Monday, May 20, 2013

Looking Back - Looking Forward {Blog Cruise}


I'm getting anxious to start lesson planning for next year - even though we're not quite finished with this year's schoolwork. But, as the school year is nearing the end, and as we start to put away the books and think ahead to next year, part of the process is to evaluate how we did over the year and what changes we'll need to consider for the coming year. What aspects of our homeschool rocked? Where did we do tolerably well? Where is there room for improvement? Is there anything we need to overhaul completely? I should probably look back and reflect a little before I get carried away with planning for a coming year.

We did stick with almost everything I had planned to do at the beginning of the school year, so I think that's pretty good! We dropped two things partway through the year because we just couldn't seem to fit everything into our schedule, at least on a regular basis. The two casualties were Write With World and Visual Latin. We liked both of them - we love Visual Latin, to tell the truth, but couldn't figure out how to make it work with our daily timetable. I am planning to take another run at it in 2013-2014, but perhaps with just Kennady. One other item got dropped, and that was the Bible curriculum Kennady started with. Not long into the school year, she started attending a bi-weekly Bible study with several other girls, and I decided that would be her Bible study for the year.

I think we rocked History again this year, and was really pleased with Art. Since History is my favorite subject, it was a pleasure to teach, and we used a curriculum (Notgrass America the Beautiful) that was self-contained and easy to implement. We got to supplement that with a few great review products over the year, including Knowledge Quest's Map Trek (see my review), and The 20th Century in America Lap-Pak from Homeschool in the Woods (see my review). Kennady started the year working on the Middle School Level 1 book from ARTistic Pursuits and then we were able to review the Level 2 book as well! Obviously she didn't finish either book, but that's okay because she had a great time with both of them, and will just continue working on them next year. Landon worked on some introduction to perspective and technical drawing workbooks from Insight Technical Ed, and Spencer completed a Graphic Design course from the same publisher, and I was very pleased with how those courses turned out.


We did okay with all our other subjects. Not exactly spectacular. Science was Classical Astronomy, using Signs and Seasons from Fourth Day Press. (Incidentally, we decided on Signs and Seasons after having reviewed the Celestial Almanack from Fourth Day Press.) We started off great with that, and the only problem we ran into was that I didn't schedule it as wisely as I should have. We probably should have completed all the textbook work much earlier in the school year, and started on most of the observation projects much earlier so we could get more of that done before the school year ends. Math isn't really a favorite subject around here, but thanks to No-Nonsense Algebra (which I reviewed here), Landon did a great job with Algebra I and got a head start on that high school credit. Spencer did a consumer math curriculum, and Kennady worked through Life of Fred, which is a great fit for her. I was very glad we were able to review Target the Question from Lone Star Learning, because that provided some excellent supplement for her.  Language Arts didn't present major problems for us, and I'd say Kennady might even have rocked her grade level in that subject. Landon and Spencer just got it done, and called it good enough - neither of them enjoy it much.

For the next school year, I'm hoping to improve on what we do with Language Arts, particularly in the area of writing. Not quite a year ago, Kennady and I reviewed Lightning Lit and Comp, and although the Grade 7 level was a bit of a stretch for her then, it will be perfect for the coming school year. (See our review here.) She is looking forward to using that. And at this time, we are reviewing the Student Writing Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing and I am so excited about that! It will probably be the perfect fit for us and will help us do a much better job with writing. I also need to work on how we schedule our days and how I manage my time and the record-keeping.
I'm not sure there's anything that needs a complete overhaul, so that's good news!

We have been blessed to be a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew again this year, and learn first-hand about so many wonderful homeschool resources; and I love being able to pass along the information and experiences to my homeschooling friends. I'm looking forward to the rest of the Crew year, and to a slightly different experience in our own homeschool as Spencer is graduating so we'll only have two students next year!

How would you evaluate your homeschool year? Leave a comment and let me know! Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (this link will be live on Friday, May 24th) to see what other Crew members thought about "What Worked? What didn't?". You can also visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog homepage to see the reviews we are working on, past reviews, and past blog cruise topics.  

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Lindsey Clair said...

I would say that our homeschool year was way better than last year, haha. This was our second year so I am thankful for the confidence to continue. We are excited to move forward with another year. God is faithful! Looks like your year went amazing!

Unknown said...

I feel like we had a successful year overall (considering we moved twice over the summer and then I had a baby in November). Whew! I feel like we're finding our groove and I have found good curricula fits for us.

Stacie said...

I think we had a pretty good year. We are going through summer this year. We had a few breaks through the year. I have to find new science and history curriculum as I havent found what works with my son yet. I was disappointed he didnt like the apologia. I am happy with some parts. In fact this weekend I want to make some curriculum on topics we can easily tackle this summer. Art I never have a problem with as I always find us something to do :) It's nice reading how others look back as well.

Stephanie said...

Sounds like a great year! I am stopping over from the Homeschool Hop! If you have a moment, pop by and say hi!

Stefanie said...

I started a post for this cruise and then forgot about the form. lol I might finish it anyway.

We're visual latin drop outs too. Love it but really reviewing other stuff got in our way. And I was super picky about what I would sign up for this year.

As He Leads is Joy said...

I am glad to know that I am not the only one planning next year. I love the planning part and the teaching part. I have heard great things about Notgrass. That will be on my list of things to consider.

Debbie Phillips said...

We had a really good year. It is interesting only having one student left. We have some decision making to do for high school English for next year. This year was not as good as I had hoped. The rest is set and ready to go for next year.

Also wanted to let you know, in case you didn't see it on Facebook that I am going to be hosting Goal Planning Monday for Katrina for a while. I have this week's posted. I would love it if you joined us again... this week or next... This week's link is here -

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