End of Year: What Worked, What Didn’t

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I love these posts every year! Part of it is the planner in me, finding what we will do for the coming year is exciting. But, when I look back at what we’ve done for the entire school year, I am ENCOURAGED. I see that we really did accomplish a lot! And that boosts me to keep on keeping on.

{one of our egg experiments from our chicken unit study}

What Worked Well 

  • I have loved our last 2 years with American History. I have learned SO much myself. And, getting together with other families and adding in hands-on and group activities really helps the kiddos to retain and learn in a more in depth way. The 3 moms in our group took turns doing a history activity/lesson with the kids each week and we all learned so much.
  • We reviewed Math-U-See for the TOS Crew and found an awesome math program that I wish we had found sooner. We have finished the Gamma level with all 3 kids and will be moving to the next level in the next 1-2 weeks.
  • In our little 3-family-co-op we also used Atelier Art and that went well also. We completed Level 4 and the kids enjoyed it. The dvds are a bit dated, as in the teacher outfits and classroom visuals, etc. But, the projects are great and I was thrilled to give my art-loving girls some regular art instruction!
  • Lots of memory work: scriptures, and poems using Linguistic Development from IEW.
  • Our new chicks and learning all about them, with our chicken unit study and egg experiments was a fabulous 2 months of learning!
  • Piano lessons & practice for all 3 kids – a fabulous teacher is what makes this possible!!
{field trip to the Titanic with friends}

What Didn’t Work Well

  • Spanish – with our little co-op we tried out Spanish for Children from Classical Academic Press. While the dvds and workbook were fine and well put together, it was simply WAY too much in my opinion. Too much, too fast. There was no way to have hundreds AND HUNDREDS of vocabulary memorized as quickly as they put it in the book.  This program is designed for grades 4 and up, and the majority of our kids in this little co-op were this age. But, even the older kids had trouble with the sheer amount of memorizing words. There was little review built into the curriculum, and we had trouble with that too. I like how the workbooks and dvd lessons are laid out, but it just was too much for us.
  • Reading Aloud – we did this everyday, LOTS of reading. But my kids drive crazy nearly every.single.day. They fight, they are disruptive, I just don’t know how to make it work. Tips? Would love to hear from you!! We did still get in a lot of reading!! But, the actual time each morning leaves me super frustrated nearly everyday.
  • While we LOVED our group time and read alouds for American History, I just did not use the Biblioplan Companion guide like I thought I would. I am finding that reading a lot of great books and doing some hands-on things is our favorite way to learn history. I just didn’t need that extra text.
  • We did not love the Apologia Swimming Creatures this year like we’ve loved our science in the past. We had a great time with the Astronomy last year, and we did do some fun things with the Swimming Creatures, but the last few chapters of this book seemed to be lacking. It seemed like they had to get in a certain number of chapters and were just grasping at the end to find info. The experiments were a little lacking as well. I ended up finding better things on pinterest. (I did start off blogging about this but ended up not posting all the chapters because the activities/experiments just weren’t always worth sharing! ha!)
  • We also didn’t find a writing program or routine for the girls like I had hoped. We did some journaling off and on and then used the picture writing prompts a lot – which the girls did love! But I don’t feel like we grew much in our writing skills this school year.
{field trips with our family}

In the next few weeks I will be sharing what our plans are for the coming year!! Stay tuned! We have some exciting things coming up!

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14659813887643842006 Dawn

    It sounds like lots worked for you and your little co-op sounds like a gem. We have had issues with reading aloud at times. I did heavy exercise before reading with them, silent sensory play (shaving cream cloud bags, small shoebox sand box) during reading and having them illustrate what I am reading. I think illustrating and sensory has helped them the most. As long as they are not loud and can narrate back, I am ok with their hands being busy.
    Blessings, Dawn

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11946324653532845075 Jen

    One thing that helps me get through read alouds is to separate the kids into their own rooms to play quietly while I sit in the hall between the rooms and read. Usually if they are playing on their own they can still listen and follow along but if they start playing together they end up talking to each other which makes me batty!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11471641245888346516 Sarah

    Love posts like this!

    Read-alouds: do you let your kids do “stuff” while they listen? My crew definitely need something in their hands to make it happen- Legos, coloring, clay, finger knitting… Something. Maybe that would help? Or doing shorter chunks s couple of times per day instead of all at once?

    Looking forward to hearing your picks for next year!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07731853888897956775 Annette

    ditto on the letting them do things as you read. even with one seven year old lad… I let him DO stuff as I read. I do stop once and a while and ask a question like… what do you think will happen next? Can you remind me about what character A did? Why did he do that? (keeps him focused in his play/drawing/ whatever)

    annette @ A Net In time