Friday, June 30, 2017

Academic Year 2016-17 Concludes

It's official . . . let the last week of June mark the end of our 2016-17 school year! I'm done with my formal teaching until after this baby makes his arrival in August, and will simply assign the kids some independent busy work for the rest of the summer so they're not entirely unmoored.

I'm now the happy mama of rising fifth, third, and first graders!

32 weeks' gestation baby and 23-month-old toddler

This week I met various goals:
  • John and Mary finished IEW Unit 6, which involved completion of writing a three-paragraph essay on snapping turtles. In the fall, we'll pick up with Units 7-9.

  • John finished First Form Latin Lesson 7. I'll have him run flash cards over the summer, and we'll pick up where we left off in the fall.
  • For History, we finished textbook reading last week, and this week finished our read-aloud on Bishop Simon Brute, as I'd wanted. Any other American History we read this summer is great and fun, but we'll start with Ancient History in the fall.
  • In Literature, John finished his book ("Big Red") before departing for camp. Mary raced through the first four books of the "Betsy-Tacy" collection in one week, and, while that isn't literature, she's read through so much high-quality stuff lately that I can't keep up. Margaret (6) enjoyed the accomplishment of reading an entire chapter book in one day for the first time ("Helen Keller" book is rated grade level 2-5 and is 96 pages). Also, I've enjoyed watching over this past year as the attention span of Joseph (4) has expanded such that he's ending the school year able to listen daily to me reading aloud chapter books: right now, "Stuart Little."

This has been an excellent school year overall. In homeschooling, each year is its own 'animal,' and the years can vary widely in quality and enjoyability as Life Happens. (I'm already preparing my over-eager heart for the entire 2017-18 year to be a less ambitious one as we incorporate a newborn into our lives again.)

My using the scheduling forms from Confessions of a Homeschooler and following the scheduling techniques of "Managers of Their Schools" were the keys that made this year a great one--that and not having any life or health tragedies! (Praise God, and thank you Guardian Angels.)

We did 'survive' a school year with a zany toddler age 12-24 months who can surmount any baby gate, leap out of any crib, climb over furniture, open doorknobs, and generally behave like a monkey while simultaneously making it through seven-ninths of my pregnancy so far. Even life's grand blessings can be Big Challenges simultaneously!

Thomas (23 months) climbs onto and swings by himself on the trapeze often.
It took us 12 months to log 194 academic schooling days, when it takes the institutional schools 9 months to log 180 days . . . but such is the price for living the homeschool life! We can take days off or vacations, go on field trips, afford to get sick (whether kids or teacher), take time off to acclimate to a new baby, and so forth. I wouldn't want to trade the blessing of living daily life all day long with my kids, even though it can get really tough (my texting-for-support girlfriends know!). They're gone and raised so fast: already we have less time with our firstborn remaining that we've spent so far.

These last two months of pregnancy are historically when my health becomes really challenging for me and I become quite home-centered. I plan to assign the children a simple daily list of independent school work to use up some of their time--idle hands are the devil's playground!--until after the new baby arrives. I won't have the energy or ability to be driving them here and there to activities, sports, vacations, experiences.

Subjects for the children to continue independently just to use up 2-3 hours of idle time daily over the summer: 
  • math (Teaching Textbooks), 
  • spelling (All About Spelling), 
  • memorizing Baltimore Catechism, 
  • memorizing poetry, 
  • reading science and watching Mr. Wizard videos, 
  • running Latin flash cards, 
  • doing the music theory workbook, 
  • and practicing piano and violin as usual.
Meanwhile, the older children will continue their rehearsals for Esther, the Musical, and dad will take them all swimming, while I will be in charge of reading aloud some wonderful literature books I've lined up, doling out Popsicles, putting on old-fashioned family movies and popcorn, and sitting in a chair while supervising lots of backyard play hours.

Let the official summer begin!


  1. I read that article recently and really enjoyed it, especially since I'm usually a "head person". So there is a Latin Mass in Charlotte -- I'm in the diocese (out west) but no Latin this way :( I would love to attend one.

  2. I've been thinking of you and your little one! Prayers that these last few weeks go as smoothly as they can. And congratulations on a successful school year. :)