End of 2017/2018 School Year Review

We are finished! The year is done! It came much sooner that I expected! Usually I have a really hard time in March and April keeping on track and finishing our work. This year it was much better and the end of the year kinda snuck up on me!

I’m glad to be finished and to have a break! I think we all need it. However, I’m kinda nervous and worried that we didn’t do enough. That they didn’t learn enough. We didn’t do enough subjects. They didn’t “get it”. I’m worried that I’m failing them as a teacher and a mom. I always struggle with this at the end of each year. This year more than others.

Half way through the year I realized that I wasn’t enjoying time with the kids and that I was always fighting with them to get their book work finished. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be developing real and lasting relationships with my kids. I wasn’t doing that since we were struggling through each day of school and felt like we were only falling more and more behind.

So I threw out our schedule (I had planned out the entire school year back in August of last year) and decided we would do the bare minimum. We did our home work for our co-op classes and we did math. Tonchi also had piano and Tonchi and Koa had cub scouts. That’s it. We didn’t do anything else.

The days were more enjoyable and we had fun together. We were able to do projects together and go places. I want more of that. However, I also worked A LOT this year and was gone a lot during the week and Brian had to take over the schooling. This also had me feeling like I was failing my kids because I wasn’t around enough. And I wasn’t on top of what they were working on. We were just barely finishing homework in time for our classes.

But we made it through the year. The kids do look back and are really happy with the classes they took. So much so, that they want to do co-op again next year. So we are signed up to do it again. And I’m teaching this year! I’m actually looking forward to it!

In the end, our schooling was reading, writing, and arithmetic with lots of reading aloud and books on CD. They had science at co-op and the boys had robotics and Aisling had choir. Tonchi also worked on spelling at home and had piano lessons.

It still doesn’t feel like we did enough. It doesn’t feel like we accomplished all that I had set out to do. I had typing and spanish on the list of things to work on. Grammer for Tonchi and piano for Koa too. Those things we set aside because it was too much. Maybe we will get to it next year, or maybe in the summer. I’m not really sure.

I know that I will fail when I rely on my own strength. I’ve trusted God with their education, more during the second half of this school year! And that is a good place for me to be. I know that He want’s me to do my best, and trust that it is sufficient. The most important things for my kids to learn is to know God, to love Him and to want to follow Him. How can I teach them that if I’m constantly at odds with them?

I still have a lot of growing to do and I’m sure I will have new and bigger lessons to learn next year. I will never feel like “I’ve got it figured out”. And if I do, then it’s a dangerous place to be. It means I’m not evaluating what the kids need and how I’m serving them in their need. Their needs are constantly changing and so should my approach!

I truly pray that this summer is a season of rest and fun and that we will be excited to start a new school year in a few months! Even now I’m considering and contemplating what we will be doing next year. There is so much to think about and consider.

Next weekend I will be going away with a group of homeschooling mamas for a homeschool retreat of our own. We will be learning together and also praying over our next school year and taking time to think about the subjects we plan to do and how we want to map out our year. I’m so excited for this and it is much needed! I’ll post an update once we get home!

Until then… here are the books we used this past year and what I think about them.

Books we used:

Tonchi – 5th grade

Biblio Plan – History – This was assigned by the teacher or their co-op class. In the end it seemed a bit on the simple side, but Tonchi really enjoyed it and understood it and liked doing the work. That makes it worth it for me!

Easy Grammer – Grammer I’ve hadrly taught, probably because I hate it myself! We started the book and Tonchi was doing well. But we quit ½ way through. We just couldn’t keep up with all that I had planned and this was one of the things we dropped. I hope to pick it up again next year.

Epsilon – Math-U-See – We are super happy with this curriculum and I’ve used it for math for all the kids. They seem to learn well with it and we plan to continue using it in coming years.

Reading – I develop a book list and then make suggestions for Tonchi. Sometimes it’s a book that goes along with what he is learning in history or sometimes a classic or just something he wants to read. All of these books either we’ve purchased second-hand or we get at the library. I will be posting later what he had read over the last year.

Christian Kids Study Chemistry – Another book chosen by the co-op teacher. I wasn’t really involved in this class. Tonchi did well and did the homework without needing much help from me. I don’t think it was amazing, but I also wasn’t teaching the class!

Typing – I just purchased a simple and cheep typing program from Rainbow Resources. It has helped them significantly. But this too was something that got dropped around Christmas time. I may use it as a quiet afternoon rest time activity through the summer. We will see!

Spanish – We didn’t even get to it this year. I had planned on using Rosetta Stone which we own, but it never happened.

Sign language – This was another class they had at co-op and were provided with the materials needed in class. Koa also took this class and they both LOVED it! I’m so proud of them! This class had a TON of homework, but they didn’t complain and practiced constantly! It became a sort of secret language they used to speak with each other and no one else knowing! It was awesome! They plan to take this agin next year as well!

Robotics – This class didn’t have a book. We did purchase a Raspberry Pi for them to work on programing. They did some while in class, but we didn’t do much outside of class. I was hoping they would use it this summer. Again, not really sure if that will happen. We will se!

Read alouds – I will also post on the read alouds we did this year. There weren’t as many as in years past. Time just seemed to be so filled. But I hope to do more next year!

All about Spelling 2 – This is an area that Tonchi really needs work. I think this program has helped him, although we certainly didn’t spend enough time on it. It kinda started slipping through the cracks later in the year. I definitely plan on using it again next year.

Koa – 3rd grade

Gamma – Math-U-See – See above

All about Reading – Level 1 – I have been amazing with this program. I’m pretty sure Koa has dyslexia and has really struggled to read. At the start of this year he was so confused by the different letters and numbers he really couldn’t read at all. We had worked hard on it the last two years off and on, but both of us would get so frustrated we would walk away from it for a bit. A friend recommended this curriculum especially for kids with dyslexia and struggling to read. Koa has done amazing! We are still WELL behind the 3rd grade level, but he has learned more reading this year than any year prior! And he doesn’t hate it! Well worth it!

Explode the Code book 2 – We are working our way through these books. He does really well with them and enjoys doing it! We will continue next year as well!

Story of the World Book 2 – This was chosen by the co-op teacher. We actually did this book last year, but the repeat was good for him. I think he learned a lot with it. I really like how the book is written as a story and they learn the story of history chronologically.

Science – He did quite a list of topics including simple machines, chemistry, physics, magnets, and simple circuits. He LOVED this class and they had some amazing experiments. His teachers wrote the curriculum and it was amazing! This was TOTALLY a perfect class for Koa!

Sign language – Another co-op class. See above…

Read alouds – See above…

Robotics – See above…

Aisling – 1st grade

All about Reading – Level 1 – I really don’t think Aisling has dyslexia, but I decided to use the same program Koa did since it was very hands on and she certainly needs something to keep her hands busy. She has done really well with it and doesn’t read well, but has shown amazing improvement this year! I’m so proud of her!

Handwriting with out tears book 2 – She loves this book and certainly needs work on her handwriting. She “doesn’t have time” for much so she rushes through things and isn’t very neat. This was good practice for her!

Story of the World Book 2 – Same as Koa, see above

Alpha – Math-U-See – see above

Science – She didn’t have a book in this class and the teacher used a lot of the Magic School bus movies and projects. It was perfect for her age group and she really enjoyed it!

Choir – She had an amazing teacher who loves music and loves teaching kids. Aisling REALLY loved this class! She sings all the time around the house and brought new songs home to sing! They had two performances and Aisling was so proud to be involved and to practice her songs! I loved seeing her take such ownership!

Read alouds – see above

Art – This was another co-op class for her. She really enjoyed this class and was exposed to so much! She really enjoyed this class and brought home quite a box of treasures! I really want to frame some of her artwork and hang it in her room for her! I don’t teach art well and I don’t let them make a mess with paint and clay often enough! This class suited her needs perfectly!

Xanthie – pre – K

Alphabet – Aisling has been working on knowing her letters better so I had her teach them to Xanthie. It worked well and it kept both of them occupied. There were fights and irritations, but for the most part it worked really well!

ABC Memory Book – She used this in her kindergarten class at co-op. There wasn’t any special curriculum, but she really had a great time and learned how to write her name! It was so great for her to have her own class this year and do something on her own separate from Aisling!

Big book for Kindergarten – I did purchase one of those “Big Books” with all kinds of activities, color by number, simple math, learning numbers, learning alphabet, mazes, etc. I wanted her to have a “School” book she could use when the others were sitting at the kitchen table doing their work. She felt so important and did learn something too!

Read alouds – she listened in most of the time we were reading. I’m not sure how much she got, but she was there and didn’t seem to mind! I’m sure she will hear some of them again when I read them to Aspen!

Sorry this was so long! This is what we used! I’d love to know what you think and if you used something you LOVED and worked well for your family, PLEASE share!!!

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