Thursday, May 19, 2011

We are done!

Well.  Gracie is a second grader now.  And at some point I'm going to have to come to terms with the fact that my baby is a Kindergartener.  *sob*

Our year ended well and I really feel like we all grew.  Here's a sampling of our accomplishments:

~We finished our year much more relaxed and with more enjoyment than we had about a month into things.
~Gracie is reading chapter books, like real big chapter books.  Her favorites are Harry Potter, Judy Moody, Encyclopedia Brown, any of the American Girl series but the mysteries in particular, Nancy Drew and The Chronicles of Narnia.  As you can tell she loves mysteries.  Her reading skills are awesome and her comprehension is amazing.  She's light years ahead of grade level in the reading department.
~Gracie is an auditory and visual learner for the most part and I LOVE the ability we have at home to let that dominate her learning.  We do very little work sheet type work.  She much prefers to hear about things, watch videos about things, read about them, look them up on the internet, research them, and then write a report or do a hands on experiment.  She is very much her mothers daughter!  She's not into drill work, she's into practical application.  And she does great with that so we generally skip the drilling.
~Her writing has improved so much.  The way she expresses herself, the amount she wants to write and her handwriting in general have really taken off.  One thing we need to work on is spelling.  I'm at a loss for how to teach this as she hates drilling and I was a horrible speller so I'm not sure what will help her out.  I'm still a fairly bad speller actually.  Thank God for spell check!  I'm going to try a new approach with her next year, we'll see how that goes.
~Ian really got into the idea of learning generally.  He loves his Brain Quest book, that's all we've focused on this year and he's really into it.  His fine motor skills are coming along and he's trying to read.  I have a feeling Kindy is going to be a huge year of changes for him like it was for Gracie.  She started not able to read and really not trying much with writing and by the end she was reading and writing well.  I'm so excited to see him reach those same accomplishments!

Plans for next year:
I intend to keep up with the low key eclectic approach we have going on.  This year we had weeks where I focused on topics and weeks where we totally unschooled.  It worked for us.  My kids like direction, they like accomplishing things, they like to work with me.  They also like doing stuff on their own.  I really think staying relaxed is the key, as soon as someone is fighting anything we just take a break.  They always want to come back to it and usually the break gives them the ability to conqueror it.  Not sure why that works but it does.  I will be using the Core Knowledge books What Your 2nd Grader Needs To Know and What Your Kindergartener Needs To Know.  I LOVE those books.  They are so comprehensive (except for language arts, they have tons of reading but no grammar, spelling, vocab, etc....) and I really like the way they are laid out and how easy they make everything to understand.  I also like the suggested activities. The 1st grade book totally saved both mine and Gracie's sanity this year.  So those books will be our core.  Both the kids will have Language Arts books from Options and I got other text books too because hey, they are free, so why not?  We can use them as reference and if they end up sitting unused it's no loss to me.  I will also continue to have the kids journal and I want to focus more on making that a daily thing.  I love what Gracie wrote this year and I know she will get a kick out of it when she's older.  On Fridays they will be attending Options at a new location which I think we will really enjoy.  It has more class offerings and extra-curriculars all of which is free or extremely affordable.  Karate and Drama are two things in the plans already, both the kids are sooooo excited about those classes!

So that's it.  The 2010-2011 school year is officially history.  Woot!!


  1. That's great Alice! I've learned so much as far as just relaxing etc.. I have really seen how important it is that the child learns in the way that's best for them...I've gotten quite a few tips from you--so thanks! I think Ken got sick of me saying "Well, Alice does this etc..." haha!

  2. LOL! I've learned so much from many home school blogs and friends, it really helps to have real life resources.