Year End Wrap UP

by Darla on May 31, 2013

in Home Education,Reno, Nevada

It has been several years since all the children finish at exactly the same time.  This year is no exception.  Samuel will finish up his work this week for which I’m very grateful.  It seemed Virginia still had some work to do but she put in some extra time and will finish up just before we leave to go to Arizona for a break.  Bekah will be working for a couple weeks to finish up when we return.

This is a fantastic time to remind myself what worked and what didn’t what goals we need for next year.


The writing with ease was a fantastic fit for samuel this year.  He needed the every day writing practice to build up the muscles in his arms and build consistency.  We started with level 1.  Additionally, This was a good fit for him because it helped with memory work.  He had to focus as I read the short passages so he could answer the questions when we were finished.  Asking the right questions in the right way can be so helpful and I found that it was a good model for me to do that.  Most of the time, he was able to remember the details he needed.  This is a major challenge with Asperger’s.  Normally I would not have purchased something like this because of the scripting.  After trying it a couple times on my own with our history passages, found it challenging to say the right thing.   With more practice, I’m hoping this will become second nature for both Samuel and I.

Arithmatic – We used several resources this year.  The first was Math Mammoth for Multiplication.  About this time with all my children we take a break from the other things they have done to complete an intensive review of math facts focusing specifically on memorizing the multiplication tables and review addition/sums.  We spent the first part of the year on that and the last half we started Teaching Textbooks 6.   My review Math Mammoth is okay.   I didn’t feel particularly strongly about it one way or another.  It covered the material and got the job done.  Perhaps it isn’t that I feel okay about the materials rather that this is something we will need to be diligent practicing at least once a week doing math fact drills.  Sam has challenges with remembering some things yet others he can quote hour long movies verbatim.   Finding how to trigger that type of response with math facts hasn’t been easy.

In the last month we found MathRider for skills drill addition subtraction multiplication and division.  Sam has been working on this and having more success in his regular math lessons as a result, not as many skill mistakes.

History – We have been all over the place this year as far as curriculum is concerned.  Tapestry of Grace year 1 needs to improve significantly in my opinion.  They are working on an upgrade which is coming out unit by unit.  The sample unit for Egypt is one of the most complete weeks of the whole year.  Otherwise most of the reading comes from the bible.  This includes read alouds, literature, in depth etc.   To me this is NOT a well rounded approach and that is what I wanted for my children.  We read the scriptures together as a family everyday.  Yes I could have supplemented to make it work but why when I paid so much for a program that was supposed to have done this part for me.  I want living books that go along with our studies not just textbooks.

We ended up moving around.  We used Mystery of History for Samuel along with Heritage History readers.  I liked both of these programs.  Mystery of History we used before and will also keep as part of our program.  It has a daily focus on an event or individual in history.  It can be difficult to see the big picture for someone that struggles with making connections.  Still as we went on in our lessons and it talked about people from previous lessons, I remembered.  This might just need a tweak to help with Sam’s individual needs.  Heritage History readers were good and we will keep using them to help defray the cost of books needed for Tapestry next year.  I’ll just stay with the suggested topics and age group versus a particular title when it seems like Heritage History’s will be an acceptable substitute.  We followed up with Mystery of History Vol II which we went until it connected by with Tapestry of Grace Year 2, week 6.

This is where we will begin next year.  It will repeat some of the things we learned this year but it will be a good review for the first part.  Samuel loved that we kept moving around but for me, I didn’t love it.  Never knew what I was doing from one unit to the next not to mention the planning/preparation for each week’s work.

Science – This is definitely an area we can improve.   Samuel loves science so it is easy for him to pick up the things that he sees quickly and he seems to comprehend what is taught.  Perhaps with the other things that we were doing it just worked out best this way.  He wants to learn about Physics so I dug through the garage and found the Noeo:  Physics II Gears Gizmos and Gadgets.  He loves it.  So we will continue on with this in the summer until it is finished.  I would love to work on the Noeo Biology II next fall so that he and Ginny are on the same topic.  We also added in nature walks this year which was a huge success.  It helped him to apply the things he learned about in our book studies and I was able to assess what he has learned through questioning him about what he was seeing.

Art – What a fun time we had learning with Bekah as she taught us the skills to draw.  His figures fluffed out and started looking more like bodies rather than sticks.  It seems to help him in other areas of studies.  We used the internet and Mark Kistler’s dvd lessons that we purchased years ago.

It seems that we are left with Grammar and Spelling.  We used Spelling workout and KISS Grammar an internet resource.  Spelling workout was simple.  He spread the lesson over 4 days but could have finished in 3 if he wanted to do it that way.  We will continue with this series as it helped stop all the spelling questions and to intuitively figure out how to spell words on his own with a little help.  KISS Grammar was free and lots of opportunities to practice the skills you learned.  It wasn’t easy to figure the appropriate level but it is free after all.  I also felt that we needed to have more of a spiral method of learning work on this concept then review it in future lessons so that the skill wasn’t lost.  I will not hesitate to use it if we need more practice on a particular skill area.

For next year’s goals these are the areas that I’m contemplating.

needs consistent drill in math facts to retain what he has learned.  Will use flash cards, skip count songs, Math It and blank multiplication tables once a week to facilitate learning.

Continue with spelling workout

Grammar we need basic English usage skills so will more than likely move to easy grammar type program.

For writing continue to use copy work and narration skills with all areas of study.  I’d like to add dictation into the repertoire along with simple compositions gradually increasing his endurance for writing both physically and mentally.

Math we will add in Mathematicians are people too as he has already started Teaching Textbooks Math 6.

Reading – Continue to find books that intrigue him into seeing a picture when he reads.  He also needs stories that help him feel what is happening.  I want to focus on different character traits about the people we are reading to help make further social connections.

Life skills class – he is now a part of our life skills program.   He decides what he wants to do from his folder of life skills.  It is required that they complete all the skills in the booklet before they are able to graduate.  It will be up to him what he works on each week.

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