Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Summer School?

Yes, we are doing school through the summer - not every day, not even every week, but often enough. Some days the kids just do reading and math, and some days we do Bible, Science and History as well.

I had hoped to do a leaf study this summer, but that hasn't happened yet. There's still time! Unlike some southern homeschoolers, we won't begin our new school year until after Labor Day. :-)

For Bible this summer, we have switched gears and are taking a break from the Bible Study Guide for All Ages. I found a cool book that illustrates Biblical concepts using science information. It's called Our Place in Space and 59 More Ways to See God Through His Creation. For instance, yesterday's lesson was about concave & convex mirrors and how the shape affects the light. The Bible lesson was about how we should not depend on what we look like in a mirror, but rely on the fact that God loves us just as we are.

Additionally, I am reading aloud to the kids Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends: How to Fight the Good Fight at Home by Sarah, Stephen and Grace Mally. This is part of our Bible study also. This book is obviously about sibling relationships, but more widely also about family relationships in general. There is lots of good Bible teaching mixed in with clever anecdotes about the Mally family.

The kids are continuing in Math-U-See through the summer. David is working in Zeta, learning decimals and percents. Emily continues working hard in Beta. She now knows how to CARRY without any problem! Man, that was a struggle back in the spring. James is working on subtraction in Alpha. He's only 9 lessons from the end of the book, so good thing I bought Beta for him to begin.

Reading is the other thing we are focusing on. They read every day. I am not much for formal reading instruction. I love to read, and I didn't learn THAT at school. But plenty of kids learn to HATE reading at school. So why would I do it the way they do it in public schools? Or Christian schools for that matter? My kids just read, sometimes what they want and sometimes something I have chosen for them. We talk about the reading, and that's that. David has moved into the realm of book reports this past year, but we aren't doing that this summer.

James is working in Explode the Code book 2 off and on. He is doing well with that. I am also signing out short vowel phonics readers from the library, so he can read those for the library program and get reading practice at the same time.

Emily is reading chapter books, short ones and longer ones. She also likes to read American Girl magazine, which she gets from the library. David is reading almost exclusively Star Wars novels and comic books like Calvin and Hobbes and Foxtrot. Some of the SW novels are juvenile level and some are from the regular fiction section at the library.

His reading level tests at 8th grade level when I gave him an informal evaluation this spring. Emily tested at a 7th grade reading level on the same evaluation. I don't put a lot of stock in tests. I already knew they were good readers. They are also quite good at comprehension, although the test didn't cover that aspect.

Some days we do Mystery of History, but not very often, as I want to just be about halfway through the book when we start our formal school year on Sept 5th. We are nearly there now.

James and Suzy had Field School at the Nature Center. David had his Star Wars field trip to the Columbus COSI science museum. I plan swimming lessons for the 3 youngest starting August 7, if I can gather up enough cash AND if there is still room in their lessons. I dare not call and reserve a spot until I have the money. Hopefully after our yard sale this weekend.

So, anyway, that's our summer schooling!