Thursday, January 06, 2011

School's in for Winter!!!

We are rapidly getting back in the swing of things, and hitting the books hard.   Testing was completed and  we were thrilled with the girls' results, as they are showing enormous progress in every subject.  Angela tested at 5th grade level reading and 80 words a minute with no help at all!  Cna you believe it?  Of course, we are building vocabulary like crazy and we have a long way to go in that area, but that just takes repetition and exposure, and will not happen overnight but over the course of the next several years.  Olesya also showed marked improvement, testing around early 4th grade but a slower 45 words per minute which is about where I would expect her to be after 3 years of school total and 10 months of English exposure...actually, that is far more than I would expect :-)

Kenny was very anxious about his reading test, wanting to see a huge improvement as he feels he has really made some gains.  I had no idea where he would sit but assured him that we were making progress no matter what the test showed.  While his reading comprehension remained at 5th grade, his reading fluency did take a humongous leap!  Since the end of August, he has more than doubled his reading speed, going from 45 words per minute to 95!!!  While that is still far slower than I'd like to see a 12 year old reading, it is tremendous progress for him and I give all the credit to our dear long distance friend and blog commenter, Peggy, who sent us the Reading A-Z mysteries that Kenny discovered and devoured.  It made all the difference in the world to find something he really loved reading and to have a treasure trove of selections to read.

So testing is now behind us and we can get back to learning rather than evaluating!  We had a lot of fun the past couple of days as I opened our new semester with a little surprise...all the Usborne books we earned/purchased with our sales and discounts.  I told the kids I had a "small" surprise, as I didn't want them thinking it was something really cool, but when I brought out the box of books their faces lit up so much that you would have thought I had given them tickets to Disneyworld!  It was a great way to start the second half of our year and they were very excited.  I was able to get a great selection of material, everything from The World of Spies to Knights to Dog Stories to the Titanic!  Thanks to all who purchased books from us to allow us to get this wonderful library.  As you can see, they will be enjoyed for a long time to come!:

This image captures what I love most about homeschooling!!

We also checked out Olesya's rock tumbler and saw the results after just one week...erosion had done it's work already and there was a significant difference in the stones.  We are anxious to see the results after week 2.

We also started a new curriculum for history from .  I wasn't sure about this, about how engaging it would be for the kids but I have been pleasently surprised to find they LOVE this and we spent 2 full hours on it this morning without even looking at the clock.  We are doing one for 7-8 year is far more rigorous than anything I have ever seen for 7 and 8 year olds as lesson 2 included the introduction of Herodotus and Confucious as it discussed exactly what history is.

The kids were shown photos of cave drawings and ancient Egyptian artwork and were asked to explain what they could discern about the lives of the people who drew them and what was it that they thought those ancient people's were trying to tell us.  Then they had to create drawings themselves about the history of their own lives, making something that might explain what their lives were like if others were to view it.  Can I tell you how funny it was to see airplanes as part of the life story drawings  of each of our kids?  A couple were even labeled "Lufthansa"...such different life stories than most children have to share.

That's about all that is going on around here, nothing of much interest to anyone, I am sure.  Just getting back into routines and enjoying the peace that abounds.  Sorry there is nothing to share that any of you really want to read!



Anonymous said...

Has Kenny tried the Tree House books series yet? There are a ton of them and they might appeal, too. They take place in different periods of history and various countries around the world...too simple for Matt and Angela, but good for Kenny, Olesya and Josh, I would think. Our kiddo is devouring them one after another.


Anonymous said...

I love reading your updates!
Happy schooling :-)
Teresa F

Anonymous said...

Please don't denigrate your blog. We wouldn't be reading it if we weren't interested.

Congratulations on your "test scores". They are only one measure of what kids can do. I hope they reinforce for you and each child that your hard work, laughter, and curiosity are paying off in bright, seeking children.

Way to go Team LaJoy,

Unknown said...

Have you done any lessons on zoology? My five year old is extremely interested in animals. I thought you might be able to point the way to some good websites or lessons on the subject. He is only five, but really anything up to about a 2nd or 3rd grade level would probably be ok for him.

I think you do such a fantastic job of finding interesting ways for your kids to learn. You are doing an amazing job!

4texans said...

Love the picture of Joshua (I think that's the one) lying on the bed reading. He looked relaxed! I just love following your journey.