HANDLE IT ALL!!!

Ahhemm....anyway, each boy did awesome this year.

I remember looking at the end of year test that Maxwell would be doing and being in awe that he would actually learn everything that was on there, and now that we are here, it just seemed so natural. Although we did have to review how to change decimals into percentages.

Here's Hyrum's. He did awesome. He finished what is a third grade level book even though he's technically in 2nd. I'm so proud of him. Proof that although his mind works differently, he can learn hard things.

Daniel was a super star! He finished his second grade level book with ease. He was only 6 years old most of the year. Oh yah. You go boy.

And now reading....well we didn't do much reading last week because of baby's sickness, showing the house, and getting caught up in history and math. BUT my plan is to make this the SUMMER OF READING!

We always do reading in the summer because my boys always need it, but this time it's going to be different!

I was talking to my friend who's son is also dyslexic, and she said how her son is now reading quite well. She had done some Dianne Craft work with him in the past, but hadn't this year. I asked her what made the difference. She told me how she sent her son over to his grandpa's everyday to read to him for an hour. It worked.

My boys don't read to me for an hour each day. Sure I work ABOUT reading with them for that long, but I'm giving them tools and not having them actually build.

This summer, Maxwell will be doing Barton Book 6 with me (he's already done with half of the book already,) but he will also be READING to me...for an hour at a time. AND he will not get paid for doing it.

I have been paying my boys to read to me. Maybe it was necessary at the time, but that time has passed. Now if I continue, they will never read for fun. They will always feel like they should get a reward, or what's the point.

Hyrum is done with book 3 but his comprehension and fluency is lacking dreadfully. It is pointless to go on to book 4 until he's mastered these. I'm not sure what I will be doing with him. Probably reading picture books with short vowels until his fluency is improved, but in July he will be getting an educational assessment by  Lindamood Bell and they (I hope) will guide me as to the next moves to be taken with him.

Daniel.....oh boy. I have to admit Daniel's reading has pretty much been on the back burner of our school year. He started off so quick and good, and I was sure he didn't actually have dyslexia, that I just never pushed him. Now he's only through half of book 3. How did that happen? I will push Barton this summer and do picture books for his fluency.

All three boys an hour each day. Even though it's summer. Kind of feels like I'm not taking a holiday. But we don't have to do it everyday. If we go here, or party there, I'm not going to bemoan the fact that things didn't get done.

So yep. There's the year. Although I'm going to keep writing in the summer. I'm going to get Barton Certified!!!! Hyrum will get assessed by Lindamood Bell and our district's psychologist!!!

Onward and Upward man!

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