Monday, November 14, 2011

End of "First Semester" Evaluations

It's the middle of November, and over here at the Stephen home it means the end of our 2011 school work.  I'm going to give a quick evaluation of each of my kids, mostly for my own benefit.
Audrey (2nd Grade)
Reading:  Audrey has improved a LOT in her reading since we started in August.  She still isn't where I'd like her to be, but we're slowly getting there.  I hope to have her successfully  reading chapter books on her own by the end of the year.
Math:  She ROCKS at math, in my opinion.  She has mastered how to add and subtract large numbers even with borrowing and carrying.  I'm VERY proud of her.  My goal is to keep going forward with her math curriculum and try to help her memorize math facts along the way so she doesn't always have to use her fingers.
Handwriting: Her handwriting deteriorated greatly over the summer so I have been having her do an alphabet book to help remind and reinforce her writing skills.  It has helped a lot.  My goal here is to get her doing copywork starting in January and help her improve on formatting and writing her OWN sentences.
Piano:  Great strides are being made here.  I think I may have underestimated her ability and gotten books that were too easy for her.  She's almost done with her second set of books, so I'll have to look and choose more carefully for her third set of books.  She needs more of a challenge than her current books are giving her.

Marissa (Kindergarten)
Reading:  Marissa is doing EXCELLENT in this department.  She is now on lesson 65 in teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons.  I like this curriculum SO much better than what we used with Audrey.  Marissa is already leaps and bounds ahead of where Audrey was half way through kindergarten.  I wish I had been using this curriculum when Audrey learned to read!
Math:  She LOVES to do math.  She doesn't always GET the math but she loves to do the workbook with me.  We have just finished up a unit on addition and subtraction but it hasn't gellled in her head yet.  I plan to work more on helping her understand addition and subtraction more when we get back to work in January.  She IS doing first grade math as opposed to Kindergarten math though, so I figure I've got plenty of time to slow down and help her master things better.
Handwriting:  Marissa is doing the same book as Audrey, but it takes her longer since she is learning how to form and write the letters.  Audrey is just getting review and reinforcement.  She is about half way through her book and doing well.  I can already tell that she has improved in her pencil control since August. 
Piano:  I DID start Marissa this year, but I don't think she's fully ready for it yet.  I've put it on the backburner for now and only give her a lesson when she asks for one.  I think it will be much easier for her if we wait until next fall to really get going.

Trent (Pre K)
ABC's:  We have been working on one letter a week and he does well during the week.  He is still not retaining the letters much right now, but I don't feel any pressure about that.  He's got plenty of time, and right now I feel like it's more about EXPOSING him to all the letters than about him KNOWING all of them.
Numbers:  Trent can recognize the numbers 1,2,and 3.  We're working on expanding that to 5 right now.  We're also working on counting.  He's improved a LOT since August.  My goal is for him to be able to count to 10 and recognize the numbers 1-10 by the end of the year.
Colors and Shapes:  He's great at colors and can recognize about 10 different colors.  Shapes still need work, but we'll get there.  He knows circle, triangle, and star really well. 
Other Skills:  He's getting really good at doing puzzles by himself.  He is learning how to do prewriting worksheets where he follows the lines.  We need to work on cutting skills as he's still pretty shaky with a pair of scissors.  Overall he's doing great for only being 3!

Bree (Bree School)
Each day for Bree school we pick an activity out of a jar to do with her to help her learn and grow.  The activities range from singing songs, learning sign language, playing games like patty cake, and helping her master motor skills like rolling over and reaching for things.  The kids LOVE this part of the day.  My goal with Bree is to train her to do "blanket time."  Blanket time is a time where she will be given ONE toy and expected to stay on her blanket and play with her toy for a certain amount of time.  This is going to take time and lots of work, but it will pay off so much in the years to come!!

Since some of you are probably wondering why I'm talking like this is the end of 2011, that's because for traditional school in our house it IS.  Next week (Thanksgiving week) is a complete holiday week for my kids with no school at all.  Starting November 28th and going to December 24th we will be having "Christmas School."  Christmas School will consist of singing 8+ carols/day, reading Christmas books, studying the story of Jesus' birth, doing a craft/activity every day, and doing a family activitiy each day.  One of the reasons I am glad I chose to homeschool is because I CAN take all of December and focus on the reason for the season!