Hello! I always find it beneficial to evaluate our progress in the middle of the term, because there is still enough time to implement any changes necessary before the end of the school year.
I will mention only the subjects, where I made changes or started some new textbooks.
During the past 3 months I realized that it was time for me to pay more attention to teaching mathematics, because it was the area where Eleazar showed a lot of progress.
Right now we spend at least 1.5 hours each day on mathematics. Eleazar is comfortable with addition of numbers from 1 to 10. He explores adding numbers from 1 to 20 by himself with very good progress but I do not give any specific instructions to him about that yet. He is comfortable with solving any word problem, that involves an operation of addition or subtraction. He can also follow my "mathematical" stories, where he has to add or subtract certain numbers several times as the stories progress.
Eleazar makes up his own examples of addition and subtraction and creates his own word problems using his number cards.
He is able to explain why 6+2+2=6+3+1=6+4.
I plan to spend 1 more month on exercises and word problems, involving addition and subtraction of 5,6,7,8,9, and then I will move on to numbers 10-100.
I do not pay too much attention to kindergarten logic drills. Eleazar chooses to do them because he considers them fun.
Starting from September 2013, we have finished Pre-primer, Primer, and Book One in Elson Basic Readers.
Tomorrow we will read Molly's First Party on page 12 in Book Two. We read all the stories in the series one by one. Usually it takes us about 30 minutes to finish one story.
Eleazar understands very well what he is reading and can narrates stories if I ask him to.
We have been working on narration on and off. I used the book called "The McElderry book of Aesop's Fables" by Michael Morpurgo. The stories are short and transparent enough for narrations and it is a great piece of literature for reading out loud in any case.
We began to use Zaner-Bloser Handwriting book for cursive writing. So far Eleazar has learned all the basic cursive strokes and we are about to start writing cursive words.
Reading out loud
Anatomy was an unexpected addition to our program this year and it came from Eleazar's interest in skeletons. We use God's Design for Life Human body book for reading about different aspects of human body.
I changed "The mystery of history" book to "The story of the world" book. I like the narration better in "The story of the world". The book has an easier flow.
Eleazar is now 4 years and 6 months old. He has matured a lot during this summer and we are ready to start our new school year.
My main objective this yea is to focus on the most essential things- reading, writing, math and Classical languages. Here is our plan:
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Eleazar is now 4 years and 4 months old. A month ago we finished our homeschooling year 2.
Since last year we have completed 5 books in mathematics by The Critical Thinking co. I was very happy that Eleazar was able to do everything fast and the tasks seemed nicely structured and fun. However, behind that seeming success I noticed that Eleazar started to lack the fundamentals, which I hoped he would know by then. For example, he could be able to do simple addition problems in the Critical Thinking book level A grade K but he was not able to complete a similar problem outside of the book setting. It began to bother me and as I thought about it more, I realized that the way the book presented the material was very scattered. I definitely see that the authors were trying to pick all the "low hanging fruit"- anything that a child in kindergarten was capable of understanding they would put in the book, but it came at the expense of missing the fundamentals and structure.
Some concepts, presented in the book were simply confusing and wrong from the mathematical point of view. For example, the authors would ask the child to add 4 apples in the tree to the number 2, or subtract number 3 from 4 apples in the tree, which is absurd.
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Today we have finished our second school year, which was rather short- 5 full months, since I decided to follow the tradition American school year with a summer vacation. Eleazar is now 4 years and 3 months old.
It was great to have a school year short because I realized that I had to make many changes to the program anyway. Before I state the results, I would like to mention my observations in the course of the past school year.
1. For the past 2 years or so I was heavily relying on "Mathematical reasoning" by The critical thinking co. Though Eleazar successfully completed Grade K Level A curriculum and was interested in the way the book was presenting the material, I got dissatisfied with the fact that the knowledge he was gaining was very scattered. I explain it in detail in "Why I stopped using The critical thinking co"
2. Saxon Phonics program 1 turned out to be a great way to teach Eleazar phonics but slowed down his reading tremendously. As much as I loved the phonics approach to writing and as much as I hoped that it would be the best approach to teach reading too, I must admit that reading needs to be addressed separately. I will be using new resources for reading from now on. Read more in "My new resources for teaching reading".
3. I decided to be extremely diligent with my program and I found it necessary to have detailed homeschooling plans, especially for math, reading and writing because it helps me to monitor the results and to pace myself through the course of study.
Now, the following things have been achieved by us in the homeschool year January-May 2013.
1. Mathematics: we finished the "Mathematical reasoning Level A Grade K" by The Critical Thinking co. Skills: addition, beginning subtraction, even and odd numbers, counting past 100, counting by 2s, 5s, 10s; number line, beginning probability, simple symmetry, beginning arithmetic with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, data analysis graphs and tables, Venn diagrams.
2. Writing: "Saxon Phonics 1" Lesson 19. Skills: printing letters, writing simple words, copying simple sentences, writing from dictation, spelling simple words, rhyming words.
3. Reading: "Pictorial Eclectic primer" page 63.
4.Hebrew: started writing letters and simple words, memorized 1/2 of Shema Israel, 1st part, got familiar with Shabbat Blessings.
5. Greek: reading words and simple sentences, memorized Matthew 22:37, 22:39, started "Our Father".
6. Latin: read together 4 stories in Latin: Ursus et Porcus, Octavus Octopus, Rena Rhinoveros, Taurus Rex, reviewed "Prima Latina" 1-25 lessons with vocabulary and prayers.
7. Chinese: learned about 50 new characters, read simple dialogues, started to speak simple Chinese.
8. History: started a history timeline with historical figures, continued reading "Mystery of history".
9. Science: continued studying "God's design for life" series with an emphasis on beginning note taking.
10. Physical education: took gymnastics, practiced pre gymnastics skills at home, spent time in nature.
11. Music: started piano lessons, learned beginner music theory
12. Arts: explored drawing, painting, clay modeling, lego building.