Year in Review (with free printable)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Year in Review (with free printable)

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It’s always fun & helpful to look back at the end of the year and evaluate how things went. I know each state has different requirements as far as what people HAVE to do (i.e. testing, reporting, etc.) but ours actually has none. So that allows me more flexibility, but does not mean I will not ‘record’ our year.
#1 – Keepsakes
I made a folder with a tab for each year to keep a sampling of my kids’ work. I am not a big saver, but even I have trouble tossing out the projects and sheets we’ve had so much fun working on together! Throughout the year I saved them all in our big blue file folder box. My kids know to put completed work in their folder. At the end I picked a good sampling of what they learned and their “big projects” to include in the permanent folder for this year.  (see above picture)
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We don’t do grades at this stage (and maybe won’t until many years later) but I still wanted to write up something that overviewed what we learned and how my son did. I always loved looking back at report cards, especially the teacher comments on who I was. So I created this {FREE} Year in Review. I think actually between this & their work I wont need a “school years” book. This includes spots for annual picture, kids memories, favorites, child drawing, additional pictures (projects/fieldtrips/sports), and subject by subject highlights. It folds into a book that I will then insert in their keepsake binder.
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#2 – Testing
At this point Goofy is just in kindergarten so I don’t feel the need to get testing done. But our plan as he gets older is to do standardized testing to help us objectively see how our kids are doing and any areas we (teacher/student) are weak on.
#3 – Evaluating our Year
I think it is fun (crazy, I know) to go back and evaluate how things went. This allows me to better plan for next year and to be prepared when Minnie is ready for Kindergarten.  Here is my original post on what our plan was for this 2011-2012 school year in case you want to see what our ‘plan’ was.
  • Bible – I loved Abeka flash-a-cards series. I feel like it kept my kids attention and gave them (and us) a lot of depth. We even did a little more than they suggested because we enjoyed them so much. They are expensive so I’d recommend seeing if you can go in on them with a friend. But you can reuse them for all your child’s schooling years. The kids learned a LOT of verses in Awana & I made verse cards so we can continue to practice them throughout the summer and coming years. I am looking forward to having Bible drills and games with scripture review as they get older!
  • Calendar Time – I don’t know why, but I am really bad at remembering to do this! I need to work harder at being consistent here for next year
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  • Mornings for play & Preschool – This really did work out great! I love saving “school” for the afternoon while the girls took naps. It gave us the chance to go to the library, on fieldtrips, play, and really spend time with the girls in the stage they are at. Goofy (K) really loved preschool – we always did such fun projects! With that being said, next year we are going to do our history during preschool time (it will be a good multi-tasker!)
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  • Language Arts- I love the Sing Spell Read & Write program we are using! It does such a great job of teaching through the many learning styles, is systematic, and fun! Goofy is a great reader as a result. We actually finished up Kindergarten and moved on to the 1st grade books in March. I love that about homeschooling – when we are ready to move on – we do! I need to work on adding more writing exercise & dictation next year. Goofy is afraid to spell words wrong so wants me to spell out everything. (Click to see my post reviewing the program)
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  • Math- We used Bob Jones Kindergarten and I LOVED it! It was thorough, colorful & fun. It was all based on a farm theme – so cute! My son loved the puppets. I feel like it thoroughly taught counting 1-140 (by 1s and 10s, 5s to 50 and 2s to 20), money, addition & subtractions 1-10, shapes/colors, writing numbers, fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, whole), Telling Time (to half hour), Calendar (days of the week/months/seasons), and measurement. It went through each area at a basic level and then went back through everything again deeper. I loved the approach and repetition. My son truly mastered everything taught in this book. Drawback – you have to buy the teacher’s book to get all the visual aid & supplement ideas and it’s not cheap. There is a CD at the back of the teachers book with additional practice if your child doesn’t master anything (although the program is very good and it is unlikely you will need it!). In was so afraid we weren’t going to finish Math I had him do 2 sheets a day – so we actually finished and moved on to Singapore Math in March.  Why the switch?  I’ve heard amazing things about Singapore Math and how advanced it was. I didn’t use it for K because most didn’t recommend it yet. So I feel like he got a very good foundation with Bob Jones; plus Singapore doesn’t teach calendar or money. So far we are enjoying Singapore Math. They approach things slightly different (i.e. number bonds), but I think it is a strength to be able to go about it several different ways! The program is straight to the point with less repetition which is a big time saver if your child is getting things. I’ll let you know later (when we have used the program more) what we are thinking. We jumped into 1A and think it is a good spot for him after his K book was finished.
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  • Handwriting- I will say that I missed that Sing Spell, Read & Write says it is enough for handwriting without an additional program. So don’t feel you have to supplement. Since we already were using A Reason for Handwriting we just continued. I will say I think the extra practice was GREAT for Goofy. His penmanship is amazing!! He writes better than I did in 3rd grade (literally!) The K book in this program does not have scripture, but it does have a systematic approach for introducing letters, lots of practice, and a fun coloring sheet on the back of each one (Goofy’s FAVORITE!) The next book has kids practice words from a verse each day and then on Friday they write the entire verse on “nice” paper they provided. Goofy loves coloring in the pictures on the “nice” paper. It really is only a couple lines a day for 1st grade. If you use Sing Spell Read & Write you probably don’t need the extra practice as it is already incorporated in the program.
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  • Social Studies- We have had the most fun in this subject! I think I was a little aggressive in what I choose to study, but then again those have been our highlights so I am satisfied. I hope you will check out our many hands-on units (including free printables) for Expanding Horizons & Community Helpers, Early Explorers, Colonial Americans, and Revolutionary War. I am SO thrilled we were able to re-work our vacation this year to include fieldtrips!! It is so cool to study about Jamestown and then to actually go see it!  Although I am going to try and not be as  aggressive with how much we cover next year, I wouldn’t change a thing this year!
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  • Science -  We did several “big projects” : breeding guppies, scientific method & favorite parks, dinosaurs, weather, and lots of experiments & exploring Science within other subjects & our preschool themes. I do want to focus here more next year- I think Science is so important and I want my kids to grasp it & think it’s fun from a young age. I also found new resources that will be shaping Science in our remaining Elementary years from Answers in Genesis.
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  • Art – I am thrilled with the famous artists we studied this year! (If you haven’t seen our projects look under Homeschool & Art) Finding the lapbook resource was great to tie the study together. We loved learning about them & creating some of their art! We studied Da Vinci,  Monet, Picasso, and Seurat. I think doing 4 a year is realistic and allows for years of study & review. We also did lots of art projects and Goofy loved learning to make cartoons.
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  • Spanish- I am disappointed in myself in this area. I began by speaking to my son in Spanish as a child, but when we realized he has speech articulation issues we dropped the Spanish to focus on English. It is SO  much harder to pick it up again now that he is 6! The kids did learn some vocabulary in our preschool, but they are not conversational. I need to work on this next year – big time!
  • Music – We both LOVED our composers: Bach, Vivaldi, and Handle. The Color the Classics series is fantastic & I highly recommend it. Goofy impressed me thoroughly when we were at a library story time and there was background music on – he said, “Hey Mom, that’s Vivaldi!!” I was so proud! Plus he loves to color – so it is fun, relaxing, great for fine motor skills, and helps him to remember it well. We also started working through our Music Lapbook to teach Goofy about music in preparation for playing the piano. Honestly, I had hoped to get to that sooner – but didn’t.
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  • PE- We incorporate exercise (walks/parks/backyard) into our daily life so he is building good habits. But more than that we provided opportunities to interact with other children, plan organized sports, and learn about group dynamics and sportsmanship. Goofy participated in a sports class through our local park district, in a soccer league, and we were blessed to have weekly gym time with a wonderful teacher at our local church.
We do plan on continuing to learn during the summer. We will do some math games, continue reading, write for run (like our USA Postcard swap), art projects in the backyard, science in our garden and nature, and social studies through our fieldtrips. Wow – when I write it out we are actually doing a lot of learning! but it will be less workbook or structured and more FUN and spontaneous! Happy Summer Schooling!

2 comments:

  1. What a great year. It sounds like you had so much fun learning and living. We enjoy looking back too.
    Blessings, Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, :) I was wondering how many lessons a book of Color the Classics has? Would one book last a whole year?

    ReplyDelete