Week 4 Overall Progress Report

 I suppose that out of the abundance of the heart, the computer typeth.   In the midst of keeping it real, I should say that we really are, overall, having some fun times in school.   We took a trip to Sea World-San Antonio on last weekend, which was originally planned to allow the 5-year-old an opportunity to see the Backyardigans.    It didn’t occur to me until sitting with my son over his science book how timely the trip was.    He’s studying swimming creatures this year, and we were able to gain so much from our studies by recalling what we saw on the trip.   Wow, what a concept, huh? (smile)    In all honesty, I was a bit disappointed with Sea World.   It’s much smaller than I thought, and my husband and I were noting that there were a number of people leaving the park as we arrived at 2:30.   We figured out later that the lion’s share of the feedings and animal encounters occur in the morning or mid-afternoon, so we spent most of our time in line waiting for the afternoon and evening shows to begin.  However, nothing I’ve seen compared to Shamu’s performance.



I don’t know that I was expecting to see the killer whale eat one of the performers, but I was amazed at how trainable these animals are.  In our reading, we found out that they are called “killer” whales because of their fierce attacks on other sea animals, including other whales.   However, they are friendly to people and, as we noted, very teachable.   It was awesome.


Without doubt, I didn’t follow my own advice and was a victim of packaging this year with the 5-year-old’s curriculum.   I’ve used Making Math Meaningful with the older two for years, and I’ve enjoyed it up until this year.  I’m having to pull upon too many outside resources in order to cement the younger kids’ understanding of the Metric system, time, and multiplication (in the old school way that I’m accustomed to it being taught).  I will say, though, in the spirit of not being a curriculum basher, David Quine’s customer service is exceptional—one of the reasons I stayed with his product for so long.     However, after I used the K product with the youngest and she began to teach me, I thought it might be time to move on.   So, after some intimidation over the “advanced student” label of many reviewers, I loosened the purse strings and bought Horizons.   It’s a good-looking product with an approach to learning that the 5-year-old will probably love in that a number of concepts are introduced at once rather than novice to mastery on one concept, then novice to mastery over the next, etc.  It’s still beneath where she is minus the actual forming of the numbers in writing, but we don’t have the luxury of not using something once that kind of money is spent.   So, we sometimes complete a couple of lessons in a day until she tires out.


Bob Jones has been even less of a good fit for us.   I like the beginning readers—gorgeously illustrated and with actual meaningful and interesting stories.  Today, I had all 32 books stacked on the table, and I jokingly  told the 5-year-old that we were going to read them all.   She looked at the stack and said, “That’s going to take all day, but okay!”    Looking at the readers made me buy the whole phonics/ worktext package.   There are so many possible activities until I find myself a bit overwhelmed, which isn’t their fault, of course.   But the exercises are ridiculously simple in some cases (circle the building in which the family will enter, and there’s only one building on the page), and the subtle sexist messages are at times unbearable.  Why can’t a son enjoy a cookbook?   Why can’t a daughter get a kick out of building something with her mom or dad?   Moreover, why can’t a girl like dolls and trains?   So, here I sit with $150 in pretty curriculum for her (I normally spend about twice that much for all 3 children), and I’m disappointed.   I’ll definitely have to back up and punt as I consider our course for next year.   Both math and phonics programs tend to build upon one another, so hmmm…


I love when learning and discovery happen totally outside of you.   After school, i.e. her time at the table, is finished, the 5-year-old generally likes to rest on the couch (still a bit groggy from being an early riser).  



She told me one day about how she was learning “lots of stuff” from her view outside the window.    I’ve sat sometimes to enjoy it with her.   The hummingbird was a bit too fast for me, but I caught this guy.   Now we just have to figure out what he is.




She also showed me how she was spending her free time in the game room; she had put the pieces of our Thomas the Tank Engine set into a very elaborate course for the trains.    Maybe she’s the engineer out of the bunch.


For all our scrapes over dawdling and daydreaming, the oldest is kicking most of her subjects in the rear, especially Algebra 1 and Physical Science!   (an end which makes the means that much more frustrating).   I’ve heard so many nightmares and horror stories about middle school/high school kids and higher maths and sciences.   I had all kinds of back up plans in the works.   Today, we had a wonderful discovery time together watching a hydrogen peroxide/yeast mixture release enough oxygen to blow up a balloon.    It was good to spend time together without thinking, "How far behind are we now?" 





Friday is our day for current events, and this is definitely one of several bright spots.   I have two computers bookmarked for worldontheweb.com and studentnewsdaily.com so that each one can work at his/her own pace.   It brings me great pleasure to hear them exclaim to one another, “Did you see this?”   “Which one are you going to write about?”   “Did you read the one about…?”  It’s neat to have kids that enjoy being informed.   I’ve got a grin on my face just anticipating the week’s end.

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12 thoughts on “Week 4 Overall Progress Report

  1. Thanks so much for posting those two websites for current events. I have been checking them out and added them to my big teens educational computer time folder. Some of the articles can count for government. IT is a very exciting year for my ds to be voting for the first time.
    My ds loved that same science experiement a few years ago. I always enjoy your blog.

  2. Sea World is a really neat place to visit. I've been to the one in Orlando. That's neat that it lined up with your son's science.

  3. Don't beat yourself up over having "packaged" curriculum in your home. I guess I'm one of those that really don't mind that, but my kids are both still young (6 1/2 & 4). I use Horizons with both right now and they do seem to enjoy it very much. Maybe sometime when they are older I'll feel more comfortable going out on my own.


  4. I love those monsters of the deep too. They are amazing. While we were at the Lighthouse, the keeper told us about a day last year when school children were there Grey whale watching, and a school of killer whales attacked the baby grey whale.What a field trip that was.

    As for Math…When ours were young we did Rod and Staff. They have the Best word problems ever written. And the drill pages …we did every other line and sometimes skipped them. There is alot of drill! But for us, and I dont know if they still do this, Rod and Staff would let you try before you buy and Return without a restocking fee. As they were older poor she did everything, We tried everything From Ray's Arithmetic, Abeka, Bob Jones, Alpha and Omega and Math-it etc But we struck gold with Saxon Math. Their explanations and example PAGES (not just a couple ex. at the top of the page) Made Math so simple for Matthew! (And Math-it was fun!)

    As for Gustav, please be safe. I am so sorry Hurricane Andrew changed your life in such a manner. You were so young to be without your mom and have such a connection to Andrew. When I pray about this event, I have family everywhere. My dad is over by Tampa, My Mother-in-law is in Miss. And My sister is in Houston ( Actually Humble). From Coast to coast I say the same thing. Leave, take a vacation for a couple of days..go camping so you don't even know til its over. It is gonna do what it is gonna do. You can't stop it by staying. And My dad will stay, He raises Race Horses and will not leave them. Mike's mom is in a retirement home and leaves at the will of those in charge and my sister…She is a police officer in Houston so she has to stay to serve and protect! URG! All I can do is pray and blow my horn (0: hee hee!

    Tirzah is flying "By herself" for the first time on Friday to go down to So. Cal. and train with her team for a week. Please keep her in your prayers.Her daddy is more concerned about her flying there than to Africa…silly daddy.Thank you for keeping her in your prayers.

    Hug your kiddos, stay safe and if Gustav changes his mind…leave.

    Because of Jesus, Bobbie

  5. It is all a learning experience, isn't it? For the kids and for us as we try to make the right choices in curriculi for the kids!


  6. It sounds like you had a good week. Sometimes I need to lie on the couch after the first morning round, too!
    We went to Sea World~Florida in 2007. It is probably bigger, because we had the opposite problem. We couldn't see everything. It was like a race to see all the shows (plus standing in line up to 1/2 hour for them).
    I hope the Lord is blessing your week.
    LetitiaEdited by SandBetweenMyToes on Sep. 1, 2008 at 12:50 PM

  7. We were disappointed in Sea World, too. But, Shamu rocks!

    We have loved Horizons, but i think we just got the workbooks at the K level so as not to spend the big bucks just yet.

    I am working on my book lists. I got a few started tonight. It will be an on-going labor of love, i think.

  8. that if it were up to me, I would never be able to put together a great curriculum with all those books. However, I have found some great companies who will do it for me! The older girls' curriculum is put together by My Father's World. It tells me what pages to read to the girls when, what notebook pages we can do, etc. It is pretty Charlotte Mason-ish too. I'm enjoying it now that I've figured out how it all works. For Eliana, my 4 yo, we are using Sonlight's prek program with some added hands on stuff because she thrives on it. We don't always do school with her everyday, but when she wants to (about 3 days a week) and for bedtime reading, etc. I figure if she overflows into kindergarten, she will still have a great curriculum. Anyway, all that to say that I'm not the goddess you should feel you need to bow down to! (I know you were joking anyway!)

    I loved the things you shared with me. Thanks for taking the time. This is my favorite quote: "if he feels that his needs are still being met in the midst of your growth and commitment, it sure makes your life easier". I've been pondering all of the words you and others have shared. This evening Tim and I had a talk, and I think everything is okay again.

    As for my hair…I am growing it out, but I'm not sure what my end goal will be!

    Your sister,

  9. The trip to SeaWorld sounds like SO much fun! We're using Horizons Math, too, and we're liking it; we're doing grade 3, even though "officially" Kathryn is in 2nd grade. And I'm making some changes in my days as well… still processing it all and coming to some new realizations which I'll post about after I have it clearer in my own head. But basically, just trying to break free of being a slave to our schedule so we can just enjoy learning.

I'd love to hear your two cents!!