Sunday, September 23, 2007

So far, so good!

The uncertainty and stress continues in our life, with dh still unemployed and our financial situation rapidly deteriorating. (Though dh is VERY busy as he looks for work - with all the people he's talking to I have to believe something's going to come through soon.)

But, despite all that, we've gotten off to our best start ever here at Aquinas Academy! We began everything slowly, and I really think it's been to our benefit. I realized, with all the extra stress, things would never be perfect - so I relaxed and resolved to just do the best I could with the situation and materials I'd been given. Anyone who knows me well knows what a leap that was for me, lol!

At some point this week, I hope to list all of our materials, our routines, just to get it all down on "paper" for my own records. But for now, here's an overview of how the guys are doing...

J1 continues to do quite well. He's flying through pre-Algebra, I'm actually thinking about letting him accelerate a bit more. It can be hard to know when to let him push ahead and when to hold him back a bit. We'll see how next week goes, how he's feeling, and decide from there. Teaching a gifted child is such an intricate dance! He's doing pretty good in grammar, and he's really having fun and doing well in the writing assignments I've given him! We've started slowly in history, though it's still one of J1's favorite subjects and he's itching to fly. Sometimes I think I should just give him free reign in history, see what he does with it. Something to consider, definitely. He's loving his science this year, though convincing him to write neat, comprehensive lab reports is kind of a challenge. That's ok - he is just 10, after all! He's also suddenly doing really, really well in his piano lessons. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to look for an outside teacher next year - he really enjoys it, and is quite good. That's really fun for me, too, music geek that I am!

A2 is doing really, really well. Unlike his brothers, school doesn't seem to come "naturally" to him, he's a visual learner and slow to mature. But I can see a glimmer - he's finally starting to get it, he really is. He's really willing to try and work, and I just can't even begin to tell you how pleased I am with his progress so far this year. He's about 1/2 way through 100 EZ lessons, and he's finally, finally starting to really read. He isn't fluent yet, but he's actually reading the stories in 100EZ lessons with very, very little prompting from me - it is just so neat to see the light dawn with him! We've started Math-U-See with both him and S3, and at first I was concerned. A2 just didn't seem to "get" it, and given that MUS is supposed to be one of the best programs out there for visual learners, I was concerned. But, it took just two days for him to figure out what the program was asking of him, and now he's taking off. I'm so proud of him!

S3 is amazing - he just flies through his work. He is getting started on 100EZ lessons and is pretty bored - I wish I could figure out how to accelerate through that book a bit. He's almost figured out reading all on his own, he just has to make the connection between what he already knows and "sounding out" the words. Once decoding 'clicks' with S3, he'll be reading fluently - he is SO close. He LOVES Math-U-See, thinks it's the most fun thing ever and gets each lessons right away. School seems to come easily to S3, and it's great to watch him grow.

N4 is right in the thick of things - even though he's technically not even in Kindergarten yet, he's well able to handle K work and he's blazing through basic math, handwriting, and phonics. I'm about to try to start him on 100EZ lessons, because I think he might be ready. Again, school comes easily to him. He just LOVES to sit with me and work on things - he would spend hours working with me if I had the time!

We haven't really gotten off the ground with history yet, I'm tossing around some ideas in that regard - mostly that involve letting the kids just follow their interests and using a big time line to tie everything together. I'll keep you posted on what I decide - no matter what, it promises to be another great adventure!

Really, everything's going well. We have a nice, relaxed rhythm to our days, and life, despite it's stresses, is Good!

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