Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Homeschool Update

Picnik collage

Biggest news first: Little Miss finished her Kindergarten work this week! We read through What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know, and Little Miss completed her math and phonics workbooks. We used various online resources, and honestly will continue to use them, even though she is officially done. A lot of our work and fun are filed under 'Kindergarten' activities*, so we'll still be plenty busy. We'll continue to read, read and read, go to the library, do a lot of arts and crafts at home, and be outside as much as possible.

Our 7th graders keep working on Monarch, our online curriculum. We use Monarch for almost everything: Math, Language Arts, Science, Bible, History & Geography, and they each have an elective as well. We also tried using Apologia's Who Is God for Bible, but as great as it was, it wasn't a good fit for our students. I am learning they really do best having their subjects online. This year we have also tried various ways to do science, and one of our favorites has been Science Jim's online classes on CurrClick. (Any suggestions for online 8th grade science, anyone?)

We like Monarch for so many reasons. Just to name a couple: my students can each work at their own pace, and now that I needed to check where we are on school work, I was able to pick their last day, and reschedule all remaining lessons.

If Mr. T continues to work at the pace he has been working (six Monarch lessons a day), he can finish school by May first (yay!). If Missy, Mr. D and Mr. A work at the five to six Monarch lessons a day pace, they should be able to finish school by mid-June.

If Mr. T finishes that early, I am thinking he could pick an elective (possibly high school level?) he is interested in, and work on that while his siblings work on Monarch. Or maybe I'll have him work with Little Miss on reading skills ;-) Missy has been helping me do Kindergarten with Little Miss this past month, which has been a huge help.

Another nice thing about Monarch is that as a teacher (and admin) I can go and remove extra projects, and even review lessons if I think they are not necessary. Quite honestly I will probably need to go do that before we are done with 7th grade.

Fortunately we are finished with our extra curriculum activities, and don't plan to do spring sports this year because of our traveling schedule, which will help us complete our remaining school lessons. Missy did both tap dance and jazz dance this year, and loved both. We had the dance recital this past weekend, so we are all done with that. (It was beautiful, Missy did a wonderful job!) We are finished with skiing, also. We didn't schedule other activities, since up here in Maine our kids stay very busy with all the snow activities, plus our selection is somewhat limited:)

Picnik collage

We are planning to be back in Florida this fall, and there we have trouble limiting our activities as so much is offered. Our favorite is definitely homeschool co-op at church - so many wonderful classes to choose from! The boys are looking forward to Forensics Lab, Outdoor Adventures, or Rocket Science classes, and being with friends, too. Missy loves their art and sign language classes, and this coming year Little Miss can join in, also - for first grade! So exciting.

I can't believe I'm looking at starting our fourth homeschool year in the fall. I'm sure anyone who knew me a few years ago can't believe it either ;-)


* A random list of our Kindergarten activities:

- Atelier Art with Missy
- Mrs. Brown's Art
- Library visits (wherever we are)
- Weekly K-2 Library Club up North
- Reading books daily: (favorites: Berenstain Bears series & Mercy Watson series)
- Going through book: What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know
- Sunday School at church (wherever we are)
- Explode the Code online (not a favorite for Little Miss)
- PE our daily walks + almost weekly hikes in the fall
- Winter PE: sledding, playing in the snow, skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling
- Learning to ride a bike
- Our school workbooks
- Playdough
- Various puzzles at Aunt S', including patterns, short words, maps
- Alphabet stamps
- Paper dolls (cutting)
- Cooking and baking (math, measuring)
- Field trips & travels

Linking this post to Hip Homeschool Hop.


  1. It's great that your oldest kids can work at their own pace! I am finding that on-line curriculum might be a good fit for my youngest. The oldest doesn't care for it, the middle can take it or leaveit, but I'm doing Time4Learning with the youngest and just finished up a trial of Reading Eggs and he's enjoying them!

  2. Thanks for all the resources to look up. I was thinking if trying apologia this year for us, thanks for your opinion. Best wishes!

  3. Wow, 4 years!?!?! Where does the time go? =)

  4. Oops, I hit publish before I told you how beautiful big sister is! I bet she did a wonderful job at the recital!

  5. I haven't used much online curriculum. I'll have to take a look at monarch. My oldest will be moving into fourth grade next year, so he might be ready for more online work. Currently, it's been mostly hands-on projects and reading. Thanks for the recommendation.

    We also head to Florida every fall. No crowds, better prices and great family learning time for all of us.

    And I seriously want that crayola set in the pictures. Fabulous!

  6. Jessy, Little Miss loves school on the computer, too, but I've found her attention span is just about the length of the free trials. I bought her membership to Explode the Code, which was a mistake - she loved it for two weeks, and haven't wanted to do it since. Oh well:)

    mountain mama, the apologia book is excellent! Just not a good fit for us..

    Bethany, I know!! We are on our 3rd year.. Wild. And thank you - I think she is so beautiful, too<3

    jeannine, Monarch is a great fit for us, mainly because I'm not homeschool mom material:) and since we travel so much we don't need to bring a ton of schoolwork, just our computers. Plus our kids are computer nerds, just like mom & dad:)

  7. Thanks for sharing your resources, we can all benefit from your experience. :) Can't wait to try Mrs. Brown's art samples.

  8. Is it so long ago You bagan wit this home schooling. I am surprised and in amaze. Well done, good job, amazing indeed. I take my hat off and bow.

  9. Cool that you left a comment! To bad we missed each other - again, the past weekend. But I understand, family visits take time, plus we were traveling with a friend couple. That said, we'd love to come visit you later this year. We'll surely be back in beautiful Maine!

  10. It looks like this has been a fantastic year for your family. I have read a little about Monarch, and am wondering if you found any bothersome glitches or problems despite your overall love for the program? I used Switched on Schoolhouse with my niece a few years ago and we couldn't get past how many glitches it had, and sometimes it felt incomplete. How would you say Monarch compares in those aspects?

  11. Claire, we've done quite a few of the art projects. So much fun!

    Thank you, Jutta. It has been quite the adventure for our family, challenging but so rewarding!

    Be Inspired, we were there again this past weekend:) We'll meet one day!

    Malea, there are occasional glitches and problems, but they really don't bother us. The kids let me know there is an issue, and move on. My homeschool experience has just been SOS and Monarch (+ kindergarten stuff), so it's hard for me to compare it to other curricula. It's too bad AOP doesn't let you demo Monarch for a week or something to see how you would like it. My recommendation is to buy one of the electives to try, maybe even over the summer. Just keep in mind on some of the electives you, as a teacher, have to grade more than in the 'regular' subjects. For example three of my students are taking Family & Consumer Science (an awesome subject on life skills!), and the computer grades maybe 10% of the questions, I have to grade the rest, whereas on Science I would grade maybe 10% of the problems, and the computer does the rest. (I'm not sure what the percentage really is, I'm just guessing here:) Let me know if you have any questions!

  12. Hi there! It was so nice to meet you this past weekend. I was doing a search and to my surprise and delight found your blog. I just had to leave you a little message. Have a wonderful summer!

  13. Martie, it was SO wonderful to meet you, and I'm glad you found our blog:) I hope you have a great summer, too!

  14. Thank you for your feedback regarding Monarch. I just purchased it for next year in the fall. I was a little nervous becuase I see a lot of negative reviews. I have a 5th grader, so I'm excited to try it out for ourselves.

  15. Julia, I hope it will work for you and your 5th grader as well as it has worked out for us. Good luck!!