Thursday, April 8, 2010

Year in Review

I'm joining in a blog hop sponsored by CHEER for Colorado homeschooling bloggers.  The theme for next month is "Year in Review."  I'll try to remember to post a link to the blog hop when it is up.  So here goes (I'll try to link products, or my reviews of them):

It has been an interesting year.  We made a lot of changes this year, and my life as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew shook things up even more.  I'm in need of encouragement that we did accomplish something this year.

Looking back to last fall, my year definitely has not turned out at all like I had planned.   But I think the year has worked.  More or less.

I'm officially schooling four boys now, and the princess just turned 4.  I worry a bit about how I will work things when she is in the mix for real.  And I think my what has worked/what hasn't only makes me more aware of that.

So -- what has gone right:

  • William's reading is still below grade level, but that child has made major progress.  Just tonight, he was reading the text scrolling on Star Wars (popcorn & movie night here).  A year ago, that could not have happened.  I think we have finally hit on a good combination of materials for him.  Realizing he is dyslexic and actually working with that has been amazing.
  • Connor desperately needed us to up the expectations.  Getting him going on a lot more high school level material was the right thing to do.
What I need to adjust:
  • Consistent math.  With the Review Crew, it has been a pretty wild ride as far as math goes.  We've reviewed ALEKS, Quartermile Math, Mathletics, MathScore, FactsFirst, Mammoth Math, Galaxy Math, GyMathtics, Math Tutor DVD, plus things like College Prep Genius.  Plus what we were already using.  Plus other things that have fallen into our laps.  End result is that it's been a mish-mash year for math, and while all the boys are way more solid on their math facts, I'm not sure anyone has really learned any new concepts.  That is changing.
  • I've been too focused on William, and I'm not spending the time I need to with Thomas and his reading.  Or Richard either for that matter.  
  • Consistent lots of stuff.  Writing especially.  We just started Institute for Excellence in Writing.  I think I need to stick with that, and uhhh, use it consistently.  Anyone sensing a theme?


Kristenph said...

Oh this definitely has a lot of similarities to my year. But I'm still trying to figure out how to devote enough time to my probably dyslexic William. Writing has been weak, weak, weak in our home.

Marie said...

I've been reading your posts for a couple months now but I never realized you had a child with dyslexia. We just found out a few months ago that our 7 year old is dyslexic and I strongly suspect my 4 year old does as well.
What are you using to teach reading? I have a wonderful lady that has loaned us her Barton Reading system and we're on level 2.
I have "tried out" for the TOS Review Crew (I hope I make it) so I'm hoping to have an opportunity to review some programs for preschoolers with dyslexia. I feel like I'll be able to help him quicker since I am aware of the problem. With my 7 yr old we were clueless until Jan of this year (he'll be 8 in May). How long have you known your son had it?
I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility to teach these two to read and trying to figure out what to do with my 10 yr old next year...I'm thinking of just letting him do ALL subjects on his own(we'd like to take a more CM approach but I don't know if I can handle all the reading together). I also feel like I need to figure out how to help my two dyslexic boys with speech. The local public school is an option, but I would like to avoid it if possible. Did your so have speech issues. My 7 yr old is getting better but still (especially if he's in a hurry) he'll make the L and R letters sound like /w/. My 4 yr old has many more speech issues :( He's still young but I want to help him before he creates bad habits that will be too hard to break.
I hope you are able to follow all of these rambling hands aren't able to keep up with my thoughts sometimes =)
Blessings to you!

Debra said...

Kristin -- thanks for making me feel better about not being alone in the writing department!

Debra said...

Oh, Marie... you know, I might need to just create a new blog entry responding to you. Barton is amazing, I really, really wish I could afford it. Not a possibility, even with the high resale value. I just don't have the initial money to get started.

I found out William was definitely dyslexic about 1.5 years ago, so he was about 10. I should have known earlier, it's something I beat myself up about all the time.

I will try to actually blog something a bit later today.