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Monday, January 3, 2011

First day back.

Today was our first day back to school after a month long Christmas break. I had been doing a lot of thinking over the break of what I was going to do with them to get them motivated to finish the year strong. I had decided to put our Science and History curricula up and away to be used next year or the year after, and to simply use Netflix and our local library to learn subjects that interest them. I decided that we would spend the remaining few months studying hard on our weak areas, so that by the end of our school year (March for us) our weak areas will at least be close to or at our goals.

For us focusing on weak areas means that we will finish out our Math book (not a weak area but we are too close to finished to give up now) in about 2 weeks and then drop math down to a couple of times a week just to keep ideas fresh. We will continue with a daily spelling test from our Sequential Spelling, we will get at least 5 lessons of grammar done each week including at least one writing assignment, and we will spend at least 30 minutes a day practicing our reading skills.

Math is not a weakness for my children, and I had planned to just keep going with math, but after much thought and prayer I feel that it is in their best interest to drop math down to a couple times a week. We will finish our math books because there are only 12 lessons left, and then I have a few books of random math activities we will pick from a couple days a week so they don't forget the skills they have learned this year.

Spelling is still a very weak area for them both, though I'm not going to up their spelling lessons we will just continue on as we have been until we reach the end of the book and then I will re-evaluate our spelling program and see if it really is what they need at this time. If there is no improvement in their spelling we will just have to figure out another plan for them.

Grammar has been a weak area from the very beginning, I think this is in part because we have jumped around so much in curricula trying to find one that both teaches what they need to know, and teaches it in a way they can learn it. I think we have finally found a winner because they enjoy Grammar now and they are learning, so hopefully those gaps and struggles will ease off because they are finally on a steady track with one curricula.

Reading is only a weak area for my oldest child, and I know without a doubt that with time, patience, and practice he will get better. I came across an old public school reading textbook, the kind with just a collection of short stories, poems, and excerpts from books and for now we are using that to boost his confidence in reading, and then we will probably move into Rod and Staff Reading for a couple of years. Once I have them both working well in both reading skill and comprehension I will drop reading curriculum and just give them good literature, to hopefully instill a love of reading and a love for the learning that comes from reading. My goal right now is to keep it light, keep it positive, and keep it (fairly) simple because I don't want them to hate reading. A child who reads for pleasure is a child that never stops learning, even if the child only ever reads fiction there is always something to be learned from a book!

These are my plans, for now...and today it all went well! They took a Latin test, to see how much they maintained over the break, and since I am satisfied with the results we will begin level 2 on Wednesday. We completed all planned subjects today, Math, Latin, Spelling, Grammar, and Reading in only 2 hours! I was impressed with their retention over the long break, and while I did find a few areas we need to go over again, I am overall satisfied with their progress and we are ready to tackle our weaker subjects for a few months and finish out STRONG!


  1. Sounds like a plan, Birbitt! The Princess had a longer break but when we hit the books yesterday, I was very happy with how she did in all the subjects we covered...even math, if you can believe it! We are into fractions now and that has been a bit difficult for her to understand, but her knowledge in music helps some there.

    The joys of homeschooling!

  2. Seeking, Thank you! I only hope it works out the way I am hoping it will, and that it really will boost their skills. I had intended to drop Latin until our next school year and just let them review with flash cards, but B was having no parts of that, and with level 2 it will probably help them with reading, vocabulary, and grammar...I hope.


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