Semester 1 Review

As I mentioned in my post on homeschool planning for this year, we are trying a new schedule of 6 semesters that are 6 weeks long each. This past Friday we completed semester 1, and are taking the coming week off. As I am fine tuning the plan for semester 2, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what worked and what didn’t.

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What’s not working so well:
1. History fun activities. I have pulled together a list of fun Konos and Pinterest inspired activities to go along with our history lessons. I even planned out ahead of time what activities we would do each week for the whole semester. Where things fell apart was that I didn’t make a master list of items we would need to complete these activities, so we had to skip many of them. This semester I am going to make a master list and gather up all of the non=perishable supplies now. Then I am going to add a list for the week in my planner for the perishables that I need to get at the store. Hopefully this will keep me on track.

2. Schedule consistency. Since both of my kiddos are in middle school this year, I have been giving them a little more leeway in their schedules and assignments. For example, in my daughter’s planner, I have 2 subjects where I give her weekly assignments, and it’s up to her to determine how much to do each day. That’s been working out great, but we have not been consistent with our morning schedules, and that has led to problems. For this next semester, I am going to have them do their daily chore in the morning (previously they did it in the afternoons), and then I am going to spend focused time with each of them on their more challenging subjects. I am setting up a message on my phone to alert people who call me for work that I am unavailable during this time, so that work won’t distract from our focus.

3. Writing. I thought our lessons were going to yield more writing than they have, and I’m not happy with the way that has gone. For this next semester, I am going to add in additional writing assignments that reinforce what we are learning in our IEW program. Note: I don’t believe in writing just for writing’s sake, but I do think practice is important, so I’d like to give them more opportunities to do so – a paragraph at a time.

What’s going well:
1. Auditory spelling. I can’t be more happy with the results I’m seeing with our new spelling program. I plan on writing a full review later this week.

2. Our new book cabinets. I purchased inexpensive cabinets to store our homeschool books and binders in this year, and they are working great. The kids are able to easily access what they need, and I don’t have homeschool flotsam spread all over my kitchen and table.

3. Our history ‘text.’ You can read more about how we are doing American History in this post. The kids have enjoyed The History of Us more than I expected, and they are really learning the material. It’s been exciting to see them truly starting to put events together and understand how this great nation began. I’m looking forward to starting the next book!

For those of you who are a couple weeks in to the new year, what things are working for you?