Sunday, October 18, 2009

School Year So Far

You would think that I'd have had more to say about our school year so far, with so many changes! Overall, it's going smoothly, but let's see what else I can think of to add to that.

Let's start with Chicklet7, who just started first grade at the local elementary school. Chicklet tells me that her favorite things about school are recess, gym, music, library and computer, sounding pretty much like my other kids who put in time in lower elementary school. She doesn't have much to say about her academic subjects. She is learning some sign language, because there is a little deaf boy in her class, and she thinks that's fun.

We notice that she is a lot more whiny and tired after school and in the evenings. I think it is a really long week for her. She is gone from home from 8 to 4--those are long days, aren't they? I have felt so glad I didn't send her to all-day kindergarten last year...until I got her mid-quarter evaluation and nearly every box was checked with an X for "needs improvement." Then I was beating myself up for not working harder with her last year during our homeschool kindergarten, until I talked to another mom whose son had been in all-day kindergarten last year, and he had the same number of X's on his evaluation. So I decided to stop feeling guilty and be happy that she is enjoying recess so much! According to another mom, they will be covering the same ground for the next few years anyway.

And my sweet 7-year-old is a chatterbox! She "...does a great job participating in class discussions...has difficulty working quietly." For some reason, I find this more amusing than concerning; actually, what concerns me is that she might stop being her delightful little chattering self if we leave her in school long enough. But for now, it's probably good discipline for her.

I had thought that Bantam4 would be lost all day without her, and he has surprised me by being able to go off and play alone for long periods of time while Bantam10 does his schoolwork. From the sound effects, I don't think he feels alone; he is surrounded by a whole fleet of aircraft or spaceships, or he and a posse of imaginary good guys chase the pretend bad guys all over the house. He is the most "all boy" of all of my boys! He also likes to join me and B10 at the table to do random pages in preschool workbooks, but only for a little while before he has to get back to saving the world.

B10 is having a good year at home. I am making him do every question in his Saxon 54 math book lessons, which means he is spending a lot of time on math every day. But he's getting faster, and he's getting better at math, which actually comes more easily to him than it did to his older siblings. It is at their recommendation that I am focusing so much on math this year! They disliked it so much and complained so loudly and frequently about the repetition and drill of the Saxon program, that I often let them just do odds or evens...and now they say they realize they needed the drill, and they say we should have done all the TESTS! I had no idea, at the time, that I was such a softie. You'd have thought I was General Ghengis Khan Schmitz.

B10 also reads every day for at least an hour, and he practices piano every day. He has a new piano teacher who is really inspiring him! He also just started cornet lessons once a week at the public school where Chicklet goes. He is reading his way through some Usborne science books and answering questions about his reading. For history/geography, he is reading Holling C Holling books aloud to B4. He is also taking an hour of tap dancing a week, as well as a 2-hour singing class through our theater group. And of course, he's attending weekly rehearsals and learning songs and dances for his part in Seussical!

For writing, he is taking my writing class at our homeschool group's 6-week enrichment class session, and on his own time, he is working on a chapter book about a superhero and trying his hand at cartooning as well. At enrichment, he's also taking a hands-on science class, a history class in which they are constructing lapbooks with pockets, flaps and booklets of Civil War facts, and an architecture class in which he is learning classical forms and structures using Legos! Isn't that awesome?

And I guess I'll leave my three teenagers' educational antics for another post. Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

I'm glad for the review--have been sort of wondering. It's nice for you to have much quieter days this year--does it feel a little like you've stepped off a roller coaster onto at least a slower-moving vehicle? Love, Pianomum

MomCO3 said...

I was wondering how it was going, in the midst of all the other doings at the Hen House.
Annie (aka Gen. genghis Khan Schmitz II)