August 19, 2015

A Wrapup of our First Homeschool Year

Since our first year of homeschooling has come to a close, and we are weeks away from starting our second, I thought I'd give a little update on how things went:

We had a great year of Kindergarten, and Mollie learned and grew so much!

She finished Hooked on Phonics' Kindergarten level, and moved on to the 1st grade level a few months ago. Her reading has improved so much since we started. This summer she participated in the summer reading program at our library. Because she's 6 now, we had to keep track of how many pages she read on her own, instead of how many books I read to her. I was a little nervous that she'd get discouraged, because each week she had to read 100 pages. That is still a lot for her! She has totally proved me wrong though. I also was pleasantly surprised to see a huge improvement in her reading fluency, too! The final prize of tickets to the county fair was a huge motivation for her, and the weekly McDonald's ice cream prizes didn't hurt either ;)

We started the year using Saxon Math K curriculum, and chugged along for a few months, but it wasn't the right fit. I liked the calendar work that we did at the beginning of every lesson, and it really helped Mollie get a grasp on how time/days work. I liked the hands-on nature of the lessons. It was all hands-on, no workbooks, but it moved very slow and seemed to be more of a preschool than kindergarten level. While I looked for alternatives, I bought the Brainquest 1st grade workbook, and Mollie worked through all of the math sections in it, which included "math skills, addition and subtraction, shapes and measurement, & time and money". She loved it and really got a great grasp on so many new concepts. I loved that we could still use our manipulatives to supplement the lessons. The abacus and Cuisenaire rods are perfect for showing addition and subtraction in a concrete way. I was looking for an actual curriculum that was along the same lines, and decided on Singapore math. We ended the year working through the first few sections of the first grade curriculum (I found the best price on Ebay). So far, so good!

We did a few unit studies throughout the year that I pieced together (using Pinterest activities and free printable from Teachers Pay Teachers), mostly centered around the seasons. We also did a few unit studies from Five in a Row, Volume 1., learning social studies, geography, language arts, math, art, and science through classic children's books.

Each week, we went to story time at the library. We are blessed with an excellent children's library, and librarians who put a lot of effort into providing quality programs for the kids!

Mollie also attended several classes at our weekly homeschool co-op, which has been great for all of us:

-Little Learners: a class for preschool & kindergarten age kids, where they learned about a variety of subjects, all based around a letter each week. She learned a lot of songs, games, and memory verses, and brought home a ton of artwork and craft projects. At the end of the year program, the class recited the Lord's Prayer along with the sign language motions.

-Ballet & Jazz: A very talented ballet teacher teaches dance classes for all ages at our co-op. I couldn't have asked for a better dance program for her. Her teacher is an awesome godly role model, and I was super impressed with how much she learned.

So there you have it; a round-up of our first homeschool year!

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