Thoughts for this past year...
Maria has been awesome. She works independently well and works with me well also. It has been really fun for me to move out of the early elementary age stuff and have some good discussions with her on topics of all kinds. Math has been especially an enjoyable challenge. She started out the school year feeling very overwhelmed at all the new topics in Saxon 54, and through this year she has learned many "big kid" concepts, like decimals, division, percents, etc. We will continue with Saxon 65. Her spelling slowly improves. In fact, John and I noted just lately that she seems to have made a big leap in this problem area. We will continue Writing Road to Reading and Starting a Spelling Notebook, and with Intermediate Language Lessons' gentle approach to grammar and writing. I look forward to developing her writing skills quite a bit this coming year. Our curriculum makes a big leap in that area during 5th grade, and it's not an easy subject for her. We'll also use Handwriting Without Tears for one more year of cursive practice. We will continue to work with the St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism, this time with No. 2, and also with Faith and Life's 5th grade book, Credo. We'll memorize more poetry, including the very long Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. We'll work through Latin Christiana I again, including the grammar lessons this time through. We'll be starting the Concepts and Challenges in Earth Science book, as well as having fun with these monthly science kits on all kinds of topics. We'll continue with Pioneers and Patriots for American history, as well as all the great historical literature recommended by Mother of Divine Grace. We'll be using The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide for, well, geography and our timeline. And finally we'll be using bimonthly art kits from My Lil Picasso with all the kids. Maria will also be working through the Drawing Textbook and doing picture studies from Seton's Art 5 book. We will also continue to use Our Musical Year and Introduce Your Child to Classical Music in 52 Easy Lessons as a family. And at some point this year I hope to purchase a piano so Maria can begin piano lessons. We will also use the wonderful reading lists published in Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss and in Catholic Mosaic by Cay Gibson.
In particular for Kain, who will be joining our homeschool this year for first grade, he will finish working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (love those easy lessons), as well as reading through many easy readers and the Little Angel series. We have been working through the first third of Teach Your Child...over the summer. He will start memorizing poetry as well, especially young-child friendly Robert Lewis Stevenson, and memorizing the St. Joseph's First Communion Catechism. He will make an illustrated book of narrations about various Saints, as well as one about Aesop's Fables. He will practice printing with the Handwriting Without Tears series. We will work through the Saxon 1 book for math, and pursue as many interest-lead nature studies as I can fit into our days. First grade is a light year with lots of time for learning through play, and I will be putting together quite a few Montessori-style activities for Kain as well.
Both of the courses of study are largely what is laid out in Mother of Divine Grace. The ideas are not mine. :) It's a lovely curriculum that truly respects the mother and the student. We have been blessed to have it.
Jack will be starting a slow three year-long perusal through Little Saints preschool curriculum. He also has a fun subscription to monthly Brighter Vision kits, and he'll have plenty of Montessori lessons to try and distract him from other fun activities like dumping cereal boxes on the floor or putting toys in the toilet.
As for our coming month off, the kids will get to sleep in if they'd like, have plenty of freetime, swimming a couple of times a week, days at the park, a couple of days at least at the lake, a visit to Grandmom (my grandmother), Meme and Papa over to visit (my mom and dad), and beginning flag football and cheerleading with Upwards. I will be organizing our school room, making some Montessori lessons for Kain and Jack, and just generally doing all the "getting ready for school" stuff.