Mar 16, 2011

Finishing up Winter Session and Prepping for Spring!!!

This is our last week of our winter session and KM has continued to do really well and is truly enjoying her topics of study. As always we have tweaked and evolved things throughout the session and will continue to do so as we set forth our plans for next session. I have most of the outline planned and over the next week will be fine tuning things.

First and foremost we have both decided after a long discussion, that we need to slow down a bit. We went FULL THROTTLE through the winter and managed to not get any winter duldrums or cabin fever, however we are EXHAUSTED! I have made a last minute decision to go back to our 3 stay day routine and with all that is coming up I am feeling a NEED to really stick to it.

There are some big jobs around the house that need to be taken care of and we are hoping to address a few this weekend ~ including taking down the snow damaged pool ~ while we are all around. The spring brings different chores and household responsibilities that need to be addressed and with CJ starting a full 6 week course to get his advanced licenses, KM and I are going to have to step up and take on some of the things that we would normally leave for him to do.

As for our lesson plans we will be continuing with a majority of the programs from the fall and winter we have been doing, but have decided to tweak a few areas including -

  • Science - After some dissection of the Spectrum Science Workbook we both felt like the last few chapters were so disconnected in their content that it was too chopped up and KM didn't really want to finish it. On top of this KM has been very Science focused over the last two years, doing multiple programs at a time, so we decided to back off a bit. She will finish up the next few issues of Scholastic's Science World and will be doing the Environmental Study - see below - that she had planned on doing over the summer during the spring instead. I think this will tie in nicely to our gardening and landscaping plans as well.
  • Math - She will be completing the Straight Forward Math Series Algebra Book 2 this week and will begin Book 3 after the break. She is moving very smoothly through this series and really seems to be retaining the information well. 
  • Social Science - 
    • History - KM has completed Volume 3 of Story of the World and has just begun Volume 4. It seems to be just as intriguing to her although the style is a bit different in this volume than in the ones before. She has been a bit stumped on the outlining portion, but I think with continued practice this will improve. As she is moving through this program at a more advanced rate and completing two to three chapters a week, I will not be requiring that she complete all the outlines and we will be  doing far less of the activities as well. I have, however, chosen to incorporate more of the Brain Pop! videos into the the history areas to hopefully bring a bit more life into it. 
    • Current Events - This is an area that we have been a bit lacking in lately and CJ feels we should put a bit more energy into. KM does read Youngzine each week, but I stumbled across the CNN Student News and I think this will be a great resource! 
  • Art - I went back and forth in this area recently. We tried a Great Course series from the library, but it was more than a bit DRY! KM is always working on different projects and crafts, but she also likes well done documentaries and shows having to do with art. So after some poking around online, I landed on Netflix and found this rather intriguing looking PBS series called Art 21 which we can stream live through the ROKU and/or the Wii onto the big screen! There are also free downloadable educator's guides to give some extra insight and ideas on how to use the program in an educational setting! We are both looking forward to utilizing this resource.
  • Environmental Study - We had planned on working through this unit study over the summer, but as I mentioned earlier our plans changed a bit! We will be reading the Cartoon Guide to the Environment and going through the Our Fragile Environment Unit on BrainPop. We will also be watching documentaries that will correlate with each weeks topics. 
  • Music - This is another area that we tend to focus a lot on around here. KM is more than halfway through the Annenberg Media course Exploring the World of Music and is thoroughly enjoying it. She will continue with and hopes to complete Piano Adventures Lesson Book, Level 2A by the end of this next session. She has been doing incredibly well considering she is self teaching and neither CJ nor I have any instrumental talent! She also continues to utilize the Wii with Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero, as well as a multitude of Sing It games that she has acquired. There has been talk of wanting to take drum lessons next year, but she is wavering as to whether she wants a traditional drum kit or an electronic one. 
  • Literature - KM has picked two pieces to focus on this session Old Yeller and Wright 3. For Old Yeller we will take advantage of this online resource, as well as doing a movie comparison. For Wright 3 we will be using this guide put out by Library Sparks. 
  • P.E. - Ice skating was fabulous over the winter and KM really took to it! For the spring the kids will be finishing up their bowling league and we will go back to Basketball and Tennis as the weather permits. When the weather is against us we will be using the Wii Sports Resort and Just Dance to get our sweat on! We have also decided to start incorporating more family fitness activities like hiking, bike riding and roller blading on the weekends when DN is here. These are things that we used to do regularly when KM was little, but have just moved away from over the last few years. 
Will you be changing things up for the spring? What kinds of fun activities does your family have planned?

I will be updating the Current Curriculum & Schedule page soon!

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