Officially Not a Newbie Anymore!

My newest reader. (He can read easy books.)

My newest reader. (He can read easy books.)

Okay, he's just pretending to read. :)

Okay, he’s just pretending to read. 🙂

I’m so excited to announce the end of our school year! I have officially completed three years of homeschooling my children. And they’re actually reading! 🙂 I figure three years is a respectable amount of time to say you’ve been homeschooling, so I don’t think I’m a newbie anymore. Not that I won’t have questions every year about expectations or hurdles I’m facing, but I’m out of the “I have no idea what I’m doing–will someone please give me a script?” stage.

That also means I’m in the “this can be a drag at times” stage, and I’m ready for a rest. Caleb still needs one more week to finish his math curriculum. (He’s actually ahead, finishing the equivalent of a third grade curriculum; but he’s only two lessons away from the end of the level, so I agreed with him to finish the level for the year.)

Congratulations, kindergartner!

Congratulations, kindergartner!

Colin finished kindergarten, and since we can’t have a cap and gown ceremony, nor even a party with extended family, we settled for a cake and ice cream celebration. We don’t normally splurge on both cake and ice cream at once, so that was special. He surprised me Thursday while I was listening to Caleb recite his memory work: he popped his head in the door and began quoting with surprisingly good expression, a section from Macbeth that Caleb is memorizing. I’d had no idea that he was listening so closely to Caleb!

This week in history we learned how the English trounced the Spanish Armada in 1588; and I’m glad, since otherwise we might be speaking Spanish in America now! Last week, we learned about early exploration in North America by Cabot, Cartier, and Sir Walter Raleigh. We had finished a section of our art book, and not wanting to get into a new section, I combined several subjects into one project–history, art, and nature study. I love multi-tasking in school!

The beginning of his map.

The beginning of his map.

Caleb was a cartographer, as in the days of Raleigh and exploration. He made a map of our yard, including plant life, using symbols organized with a map key. (That’s the nature study part–I told him that at the end of this year I wanted him to draw our whole yard and hopefully know all the names of the plants in our yard. He certainly doesn’t know all of the names, but he knows several.) The art part included getting the parts of the yard, including the house, in correct proportion, and coloring the map as beautifully as possible. The maps in those times were works of art. He spent two weeks on it, and then added a script explaining why this map is special to him (it’s his home) and a family crest symbol on the map.

At the end, almost completed map.

At the end, almost completed map.

When Sir Francis Drake heard that the Spanish Armada was approaching, he was playing a game of lawn bowling with Sir Howard. He told Howard, “Time enough to finish our game and beat the Spaniards too!” So for fun we played a game of lawn bowling today. It’s basically the same as bocce ball, if you’ve ever played that.

Lawn bowling

Lawn bowling

The Middle Ages timeline cards in order

The Middle Ages timeline cards in order

Caleb finished reading a biography called Who Was William Shakespeare? and a funny, informative book called You Wouldn’t Want to Sail in the Spanish Armada! this week. Then today I mixed up all the timeline cards for the Middle Ages from Veritas Press and asked him to put them in the correct order. I wasn’t sure that he could do it and reminded him to sing the accompanying memory song to himself when he got stuck. I couldn’t have done it, but he got them all in the right order! I was encouraged to see that memory work put to song can stick and have practical uses. Then I played a little game with the boys calling out two different events or persons from the Middle Ages and asking which came first? Whoever answered correctly got a piece of candy.

Making an "S" with her body.

Making an “S” with her body.

Our break will be about six weeks long, and I can already tell that my to-do list exceeds my time! Oh, well. I have lots of planning to do for next year, in lots of categories, not just homeschool, though that is a big category. I would like to do some light math or reading review with the kids some days during the break. There are several different house projects I’d like to get done and holiday church events to plan. My teammate is expecting another baby around Christmas as well. We are hoping to get our kids together for an “end of the school year party” sometime next month. Christmas break in the village can be a very loud, interruptive time of the year. So I expect to be quite busy during the break, busy enough to maybe enjoy getting back to a homeschool routine in January!

May you have a happy week counting your blessings from God!

Last sentence of dictation in 2nd grade phonics.

Last sentence of dictation in 2nd grade phonics.

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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3 Responses to Officially Not a Newbie Anymore!

  1. Keya says:

    Yay! Way to go!

  2. Christie says:

    Yay! Good job and congratulations to all! Love reading about all the progress. You’re so creative! Miss you guys – have a great break!

  3. Congrats on finishing another year! And no, you’re not really a newbie anymore. I love the mixture of cartography and nature study, and I miss the days of You Wouldn’t Want to Be…. Have a great break!

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