Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with the end of another school year

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Weekly Wrap-Up

Happy Friday, y’all! Guess what? We’re finished with the 2015-2016 school year! Woo hoo! Let summer break begin and let all learning come to a grinding halt! I’m kidding. Mostly.

I do feel like we kind of fizzled out toward the end this year. I mean, everyone was still working, but there was very much a sense of just checking off boxes. Megan admitted that she is more a fan of the independence that using workbooks allows than the workbooks themselves.

I was feeling that way, too – that everyone was really just disinterested in what we were doing. I gave the kids this nifty homeschool student survey. Based on that and the feelings I’ve been having about it, I really want to make some changes for next year.

I mentioned that we were leaning toward a more interest-led approach, but I’m really worried that that’s not going to look in actuality like it does it my head. I don’t want to spend part of Josh’s 11th grade year and part of Megan’s 9th grade year floundering around, so I’m making a list of possible topic ideas and sources for covering those.

math lesson

This made us laugh. Teaching Textbooks usually puts a note in the top right corner of the screen telling you in which lesson a concept was first taught in case you need to look back over how to do it. According to this note, this concept was first taught in Lesson 117. The lesson being worked on here was 115. I guess you have to skip two lessons ahead if you need help with this one (which no one did).

For example, the girls and I have always been really interested in astronomy (I think Josh is only interested in music and cars). After reading a post from Hip Homeschool Moms about using the calendar to study astronomy, I’m seriously considering purchasing the Apologia astronomy course and a good (or, at least decent) telescope so we can do astronomy for science next year.

I know the course is only supposed to cover up to 6th grade, but Apologia has a reputation for really meaty, rigorous science courses. The basics of astronomy are the same no matter the age of the student, so I’m thinking I could beef it up a bit with additional reading assignments and videos.

I also really loved the idea of pairing an astronomy study with a study of Greek and Roman mythology, which has always been a favorite of mine and which captured Megan’s interest this year, too.

I also really loved an article about how we use high school essay styles in real life. I really think it helps kids to see how they’re really going to use what they’re learning, so I was thinking of using that as a guide and WriteShop as my spine to cover each of those writing styles in practical, real-life ways. I’m also thinking of using the weekly writing prompts from WriteShop for variety.

I’m also looking forward to getting back to our ASL course and Dave Ramsey’s personal finance course. We kind of dropped the ball on both of those this year. I’m also super-excited to start A Noble Experiment from Zeezok Publishing now that Megan and Josh will both be in high school.

word nerd

This sweet-tea-lovin’ word nerd was prepared to wait for Megan and a friend at their Bible study Tuesday night. It did make me feel kind of old to discover that the word find books were only available in large print. {ahem}

Don’t I sound just like a homeschool mom? I’m so excited that this year is over, but I’m already looking forward to next year. We’re such a weird bunch. Of course, right now I’m just looking forward to the possibilities of next year. I’m in no way ready to jump into it yet. I’m looking forward to our summer break – which may be 6 weeks or until August. The kids are sill on the fence about whether they want to continue our year round schedule or have a more traditional school schedule next year.

Are you wrapping up your school year? Are you already excited about next year?

In case you missed it this week, head on over to About.com and check out this week’s post, Should My Homeschooler Take the SAT or ACT?

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  1. Each year we become more and more interest led learning, and I just love what I am learning about the children through it. And even better, they are learning heaps about themselves too. I’d encourage you to go for it…you’ll never look back 🙂

    1. I think it’s too late for us. You’ve been working in that direction for so long. Mine really prefer some direction from me. I’m hoping to take some of the things they have expressed an interest in and point them in the right direction. I still want to get a lot of input from them and brainstorm together how they can pursue it, then hand it over to them.

  2. Kris, check out Masterbooks. My 10th grader studied their astronomy course this year and we thought it was perfect! Not too heavy or too light and worth 1 full credit. We loved the Dvds that came with it as well!

  3. I was so excited to take Astronomy in college. We ended up only going to the observatory once and the rest was all working physics problems. Uugghh. Your version sounds much better!

    1. HAHA! Melissa and I must have taken the same class. I, too, thought ooooh, astronomy! One trip to observatory and the rest math/physics and confusion.

      Get an app like The Night Sky or similar where you can hold it up to the … night sky … and it will tell you what you’re seeing. Pretty slick. Follow NASA and related agencies/people on social media to keep up with the latest news and amazing photos and viewing opportunities. Have you seen Mars lately? Pretty awesome, and I knew about it because of social media! ALSO are you in the path or close to it for the total solar eclipse coming August 2017? These things are so rare, and it’s going to be worth attending.

  4. Congrats on wrapping up your homeschool year, Kris! That is funny how the math lesson had to have you skip 2 lessons ahead. I have heard amazing things about Apologia! It sounds like you all have fun summer plans and homeschool plans for next year! I think we are going to transition to a lighter homeschool schedule for the summer so we can enjoy the sun and fun. Thanks so much for hosting! Hope you have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  5. Thanks for the shout out in your post. Glad you found something help in the writing post. Have you seen the entire 31-day series on writing? We posted many great tips for all ages in that series. You may also want to check out our Writing Well Wednesday series on our blog.

  6. I thought I was the only one that was glad to wrap up the school year, but ready to start another one. We start ninth grade next school year (July). I think I have finally found the way of Science and History. We’ll see! Hope your year went great!

    1. Having used it, do you think it could form the spine for a high school course with some supplementing or do you think it would still be too light for teens?

      1. As I’m not to the stage of high schoolers, I have a hard time knowing 100%. However, I do think that if you are willing to dig a little deeper it would be possible to use it for high school. I know that there was a lot that my girls didn’t retain in the study.

        1. Thanks. I’m hoping to take a look at it at a homeschool convention soon. I’m thinking that the basics are the basics for any age, so some work on my part could probably bring it up to a respectable high school level. We’ll see.

  7. Oh, we did Apologia Astronomy one semester last year! I even did a blog post about all the stuff we added to it as enrichments! It was fun.

    And yes, I’m so over this school year and excited about next school year all at the same time, lol.

  8. Oh, and I meant to add that my 7-year-old is such an astronomy buff, that I cannot find elementary resources for him that would actually work. We took a look at the sample for Apologia, and he was like…are you kidding me, I know all of this, it is too basic. Next!

    I grabbed a unit study from I think Intelligo? It was a freebie during the HSBC Mother’s Day thing. I hope it will help me find relevant online links faster and in a more cohesive way. We’ve been watching various astronomy-related DVDs, streaming stuff and the sort. We also were fortunate enough to visit Kennedy Space Center a few weeks ago. Best field trip of the year! 😀

    I would suggest looking into area astronomy clubs. Not to necessarily join, but they often have sky-watching events open to the public and will gladly share binoculars and their fancy telescopes. I think binoculars can provide a better bang for the buck than a low-level telescope. I’m not willing at this point to spend $$$$ on a telescope, given we can attend astronomy nights and borrow, and given that we have terrible light pollution where we live anyway. Some areas also will have observatories that might be worth your while.

    Have fun!

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