Sunday, March 27, 2011

Winding Down

It's hard to believe that the school year is winding down for us, especially since we're not really slowing down, LOL. Well, I am, but that's a different story! At the one co-op for the younger kids, they are in their last unit, which is weather. They'll finish that up and then have 2 weeks the end of April where they will take the Presidential Physical Fitness test. People have been practicing here, although some have been practicing more than others, so we'll see how that all goes. Nathan actually has to take a PFT Tuesday for Civil Air Patrol as well.

As far as Rivendell goes, we officially end May 10 (our 32nd week), so we have a few more weeks. Life science, however, only had 27 chapters, and we have diligently plowed through them, so we will be done with science in 2 Tuesdays, on April 5! This worked out perfectly, since I am due April 11. That week we will have our spring break, since another mom will be busy with last minute details of her only daughter's wedding that next Saturday. After spring break, the boys will just have literature/writing, Spanish, and history, so I know they will think they have it easier!

I have been very pleased with the BJU Life Science text this year. It has given the boys a very thorough overview of biology, and I know they will be quite prepared for their high school biology class. It covered a lot, though, and there were definitely some chapters where I would have liked to spend 2 weeks! The next time I teach it, which will be Lord willing in 2 years, I probably won't be having a baby, so we will be able to slow down a bit. Next year we are doing physical science, or, as it is currently faddish to call it, "Integrated Physics and Chemistry", and that book only has 21 chapters, so I am looking forward to going at a slower pace. I will say, however, that I am not looking forward to the subject matter as much, LOL. I love chemistry, but physics is NOT my favorite. Oh well.

We will also be stopping the official memory work part that I have been doing with the younger kids in the afternoon after spring break, although I have everything all copied out for the rest of the year, so they can do it individually if they want to. That's what we'll do, anyway! The kids have learned a ton of stuff this year--we're almost all the way finished with Hebrews 11:1-12:2, and we've memorized 5 poems completely. We're on point 27 ("The Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression--1929") of the 32 point timeline, and the kids are really doing well, even with the dates. They've also memorized a science fact each week from the life science chapter that the older boys are working on, and I must say it has been helpful for the older boys to hear the younger kids chanting things through the week like the formula for cellular respiration, the stages of mitosis, and the main bones of the skeletal system!

I have been so pleased with Nathan's progress in Spanish, writing, and history this year as well. In Spanish, he is so much more fluent than I ever was after 2 years of high school French! Siri is going to have them keep working on some stuff over the summer so they don't forget everything before August. And now that we have started doing Latin again, Nathan is singing the praises of Spanish, as compared to Latin! Luke is looking forward to starting Spanish next year.

I have also seen vast improvement in his writing, thanks to Theresa and her wonderful teaching. He has become a lot quicker at expressing his thoughts on paper, as well as clearer. He is still much more succinct in comparison to some though, LOL. He has also enjoyed the books they have read and discussed for the literature part. Luke is also taking a literature class from Theresa in the afternoon, and he has also really enjoyed the discussions and books. Theresa pretty much has them writing something each week, which has been great, and Nathan has had to do a lot of timed essays for practice as well. Right now he is doing a big research paper on blood.

In history, the boys have finally reached Rome. Christine tells me each week about the lively discussions they are having, which is Nathan's favorite part. Tapestry of Grace also moves really quickly, and in fact next year, when we do TOG Year 2, we are going to split it into 2 years, since it covers so much so fast. That will hopefully give the boys more time to do some of the extra more hands-on activities that we just haven't had time to do this year. They have covered so much ground, and they are retaining a lot too, as evidenced by all they talked about at the museum in Philadelphia!

The past 3 weeks we have met at our house, as opposed to our church, where we usually meet. Our church building is being remodeled to make room for more offices. When Craig, the church administrator, first told us this was on the agenda, way back in August, we thought, "Oh no!" But the timing has worked out perfectly. It's been really nice to not have to lug all my science stuff up and down stairs in the church--it's right here at my fingertips! When I'm not teaching, I can sit on my own couch, in my slippers! And my bathroom is right around the corner, as opposed to up the stairs. Nice! Plus, the girls can just play in the playroom, and we don't have to spend time cleaning like we do when we're done at the church each week! We do really miss the big field outside for the boys to play football, but they have the trampoline (I am sure our crabby nieghbors love that we now have 17 kids over here Tuesday afternoons, LOL), as well as the basketball hoop. We do love meeting at the church--it is nice to have a dedicated place that feels more "school-like" and official, and where the classes can be a little more spread out, but this has worked out well for the short-term, and it has sure been nice for me at the end of pregnancy. Craig said today that they are really coming along and hope to be done in the next 2 weeks--they should for sure be done when we are back from spring break. And the women's bathroom is being remodeled as well, so I know it will be very nice!

So that's where we are. We are already making plans for next year, and I think it will be just as great! The Lord has been so faithful with this co-op--what a wonderful group of ladies and kids! We have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them!

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