October went as well for us as September, although it was punctuated by coughs, sniffles, and colds that made their way through the family. The children have continued to thrive using the Robinson Curriculum and have learned a lot to date. Here is a summary of what they have achieved:
- Mathematics — Both children are now studying Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra. Spunky is about halfway through the text and Gentle Giant has worked through about ten lessons. The children generally do one or two lessons a day depending on their length. We are using the Fred’s Home Companion for this text, so the children are following the instructions in that and doing all of the assigned questions. They both found the initial lessons quite easy, which is a good sign!
- Logic — Both children have completed The Fallacy Detective. They both understand the fallacies and are able to define them. However, application is still sometimes a bit of a struggle. We are going to continue working on recognizing fallacies throughout the year. During logic time, the children will now work on Professor Klugimkopf’s Grammar, which is part of the Robinson Curriculum. This is for two reasons: First, the children need practice with grammar as it does not come naturally to them; and second, because the children share a math text, one of them has to do some sort of brain-stretching activity while the other is working on math. Logic and Grammar work well with brain stretching so that is why they are part of our “math” time.
- A brief writing lesson from Understanding Writing by Susan Bradrick — we have now almost completed Unit 6. Unit 7-8 is actually a grammar course, so the children are technically doing that unit simultaneously with Unit 6. As well, sentence diagramming, which is included in Unit 9-12, is part of our grammar course, so we will be ahead of ourselves by the end of this year.
- A page or more of writing a day and correction of the previous day’s writing (includes spelling, grammar, and penmanship) — the children have successfully done this and have demonstrated an understanding of descriptive, narrative, informative and argumentative writing. They have discovered an interest in fiction writing and have been entertaining me with all kinds of short stories.
- Keyboarding — the children are continuing to work diligently at improving their typing speed and accuracy.
- Vocabulary — the children are working through the Robinson vocabulary lists. They work on two lists a week: one a review from the week before and one a new list to be learned.
- Poetry — the children have each memorized several poems and are continuing to work through the dialectic section of the Harp & Laurel Wreath.
- Reading — includes literature, history, geography, theology, and science — The children are at about books 29 and 46 on the Robinson Curriculum list. After examining their reading comprehension and looking at the time it took each of them to read a book, we have abridged the curriculum for the time being so we can move through the lower levels at a faster pace. At present, the children are reading about one selection from each series. Gentle Giant will be skipping a couple of the more girl-oriented books like Heidi and will be reading at least one R.M. Ballantyne selection instead.
- Biblical Greek — both students have now completed this course. Spunky has informed me that she hates Greek so she will not be continuing on in her Greek studies beyond this year.
- Latin — Spunky has not yet started this course and is not sure she wants to take it at all. She has agreed to give a unit a try, though, before she makes any firm decision. Gentle Giant has worked through several units.
- French — After Greek was completed, Spunky started studying French again. She is nearly done Nallenart’s Level 3, which is equivalent to Grade 5 French in Ontario. Gentle Giant has just completed Level 3 and is working on Level 4 (Grade 6 French for Ontario). The children are not finding these texts overly difficult and will be done at least Grade 8 French this year. My biggest challenge at this time is locating a French course for Grades 10+ for Spunky to study. Gentle Giant absolutely detests French and will not be studying it beyond Grade 9 but Spunky loves the language and wants to continue with it if she can.
- Westminster Shorter Catechism memorization — the children memorize at least one song a week. We are nearing the end of Holly Dutton‘s second CD.
- Personal Devotion — the children have been reading through the King James Bible starting in Genesis. They have been recording their insights in their notebooks as they read each day.
- Family time: physical education, art, music, nature study, science — For physed, we have done a lot of activities from Homeschool Family Fitness. For art, we have done some drawing and pottery. Gentle Giant detests art, so I do not force him to do it every week. He will not choose any career that requires him to do artwork so I am not overly concerned with him not taking the subject. He actually does have some natural artistic ability and has been doing some drawings of dragons of his own volition outside of official “art” time. For music, we have been listening to the works of various classical composers in addition to taking guitar and piano lessons. For nature study, we finally identified what kind of tree is growing in our front yard. Delightful adopted a pet snail from our garden and went outside to visit it every day until it got too cold. Gentle Giant and Spunky are constantly researching different animals to adopt as pets. One of the latest suggestions has been a miniature deer that could mow our lawn for us for free. That was a no go, so now they are learning about geckos. For science, we have been studying Lyrical Life Science 3: The Human Body.
- Extracurricular activities: Lego robotics competition, guitar, piano, Heidelberg catechism class, playing with friends.
Overall, I am very pleased with our progress this year. My only concern is helping the children apply what they have learned in logic. However, the text does say it is for ages 13+ and Spunky is only 12, so it may be that I need to wait another year or so for it to become easier for her to process. In any case, even with taking sick days, we are making leaps and bounds in our learning!