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Whew, I can’t believe we’re at the end of 2020 already! Unfortunately, like most other people, we spent most of the year at home and away from people. The kids… haven’t loved it. There have been some bright spots though, and I hope with this last half of the school year, I can make it a bit more fun for them. It’s so easy for me to just keep doing the same old things and well, my kids just aren’t really into that. My eldest would rather craft all day, and my middle wants to build Lego contraptions all day long. So I need to be better at incorporating those interests so they stop groaning whenever I pull out the school books!
So, what did we actually do this year?
I was juggling 3 kids in RightStart Math this year. My youngest (PreK) started Level A, my middle (1st grade) finished level B in November and graduated to level C. My eldest (3rd grade) finished level C in November and graduated to level D.
My youngest started All About Pre-Reading in September and is LOVING it. I’ll be sharing more on our experience with this curriculum in January. If I let her do it every day, she would. (She’s very passionate about doing school right now!).
My middle is part way through Level 2 of All About Reading and Level 1 of All About Spelling. He’s my studious kid and is dreaming up all the books he wants to write (every now and then I find him writing/drawing a story out and giggling about the scenario. Let’s just say, he worked out how to spell “poop” so that tends to feature).
My eldest loves to read. Spelling is hard for her though and I need to work on making that more fun so she becomes more willing to try. All About Learning have a number of games you can download and use as an incentive and she’s been enjoying those. With most of these games, she spells a word correctly and gets to move, then her brother spells one of his words and gets to move. In case you missed it, there’s also a free Christmas themed Reading/Spelling Activity Pack.
I also signed up as a member of Read Aloud Revival with Sarah MacKenzie this year. My kids have mostly enjoyed the premium content on this site – author interviews, art lessons, book clubs, and monthly activities. My youngest in particular has loved the art lessons and some of the things she’s drawn have totally blown my mind! Right now we’ve got two chapter books going – The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, book 2 (Audiobook), and Adventures with Waffles (hardcover) by Maria Parr.
Audible Plus Holiday Promotion: Only $4.95/month for the first 6 months
(offer ends December 31, 2020)
For me, I listen to books as I sew and clean up, so I can actually knock out quite a few in a year! I’ve been tracking them all on Goodreads and I managed to get 41 books in this year! My favorite book this year was probably Pachinko, and I also really enjoyed some of the books I read to my kids, particularly the Penderwicks and Tuesday’s in the Castle.
This year we’re doing US History. We mostly learn this through picture books, though I signed my eldest up for the Self Paced History course from Veritas. She’s loving it! In fact, with Christmas she declared she would not be doing *any* school over the holiday and then promptly asked if she could do Veritas.
My favorite way to learn history and geography though, is to immerse yourself in it. So we ventured out to some historical attractions in the latter part of the year. On a whim, I took my kids to Jamestown Historic Site and the Jamestown Settlement (the recreation). It was a 3 hour drive each way, but we managed to do it without any stops!! (Thank you Kindle Fire tablets!!). Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in America and served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699. My kids loved the recreation of it, though I think they also really enjoyed seeing the archeology dig at the historic site (and bonus, they received their Jr. Ranger badges at the National Park too!).
We spent a day at Mt. Vernon too – the home of George Washington. They do a homeschool day each year where they have reenactments and kid friendly activities all day long. Unfortunately we had planned to meet some friends there but ended up playing phone tag with them all day long (the estate was WAY bigger than I had anticipated!).
Historic St. Mary’s in Maryland was a fun trip as well. I had never heard of it until a few months ago – it’s the original capital of Maryland (the fourth permanent English settlement in America) and is set up as a living history museum with lots of archeological stuff, historic buildings, ships, and actors reenacting things. I think my kids’ favorite part was watching a printing press in action and seeing a case of alphabet tiles for the press — the uppercase containing the capital letters and the lower case containing…. the lower case letters!
This year my two older kids started piano lessons with one of my friends. Due to the pandemic, they switched to having their lessons over FaceTime! Surprisingly, they’ve still been able to learn quite well that way and since I have some background in playing, I am able to help them get their fingers in the right places (when their teacher can’t reach her hand through the screen!). Yankee Doodle is their favorite song. I’m looking forward to their discovering more interesting pieces to play haha.
With swimming and basketball cancelled, we’ve been doing a lot more outdoor things this year, especially around our neighborhood. We have a really awesome trail system behind our home and the kids have LOVED getting out there a few times a week and seeing how nature has changed over the course of the year. I’ve taken to keeping the kids’ bikes in our car as we’ve been meeting up with friends and riding together.
We’ve been learning about the human body this year – the kids have been busy making life size copies of their bodies.
Our home is full of glitter and spangles. All. The. Time. I don’t tend to direct their art projects, though I did sign my eldest up to do outdoor art classes taught by a local teenager over the fall so she could save up money for a new phone :). We also ventured into Washington DC to see the temporary Degas exhibition before it went back to Paris. It was really tricky to do it with the covid restrictions – my kids love to stay in the galleries for ages drawing what they see, but it was challenging to let them do this as they were limiting the number of people in each room and I could see an ever growing antsy group of people trying to come in as they were busy sketching.
Anyway, that’s some of our 2020 highlights in a nutshell! Thanks for following along on my blog this year! I look forward to sharing more inspiring posts with you in 2021 🙂