We’re near the end of our 11th week of school. We finished our first quarter almost 3 weeks ago. So far school is going great.
Fritz and Adrian are both doing great memorizing poems in First Language Lessons. Adrian hears them once and they are in his head permanently. Both boys are planning to pick one of those memorized poems to compete in La Voz this spring with their sister (she was a finalist last year in her age category). Both boys are easily learning grammar. Many people complain about the repetitive nature of First Language Lessons. I like it because it really gets it cemented in their brains. Fritz is doing simple sentence diagrams easily.
Cameron and Fritz are using Susan Wise Bauer’s writing. Writing With Ease for Fritz involves narration twice a week, dictation twice a week, and copywork once a week. He enjoys it a lot and is getting better and better with the dictations. Writing With Style is challenging for Cameron. No surprise since writing isn’t his strong suit. The challenge has been good for him and his writing has improved dramatically in these few weeks. He can figure out how to make a single-level outline mostly on his own now and he can make notes into sentences and paragraphs. He struggles a bit with making notes for narrations himself, but he’s improving.
Fritz is nearly done with level C of Spelling Power (he was halfway through at the beginning of the year). Cameron is coming up on the halfway point of level C. Pretty good since we’re not halfway through the school year yet. It’s amazing to see Cameron actually learning how to spell words and remembering most of them!
Art of Problem Solving has also proven to be a bit of a challenge for Cameron, but he’s getting into the swing of it and is understanding how to deconstruct their puzzle questions. His math skills are improving by leaps and bounds. Sometimes I wonder if he shouldn’t go back to Teaching Textbooks, but the fact is, AoPS is helping his math skills develop and he’s getting a true understanding of the concepts rather than just learning where to plug in what. Beast Academy was a bit challenging for Fritz at first, but now he’s used to it and flying through it. He loves the graphic novel and the storyline.
We’re up to the agricultural revolution in history. The kids, especially Fritz, were fascinated by the advances described in this week’s lesson. I like how Pandia Press pulls from various sources in order to tell the complete story. In chemistry we’re learning about the first two or three elements in each group on the periodic table. We’ve got epsom salts that we dissolved yesterday growing crystals right now. The boys love to check on it to see how it’s changed. I need to be better about reserving books at the library for the boys to go along with both history and chemistry.
I don’t think the boys are enjoying the art, music, and religion lessons very much. But they are learning a lot and that’s really what matters. We’ve discovered that Adrian loves classical music, particular Vivaldi! The boys’ artistic tastes vary wildly so it’s been interesting to hear their reactions to various works.
There are few minor things that we’ve adjusted or dropped and that I might drop or change for next year. But, for the most part, school is going fabulously. It’s been a great year so far!
We loved Spelling Power. It gave my two reluctant spellers the encouragement they needed to progress at their own pace and their own level.