2021-22 Homeschool Midyear Review

I’m sitting in the hospital with Teddy while he recovers from a stomach bug (he’s doing much better), so why not a mid-year homeschool review to make me feel good about all the learning we’ve managed to do up to this point? (With the obligatory affiliate links dropped in at a few spots.)

UPDATE: As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, we’re getting discharged!

The last time a hospital stay interrupted our school year was November 2019, which was also the last time Teddy had a stomach bug. It’s been a good run, but this year after getting in 12 weeks, we took a few weeks off as Teddy underwent and started his recovery from back surgery. We got a few “light” weeks in just before Christmas, but only really got back in our groove after Epiphany. I was thinking about scheduling a break at the end of February, but decided we should plow through until Addie and Byron are both on spring break. I’ve planned numerous field trips to break up the long, cold month of February, but despite still masking in crowds, washing hands, and generally not being around a ton of people, Teddy caught a stomach bug and threw a wrench in my plans. It’s slightly more stressful than usual because Fulton has not been getting all his nursing hours covered, so we don’t reliably have an extra set of hands around to help with his care.

It’s another reminder that we are never in control and there is never a “normal” homeschooling week. And with that lengthy introduction…

Mood.

Byron

His fall classes at the community college went well. He’s only taking two more this spring, and he’s also taking an online financial literacy course that Addie also took. (It’s free and very thorough; I highly recommend it.) He got his first college acceptance letter from John Paul the Great Catholic University. He’s waiting to hear from a few others before making a final decision.

Edith

Edie got to take one Time4Writing Course before the platform discontinued its program. So, for this semester, she’s taking a similar course from Write At Home.

Everything else is actually still going according to plan except for her restarting guitar and taking art classes. But she’s now the bosun for her Sea Scouts troop and she finished sewing a regency style dress (with matching bonnet!) so, it’s not like she’s wasting time. I continue to rely on Google Classroom for collecting and grading work and it remains a godsend for me. (Plug for my ebook that can teach anyone how to use Google Classroom in their homeschool.)

Fulton

Through the app Speechify, Fulton has been reading a bunch of great history books tied to the Middle Ages. We’ve been doing narrations but found that speech to text on his iPad doesn’t work well when Teddy keeps talking loudly in the background…on purpose. So I type up his narrations instead.

The new math program I purchased lasted only a few weeks before I got too frustrated with it. Had I started using it from the beginning it might have worked, but it assumed I understood it’s unique way of presenting topics (which I didn’t because I was started a few levels in) and it also assumed the student could work through problems with it’s special manipulatives on his or her own, which obviously wasn’t the case for us. I tried to work through problems with Fulton but ultimately, I went back old reliable Abeka math. Instead of hands-on manipulatives, I’m using online Montessori tools that allow Fulton to visualize and work through the problems independently on his tablet. Montessori tools can be used to work on pretty high level math problems so it’s worth checking out if you have a student who needs a new way to see a problem. Just Google “Montessori” and the math concept you need help with and see what comes up. I’ve found lots of great videos and posts.

I’ve also created a curated collection of educational videos for him that he enjoys watching. They relate to history more than anything as his current interests include the Byzantine Empire and the Spanish American War, but really anything war related is fair game.

Teddy

No changes from my original plan except that he never choses to do Mind Benders. I consider them optional, so I don’t push, but it may be something I make him do over the summer instead.

Family Subjects: From Morning Meeting to Afternoon Tea

We’ve kept all the same subjects (Shakespeare, Latin prayers, art appreciation, music appreciation, geography, and Bible) but we switched to the Michael Kurek site for music (highly recommended). None of the kids would recommend Shakespeare’s play King John (you’ve been warned). We also moved our meeting time from the morning to the afternoon a couple weeks back and so far so good. Tea, hot cocoa, and biscotti make everything better apparently…but not King John. Seriously, spare yourself.

Wednesday’s have become our science, history, and art project day for Fulton and Teddy. We don’t always get an art project done (simply because it’s challenging to find projects for the boys to do to their satisfaction), but we’ve been making progress through the Middle Ages (as evidenced by our growing timeline) and our Geology unit.

I did stop using the grammar program I’d selected (because I just hate studying grammar), and instead of listening to more historically based stories during afternoon stretches, we’ve been working through the Harry Potter series (which Teddy has read, but Fulton has not). Although we’re currently wrapping up Across Five Aprils which is a good Civil War story and free with my Audible account.

So school is going “according to plan” for the most part, and I’m not feeling the same level of burnout I did back in October, but I am frustrated by the lack of time I have for anything else during the day, especially with constant nursing shortages. I am already exploring different options for the next school year.

How is your school year going and how are you making it through the cold, dark month of February? (And if you live where it’s not cold and dark, your comments aren’t necessary.)

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