I am really, really happy with the progress we have made so far this homeschool year. I think this is the first year since we started homeschooling that I can say that, and totally mean it. When we started back in August, I made up our school year calendar, with the dates we would be working and taking off. And we have stuck to the plan pretty well. I had hoped to be up to week 12 of our 36 week plan by Thanksgiving and we should definitely make that goal.
The week of Thanksgiving is supposed to be a week off, but we will use the beginning of it to play catchup on just a few things, because this week and next week we have a lot of "life" stuff going on and I know we won't get to some things. Really planning things out week by week this year has been a huge motivator for me. I have a tendency to think: oh, let's just skip the math today, if I am feeling frazzled or too busy. But with the pages we need to do each week listed right in front of me, I can see that if we skip, we will not finish the book in a year unless we make up for it some other time. Not that we don't still skip things or not get to them! We do, of course. But my plan gives me that little push that I often need to keep going during a tough week.
These are two of the books James and I are reading lately for Bookshark's American History and Sonlight Science D.
Beginner's American History is one of the spines for this level, along with the redesigned Landmark History. I prefer the Landmark book; the writing flows better and it includes lots of colored pictures and maps. It just feels more engaging to me. Beginner's is a little choppy and is set up kind of like a school text, with a summary paragraph at the end of each chapter, discussion questions, and black and white drawings and maps. But it is an easy and quick read, and I think the two spines complement each other quite well, there is just enough overlap, but not too much.
Mysteries and Marvels of Nature is your typical Usborne book, with lots of illustrations and interesting snippets of texts. I know not everyone likes these sorts of books, but my kids love them. James spends quite a bit of time studying all the information and the pictures. Afterwards, we use the discussion questions in the instructor guide to discuss what he read. He retains information from this book surprisingly well and I myself have learned quite a bit through our discussions lately! He also likes to look up the internet links for this book on the Usborne quick links site.
Also, Rose and I finished our human body study! Here is her completed "paper person" which we made with the templates in the book My Body. Please excuse that I clearly did not cut the feet well enough, leaving the bones to stick out, and that I made the head way too big and funny-shaped. Paper cutting is really not a talent I possess.
We are only one week in, but so far this has been a hit. The text is pretty lively and interesting, there are discussion questions for each animal, and the animals are grouped by region, which I especially like. Rose likes the pullout booklets included throughout, mostly because she likes any excuse to staple. We did our first one of those today, on penguins. It included a coloring page, too, which she will be doing at some point. I think this book is going to be a lot of fun.
Till next time!