Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Educational Report: 2014 in Review

This week, I've been packing up & organizing our educational papers & planning for 2015 because we begin our new year of educational pursuits in January (vs the typical school schedule of starting in the fall). It's never a hard break, as we educate year around & keep going once we "finish" something. But it's nice to put away papers & get new supplies out. I tend to be pessimistic by nature (I'm working to change that), so it's always so refreshing to look back & see all we've accomplished! It's also a good time to assess what needs adapting/changing.

2014 wasn't the year I planned out on paper. It never is. :) We faced trials that I never would have chosen to go through but God knew we needed. There was more resting in interrupted plans- more trusting that the children's education would thrive even if I failed at teaching. Less trusting curriculum while at the same time using it. We were busy. I mean BUSY!!! I did have some freak-out moments in the fall when I wondered HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO DO THIS ALL? But then I remembered I wouldn't & we would be okay. :)

I've enjoyed having the educational reports to look back on so I plan on keeping up the series in 2015. And maybe I'll even be more consistent! ;) I'm not sure if anyone reads them beyond me but it helps me to see what we've done. Here's a summary of 2014:

Trips: Definitely, our trip to the local monastery while studying medieval time period was a highlight of the year (you can see more pictures here):

Of course, we visited the zoo & aquarium several times, which always provides for opportunities for nature journals. Patricia & I went to see MacBeth at the Shakespeare Tavern- it was wonderful!

Covenant Classes: this past fall, we began attending our first co-op at our church. Adjusting our schedule at home proved to be very difficult but we finally got into a groove. Patricia is taking a literature analysis class (with lots of writing, some presentations & memory work), Benjamin & Matthias are taking a Latin class, and Jonathan & Elizabeth are taking a geography class. All of the children take a Bible class taught by our Pastor- it has a huge emphasis on Bible memory. The quality of teaching & subject matter has far exceeded my expectations. Eric & I are so grateful to these fellow parents & our elders/pastor for coming alongside us to help us educate our children! Classes continue through May! :)

Reading Aloud: :( This is definitely an area that needs attention in 2015! We've been listening to Sarah's Read-Aloud Revival podcasts (I'd recommend episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6) as we drive to piano for inspiration. This year we read aloud the following: Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Father Brown Reader adapted by Nancy Carpentier Brown, Sebastian Bach: the Boy from Thuringia by Opal Wheeler & Sybil Deucher, and The Racketty-Packetty House by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Memory Time: This started strong but waxed through the year. It's another area of focus for 2015. But as I looked back at our year, I was pleasantly surprised at home much we did memorize- we just need to work on a contestant time to meet together. A list of Scripture memory: Genesis 3:14-19;Genesis 9:8-16; Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15:5-6; Genesis 49:8-12; Deuteronomy 18:15-18; 1 Kings 8:56; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; John 3:16; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 2 Corinthians 1:20. They all memorized several catechisms but not enough- we will need to refocus on that in 2015! Poems memorized: What I Live For (Anonymous), My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, There Was An Old Person Whose Habits by Edward Lear. We memorized history & science sentences from Classical Conversations- 5 each - as well as a few grammar & Latin jingles. Patricia & Benjamin memorized the introduction to Declaration of Independence, as well as it's Preamble. Patricia also memorized 5 selections for her literary analysis class.

We began memorizing Shakespeare after listening to this podcast. Beyond joining the co-op & using PAL for Jonathan & Elizabeth, this is my favorite thing we added into our educational pursuits. The idea never appealed to me before & sounded so intimidating. Now I wish we had done if from the beginning! I highly recommend getting a copy of this book: How to Teach your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig.

History: Patricia completed Gileskirk's Christendom in July & began studying American Culture in August. Benjamin joined us in our American Culture studies. We've made it through the first semester- I went easy on them & required no midterm. (SHOCKING!!!) They will take the final. ;) This humanities course is much more than just "history" - Eric and I are grateful for all that we are learning & the conversations we are having as we study this course. It's A LOT of work but it's worth all the effort!!!

The younger children studied about the Revolutionary War War for Independence this past year but I haven't been consistent with their lapbook. I'm hoping to finish it up in 2015. No pressure though- our children are constantly reading & listening to lectures about history, as well as doing narrations. I've seen the beauty of starting slow & finishing strong as I watch Patricia & Benjamin take on heavier study loads & flourish. :)

Science: Patricia & Benjamin studied Science from Apologia & they've enjoyed it. We didn't finish it so we will keep plugging along next year. The younger children went through several of Answer in Genesis books: The World of Animals and The World of Plants. We are close to finishing The Human Body.Narration & experiments, along with library books & science sentences committed to memory help flesh it all out. The children added to their nature journals on their own but I'd like to add more concentrated time to that in 2015.

Math: I continue to use & love Singapore Standards & Calculadder. I'm thrilled with Patricia's progress especially. All of the children completed several levels.

Language Arts: We focused on a lot more writing in 2014 but not a lot more curriculum. It was great! Copywork, narration & dictation. The basics have been refreshing. We will continue this in the new year & continue to finish Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course Level A for the older boys. Patricia focused on writing for her literary analysis course & history. It's been exciting to see her do so well! The children continue to work through their spelling & Fix-It. Patricia completed level A of Vocabulary from Classical Roots. Benjamin & Patricia worked through some of Our Mother Tongue for grammar.

2014 was the year Jonathan learned to read- it is a highlight of mothering! To see a child go from struggling & tears to being a bookworm warms my heart. To love The Word one must know how to read well. :) I'm grateful to IEW for their Primary Arts of Language Reading & Writing program. It unlocked doors for Jonathan. I've told Eric that I think Jonathan & Elizabeth had the most thorough phonics training of all our children.

Latin: Benjamin & Matthias completed Latin for Children, Primer A and began Primer B with our co-op. Patricia is close to finishing Latin Alive, Level 1- she's enjoyed all the translating with this series.

Logic: This year, Eric taught Benjamin & Patricia logic using Art of Argument. They have all enjoyed their time together & are eager to begin a new study next week. The younger children used various workbooks but I kind of view it all as for fun vs educational purposes. :)

Art & Music: We continued our piano lessons with our lovely teacher, Miss Brooke. We moved our lessons to every other week due to the long commute but her teaching is worth the drive. :) Abigail was excited to begin lessons this year:

The children to continue to learn several stringed instruments at home: dulcimer, mandolin, psalter, guitar. We are very grateful to our friends (Arendse, V family & the Jacksons) who teach us whenever we visit Texas, as well as meeting with us via Facetime. It's a delight to hear music throughout the day.

We studied about Bach in depth this year, listening to selections for extended periods of time & reading books about his music & life. I'm hoping we can continue with several more musicians this year. as well as try to get in a few more formal art lessons.

It's been a great year! There's areas of needed improvement but I know that things that can't be measured or wrote on a transcript are more important. Areas of training our children to love their God & their fellow men with deep passion. Areas of learning to serve & work hard. Areas of learning to laugh & enjoy life. Areas of learning to rely and rest on God when we go through trials. God has been good! :)


dawn said...

I read them! What a great year and Yay! for Jonathan! Well done :)

Tully Family said...

Thanks, Dawn! :)

Jeanelle said...

Thanks for sharing! I love hearing everyone's progress. As usual, you amaze me with all you do. But your right, more important than academics is our children's souls. Are we making them lovers of Jesus or lovers if the world? You and Eric and all your precious children, lovers of Jesus, delight us.

Tully Family said...

Thanks, Jeanelle! You inspire me!