Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Year in Review

This past Sunday was our end of the year program for CC, so I thought it appropriate to do some quick reflecting on our first official year of homeschool.  We'll call it pre-K, I suppose?

I think the year was a success.  I am very relieved that I decided to start this year.  It was such a learning year, for me, and I feel much more prepared as we begin the official kindergarten year.  I had not one clue what I was doing when we began a year ago, and I know that there is still much, much, much to learn, but I have a better understanding of the obstacles we will face, and what a day will look like in our house.  And I really didn't fully understand what CC was, even though I was a tutor--ha :)  But, I now have much more confidence (like I mentioned in my last post) as I make curriculum decisions for next year, and as I decide where we will spend most of our time.

Appropriately enough, about a week ago, Ada finally took off with sounding out three letter words.  Before now, she would voice the appropriate sounds, but she could never hear the word that she was reading.  Now, she sounds the letters out, and she quickly hears the word and makes sense of what she is reading.  I think that is the perfect place to be right now.  We will continue to practice with phonics and three letters words throughout the summer, as well as writing all of her letters correctly, and we will begin learning the other phonemes in the fall.  My goal for next year is that by the end of the school year, she will be a very confident reader.  That is definitely our main focus for next school year.  I am hoping that now that we have crossed the barrier of actually being able to phonetically sound out and make sense of words, that she will just take off as she learns the new phonemes.  We'll see, right?

It is no secret that I love to read, and I have loved it since I learned how.  First grade is when my love relationship with books began, and I still remember with fondness my favorite books from those early years.  Ramona Quimby, anyone?  So, of course I am eager for the world of books to really open up for Ada.  What parent isn't eager for that, right?  Plus, it seems like the rest of learning will be so much easier once she can read or write.  This is the big hurdle.  As a CC tutor for the 4s and 5s, I have often thought that it would be much easier to plan if the students could read and write on their own.  As it is, we are relying solely on hearing the words and remembering them through songs, motions, games, etc.  I am so very visual, so to try to memorize without seeing the words in my brain, seems impossible.  But I am not four, and my brain is not at the memorizing stage :)

The other thing we will continue to work on over the summer is counting to 100 using her number chart.  I want her to be able to count to 100 and to recognize the numbers, and we will start Saxon Math for kindergarten in the fall.  Saxon math and Writing Road to Reading will be our main curriculum for the fall.  I also plan to order a good children's History Encyclopedia and Science Encyclopedia, so that we can look things up that go along with whatever history and science sentences we are memorizing for CC.  Maybe the Kingfisher encyclopedias?  Any veteran homeschoolers out there?  Anyone, anyone?  Do you have these books, and do you like them?  I will probably start with the Story of the World curriculum when she is in second grade?  Maybe?  Whenever she begins cycle 1 for the second time.  (The CC curriculum is set up in three cycles that repeat themselves.  So all of the information that she learned this year, she will actually learn again twice before she is in highschool.  The goal is that by the time they have finished foundations--4k-8th grade, I think--the facts will be as familiar to them as their ABCs.  So, when she begins the cycles for the second time, we will begin more in depth science, history, and latin curriculums at home.  For now, our focus is, of course, reading, writing, and math).

So, here we are.  It was a good year, I more confident than ever that I want to go the classical route, and I am very thankful for the community that I have found at CC.  And a quick comparison of first day vs. last day.

 open house last year

 first day

 last day

 end of the year program.  The best pictures we got.  I had big plans to get pictures of her with her class, on stage, etc. etc.  But, as the tutor, I was on stage with her, and as a parent to our moody John, Scott was mostly out of the auditorium with an upset John, so no pictures from him either.
p.s. for the end of the year program, my class/ Ada's class sang the president's song--a song listing the last names of all 44 presidents.  So, I now know, as does Ada, the names of all of our presidents.  One of the many bits of information that Ada stored in her brain this year.  I love CC.


Ashley Turnbull said...

LB, just wanted to congratulate you and Ada on Pre-K. Way to go! You have done such a good job, and I know it's such a good feeling. I love hearing your story as you guys go along. Learning is such a journey - just know that the Lord has you guys on this path for such a grand purpose! I can't wait to see how Kindergarten goes! Whohoo! Keep up the good work, friend!

Mary said...

LB, I have the Kingfisher if you would like to take a look at it. It's a great resource. I don't make use of it nearly as much as I ought to! Also have all of the SOTW books if you want to look at / borrow those. I think you have done a fantastic job of your first year, far better than I did (or do!). I say that with complete sincerity, you are doing a great job teaching your kiddos, I wish I had been as "on the ball" from a young age as you are, you & Jessica both. It was a good year! : )