Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spring forward...

I always love the first warm days of Spring.
The ground starts to warm up, the worms get moving and the robins come back.
I can see the buds on the lilacs. I step outside to enjoy the fresh air and not just because I have to get the mail. I start to plan what the flowers will look like.
This year is especially exciting because we have two little girls to share the warm weather with!

The other thing that I can start to see is the progress we have made over the course of the school year. The books have marks closer to the last third and the book lists are long!
The Math books are worn and the test booklets are getting thin.
The notebooks are filling up, and the boys start to enjoy going through them to look back on what they have done.
Paul finished his Religion for the Diocese requirement, now we get to work on the things that I was too busy to let him go afield on. He is reading the wonderful Fr Lovasik books. The set we have has stories of saints, books about the sacraments, the Mass, the Works of Mercy, and lots more. I have been wanting him to just enjoy reading them, but there was a lot of book work to get done.
Science has been great. We have used the Astronomy book as a guide, but have done so many other Science oriented activities and trips. The computer is just a necessity for looking up sites with info on the stars and planets.

I can see the study habits really becoming ingrained.
Spelling, Grammar, Corrections, things that have to become second nature, are important to them now, three quarters through the year.

I am really pushing them in History and I think they are remembering the main points. I don't get too wrapped up in exact dates, but the older two have a good sense of the flow of history from the explorers through the War of 1812 for John, and the early Colonies for Brendan. They both remember names and places and by having them add Historical fiction to their textbook study, I am hoping that they see the lives and sacrifice that were so much a part of our early history. It's hard to soak up facts when you have no point of reference.

Reading, is a recreation so dear to my heart. It is not something I want to teach as a subject, as much as a way to explore all of the things that we learn in school, in our free time, and later, as we go into the world. I have to chuckle when I see Paul walking around with his nose in a book, almost falling over the furniture. He reads at meals, in the dark, when he is supposed to be doing his schoolwork. It brings back such memories.

John is a huge reader. He can't go to sleep without a good book to enjoy first. He likes almost anything about animals, adventure, science, you name it. He reads so fast it just amazes me. Now he is writing stories about dogs having great adventures. I have let him take off and write these rather than do the old Typing program. He was almost finished with it anyway.

Brendan has more specific tastes. He reads very well, is finishing the fourth grade, second reader, but he only likes certain types of books. Mostly information oriented. How-to, books about machines, books that teach you something. He is listening his way through "The Chronicles of Narnia". He just finished "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader".

We are reading aloud one of my all time favorites "The Phantom Tollbooth". I was waiting until they could get the plays on words and all the great expressions.
If I couldn't give them anything else, I would be happy just knowing that they are comfortable in the world of books.
I am already planning next year. Looking for more hands-on, more out-of-the-ordinary.
John and Brendan will take standardized tests at the beginning of April. It will be interesting to see where they come out. I am now wishing that I had signed Paul up. Oh well, he has years!
Gee, it's late!!! Off to bed, Chris will be here bright and early!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This entry about the boys' schooling is awesome! Wow, it is so nice to know they are doing really well, and enjoying learning so much. We feel as you do about books. We have always been happy that you have enjoyed reading so much, and now you are passing it on! What a great gift.
Anyway, congratulations on your success and love of homeschooling. You all are doing so well.
Love, Mom and Dad