Friday, February 02, 2007

Term II for J1

J1's in a major acceleration mode right now. Keeping up with him and what he needs is suddenly a major challenge for me! Here's what we've got so far...

Religion: We're continuing with 4th grade Faith and Life, and the Baltimore Catechism. He reads one chapter of the Baltimore Catechism each week, and one night during dinner we review, discuss, and quiz. We're big into dinner table school here at the AAA house! He is, very reluctantly, continuing to narrate each chapter of Faith and Life. He really despises narration (though he does quite well), and it's really the only thing I'm making him do this term that he doesn't really want to do. I did offer him a choice - either write a narration each week, or I'll look into some other kind of writing program, and maybe additional grammar instruction. He's chosen to keep doing the narrations, and I'm letting him complain about it a bit! :-) Finally, J1, me, and dh are going to read 2 chapters of the Acts of the Apostles each week, and discuss it on Sunday afternoons. I'm looking forward to that, myself!

Math: This is where the acceleration is happening big-time. He really struggled with careless mistakes as he finished up the Saxon 5/4 book, and I came to realize that he was just hopelessly bored. So, after much thought and discussion, we skipped Saxon 6/5 and went directly to Saxon 7/6. On Monday, he completed lesson 1, and did quite well. On Tuesday, he was assigned the second lesson, and after reading it over, he came to me, saying that he really already knew this stuff, and could he skip ahead? I was a bit suprised, but, well, why not? So we sat down and went through the book, talking about what he knows and what he might need to cover (he hadn't really been exposed to the "order of operations" concept, so he did that lesson, for example.) I've assigned him a few problems to make sure he *really* knows the lessons that we skipped, and he's done really well all week. Next week he'll start lesson 20. I'm beginning to suspect that we'll skip ahead a bit throughout this book, and I won't be surprised if he's ready to start Saxon 8/7, or possibly even Saxon Algebra 1/2 (pre-algebra) next fall. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, as I thought I'd have a bit more time before he started upper level maths! Now, at some point he will probably hit a wall, and perhaps even need to take a break from math for awhile - that's just how his brain seems to work. He needs lots more input, more information, more challenge, for a year or two, then he just sort of locks up, and needs time to process it all, apparently. He'll start back in at a normal pace after awhile, and then 6-12 months later will start flying again. I find it fascinating to watch how he learns!

Latin/spelling/grammmar: This is another area where we're accelerating rapidly. J1 was just completely bored with Latina Christiana, and dh and I debated heavily over what to do instead. We decided to start Henle Latin, a high-school Latin program. Dh and I would learn it with J1, and we'd go slowly if neccessary. Monday evening, we started out, and I was a bit concerned. J1 was completely and utterly confused. Genitive singular? Nominative? Direct objects? I worried that perhaps he just didn't have the grammar background to do this, and maybe my plan to incorporate grammar into our Latin study wasn't a good idea. J1, dh and I all agreed that we'd keep at it for at least a couple of weeks. The worst that would happen was we'd put Henle aside for a year or two - just no big deal. The next night, I had a homeschool moms winter tea to attend, so dh worked with J1 after dinner. Apparently, the light dawned, and J1 understood what this whole "declension" thing was all about, and now he's very excited to keep going. I do think it will be a challenge for him, but I also think it's going to be a good thing. Oh, and I'm using the derivative words for each lesson as our spelling/vocabularly words for the week. He got 100% on his spelling test yesterday - words like "glorious" and "sylvan" and "Pennsylvania". I definitely think this is going to work!

Science: We're starting our unit on Nutrition, using CHC's "My Temple of the Holy Spirit" and Janice VanCleave's "Food and Nutrition for Every Kid". I really like "My Temple of the Holy Spirit", part of CHC's 4th grade lesson plans, because it is truly faith-filled, and very pro-life. The first section of it is about human anatomy (and is completely age-appropriate, which can be hard to find!), which we completed before Christmas. The second section is about nutrition. J1 is a bit disappointed, because he has indicated he "knows all this stuff" already. I told him he could read ahead as much as he wanted, and whenever he was done with the readings we would do some experiements. We'll keep track of everything he eats one day, analyze it nutritionally, see what we find and how we can improve. Then, we'll design a menu one day that is complete, nutritionally, and he can compare how he feels after different meals. We'll talk about exercise, and calories, and how it relates to weight and health. J1 tends toward carrying too much weight, but he's also very agreeable to dietary changes and wants to be healthy, so I think this will be good for him. After we've completed our unit on nutrition, he'll start a unit on survival skills and first aid, with a book on the history of medicine thrown in. He's excited about that!

History: We're taking a couple extra weeks to continue studying the Civil War. Dh has found a map of local area battles, and next week we're going to visit a few historical markers, take some pictures, maybe make our own map of where battles occurred around our home. We're watching "Gods and Generals", "Gettysburg", and Ken Burns' Civil War to round out our studies. After next week we'll continue our study of post-Civil War America.

Geography: As part of our American History studies, we're also studying American Geography. J1 will memorize the states and capitals, and be able to locate all the states on a map. He'll also learn a bit about each state and region, using CHC's Catholic Geography Bee book.

Handwriting: Continuing with Seton 4 Handwriting. I love this series, because it incorporates such lovely artwork and copywork of very faith-filled passages.

Art/Music: J1 is continuing his piano lessons, and doing quite well. Right now I'm teaching him myself, using "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" and we'll move into the next book soon. Our art study includes Seton's handwriting book, and CHC's Learning to Appreciate Art. J1 really likes art history, and we might have to continue our studies next year. Actual art, as in drawing, etc, is much more difficult - for J1 *and* myself! It's definitely one of our weak points.

Reading: J1 continues to be a voracious reader. Since Christmas, he's read 6 more RedWall books. He's only got 3 books left in the series, and I'll probably let him finish it before I nudge him back into reading more of Sonlight's American History book list.

This term, I've minimized busy work/work book type things. I've tried to let J1 move ahead in areas where he needs to, and/or wants to, and I've tried to combine some subjects to improve our efficiency. So far, one week into it, things are going well. I'll keep you posted!

No comments: