Thursday, April 8, 2010

Term One Review

Inspired by a blog of Erin's, which is dedicated to recording their learning experiences, I have decided to review the progress we make each term. I think it will be a great way to look back at what we have done, and to be able to see at a glance where we have been and the direction I intend to go.


This year we are not following any particular curriculum recommendations, but what we are doing is very similar to Mater Amabilis. We are reading one chapter of Faith and Life 5 per week. On the other days of the week we are reading various lives of the Saints. This term we are half way through The Cure of Ars, which we are all really enjoying. We are also following the Bible reading as outlined in Sonlight.

Bilby is reading two sections per week of Bible History, and Koala is reading through The Baltimore Catechism.

Next term I would like to spend more time praying together, living the liturgical year with which I have never been very consistent. Probably because I'm not much of a cook or a planner. I would also like to select a traditional prayer every few weeks to memorise.


This year Bilby began Teaching Textbooks 6. The spiral approach is a better fit for him than the mastery approach which he encounted in Math-U-See. He is enjoying the new format as he can complete the whole lesson on the laptop. I thought four lessons a week would be enough, but to complete the course he will need to complete five lessons per week. Next term I have decided to allot him one hour to complete the lesson, broken in two half hour slots. What he is unable to complete in the hour he will have to finish later in the day. Due to the amount of time he is taking to complete the lesson, we have neglected drill. However, the spiral approach means that he is continually gaining practise in this area, but I would like to do 5 minutes of drill 3-4 times a week next term.

Koala is continuing to work through MUS Gamma, which he is able to complete rather quickly. He is learning his multiplication facts quickly and without fuss. I am planning to switch him to TT5 at the beginning of term 3.

Language Arts.

Both boys are working through the Hillside version of Emma Serl's Intermediate Language Lessons. Bilby began at lesson 100, Koala at lesson 1. Both boys seem to be enjoying the gentleness of this programme, and Koala is particularly enjoying the writing lessons.

We are a little behind where I would like to be, so next term I would like to be more consistent and ensure we complete 3 lessons every week.

Spelling and Vocabulary.

This year Bilby is continuing with The Phonetic Zoo. This year I have decided to only spend 2 weeks on each lesson rather than having an unlimited time. We are focusing on learning three new words per day. We have been going through these when we take Roo to school. This approach has made a huge difference to his recall and confidence.

Koala is working through Wordly Wise Book C. He is enjoying this because it is quick, and one of the day's activities includes solving a silly riddle! His vocabulary is weak, but his spelling is relatively strong, so I thought this would be a better option than just a spelling programme. However, I'm not sure how much he is retaining, so I don't think we'll continue with Wordly Wise, but I am still discerning.

When he has finished the book in a few weeks I am planning to move him onto either Aussie Spellforce CD ROM, or The Phonetic Zoo. I'm leaning towards Aussie Spellforce as Koala is a visual learner.

Sonlight Core 5.

When I began to research home education I fell in love with the idea of Sonlight. A curriculum centred around history and literature sounded like heaven to me as a history teacher! However, the price put me off so I went with something cheaper. Last year I decided to give into temptation and I started to gather the resources needed. I am loving Sonlight! It is a perfect fit for myself and Bilby, who loves a good story and a cuddle to go with it.

As I noted in a previous post I have decided to take it slowly. However, I would like to see if we can get through a whole days' schedule especially as I have decided not to use some of the suggested titles in the IG. One of the things I love about Sonlight is having a reading schedule to follow. It just makes it all so easy.

Koala is not enjoying Sonlight as much as Bilby and I. This is because he is a visual learner and he sometimes struggles with auditory tasks. He is enjoying the readers, which we are reading together. That way I don't miss out on the books! For next term I have decided that he need not attend to all the read-alouds. Instead he will be working through and Australian History workbook, as last week he asked if he could do the ACE books again! I would like him to listen in on the history books, but only if he's happy to.


At the beginning of the year I had planned to use Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry Level 1, one day a week. We got to it only twice, and found it a little heavy and slightly dull. Instead we will do nature Study twice a week using The Wonderland of Nature.

Areas to Work On.

I would like to be more consistent in the following areas: Art appreciation, Bilby's copywork, tea time, Classics For Kids, and ensuring I make up their visual timetable daily.