2012-13 School Year–Week Two

Another school week has wrapped up. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so mentally exhausted! I’ve come to realize that the most difficult part of having students in more than one grade is the fact that I no longer have much in the way of downtime. It used to be that I could work on laundry or cleaning or cooking or whatever while Turkey and Bunny did an assignment, but now, after I’ve introduced/taught their lesson and they get to work, I have to turn around and teach Ladybug her lesson. It just goes back and forth like that all day. It’s extremely tiring, but also some of the most satisfying work I’ve ever done!

Turkey and Bunny spent most of the week in more review. Math–reviewing the more difficult concepts from last year. Language Arts–reviewing the parts of speech (although, their spelling list was all new rules). History–continued review of the Civil War. Latin–intensive vocabulary review, as well as a review of the Lord’s Prayer (I even broke out the laminator, and made Turkey and Bunny “permanent” copies of it, that won’t wrinkle and dog-ear). Religion–well, religion is always review in one way or another, whether we’re studying the Bible or the catechism, but you can’t read those stories too often, and the questions they have to answer are always a little bit different!

The only truly new information this week came in the form of science. We’re using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology this year, and the lessons started out with a ton of new information about the history of medicine, as well as cell structure. Two weeks in, and this is already my favorite science curriculum we’ve had the chance to use, and I’m looking forward to using other titles in the Apologia series in the future. I’m sure a full review of the program will be coming after we’ve been using it a little longer, but let me say that so far, I’ve been impressed with the several projects we’ve done, and think that the written assignments (including summaries, crossword puzzles, and copywork), for each lesson are awesome, as are the minibooks that go along with the end of each lesson.

I’ve noticed a huge leap from the work we did in third grade, to the work we’re doing in fourth, even considering that most of it has been review. I don’t think I’ve noticed anything like this since the jump from kindergarten to first grade. Everything is just….more…..this year. The math lessons are both more pages, and smaller print, which makes for a lot more work. The spelling words are harder, the writing assignments longer, the level of discussion we’re having about things like the Civil War deeper. Our school day is significantly longer, too, and it’s not just because I have an extra student to teach this year. It’s both exciting and terrifying to see just how much is expected out of Turkey and Bunny this year, and how well they’re meeting the challenge.

Meanwhile, in kindergarten, Ladybug kept working on number identification in math, and started to work on skip counting, as well. She also worked on handwriting and letter sounds, listened in to our Religion and Civil War lessons, and followed along with science in her Junior Notebooking Journal (which is awesome, and is great both for her and her teacher that she can participate with the big kids!). We finished reading Ramona the Pest, which was the first of several read-alouds I chose specifically for her kindergarten year, and also read Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm and The Year at Maple Hill Farm. She has the same enthusiasm for school that Turkey and Bunny did when they started…this morning, she was begging me to have school on Saturday and Sunday, too!

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