Weekly Monthly Semester Wrap-Up (sigh)

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A new year, an new opportunity to stay on track with this blog. I've managed to stick with my flossing resolution for 6 days now, so maybe I'm ready to add something else.

I've been told that I might just want to start here, in January, and not get bogged down with playing catch up from the last 3 months. That's wise advice, I believe, but I just can't do it. As the girl who always knew the first 3 measures of every piano piece by heart due to a return there with each missed note, I must try to make it all connect with no gaps.

Still, I can't possibly do 18 Weekly Wrap-Ups today so I'll just cover the semester highlights. (I didn't even know we were on semesters.)

We've memorized plenty of Bible verses, and the monthly character traits have included orderliness, thankfulness and generosity. Long Story Short is still serving us well for evening devotions, but we took a break over Advent to use Ann VosKamp's Jesse Tree Advent Celebration.

Bearclaw has made it almost to WWI in history. We've left the 19th century behind and entered into what seems like a much less romantic period. I guess it's the proximity of the 20th century that makes it's horrors seem so much more horrible. It does give me reason to pause, though. I mean, we just loved waving our cardboard battle axes around when we studied the Celts, but I can't see us making faux mustard gas and snapping a few pics of a make-believe exposure. Not so fun.

Shortbread has finished what I refer to as the "really ancient" ancients and has just started looking at Greece. Below are some of his projects from the last couple of months.

After the Abraham Lincoln biography, Bearclaw read two historical fiction books he enjoyed more: Turn Homeward, Hannalee and Sarah, Plain and Tall. Although he enjoys adventure books geared toward boys, he seems fine with these books based on fictional females (and who can blame him?- they're great reads!).

During the study of the Hannalee book, we were able to take a walking tour of the town in which Hannalee lived (and worked in a textile mill) at the beginning of the book. Although the book is a work of fiction, it is based on actual events that occurred in the mill town of Roswell, Georgia.

In Roswell, we were able to tour the area where the founders, owners, and well-to-do lived as well as the ruins of the old mill (where Hannalee would have worked) and mill housing.

This is the home of Roswell King, the city's founder and owner of the mill:

Though the mill itself was destroyed by Union forces (who then deported the workers, including women and children like our fictional Hannalee, to the north), the creek and a dam that fed it open for exploration:

After reading Sarah, Plain and Tall, Bearclaw made a diorama of the scene in which Sarah slides down a "hay dune". It didn't spark quite the enthusiasm from him that the field trip did, but it turned out to be a fun activity.

Together with mom, Shortbread read Anansi and the Magic Stick and made his own model of the stick. (He loves projects, so I just get the materials he needs, and he disappeears. I have almost no input into them, so I love to see his final product - it's always a surprise!)

Later in the semester, we read Temple Cat, which is quite a short picture book, but it's message is vitally imporant and well-expressed. It's definitely a favorite of mine now.


Bearclaw continues with Spelling Workout E, Wordly Wise, Shurley English and Easy Grammar.

The writing instruction at the humanities hybrid school he attends continues to focus on various types of writing, but they keep the length of each paper to one paragraph, which keeps Bearclaw from feeling overwhelmed. I really enjoy working with him on this as he struggles to best convey his ideas on paper.

Shortbread's reading has picked up, and he says he will no longer read any books without chapters, so that sent me scrambling to find more books for beginning readers that are longer than most of what we have in our home library. I have always wondered if Shortbread will be interested in reading the way Bearclaw is. I suppose it remains to be seen, but he's off to a great start!

This has been an emotional struggle for quite a while, and I was about ready to throw in the towel and sign Bearclaw up for an outside class or switch to a different curriculum.

Our combination of me fussing over his lack of focus and care in his math work and his frutration over mistakes and self-defeating attitude was exhausting both of us.

A change in approach has helped tremendously. I've really worked to convince him that he should not know how to do the lesson before we've gone over it, and I've allowed him to lean on me for those topics that he's struggling with. Scooting him off to "try it" was only upsetting him and getting us nowhere. At this point, he would even say, perhaps, that he is "good at math."

Shortbread and math get along wonderfully, so he's moved on to the "B" level for first grade.

We've continued our nature walks, and although the boys don't journal as I'd like, we have enjoyed spending time with our friends and exploring some local park gems.

So that's it...our whole semester squished into one post. We started back to school this week, so I'll have material for more wrap-ups soon. Too soon, maybe.

Comment (1)

You should write a sequel...Hannahlee experiments with mustard gas.