2014-2015 in Review

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Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015

Whew! It is hard to believe how fast this school year has flown! We are almost to the end of our year, and I am deep into planning our next school year. I would have to say that this was one of our best years yet. We got a lot accomplished! And it turned out that high school isn’t so bad after all. Smile

Here are some thoughts and comments on the past year and the curricula that we used:

I have worked hard this year at simplifying and organizing. I have a lot I want to do this summer, but I do have to say that it has made our year easier. I have declutter a lot of extra items and gotten much more organized with regular cleaning chores. My Well Planned Day planner bears testament to the fact that I am using it regularly as well.

Curriculum

We used some favorites this past year and then added some new ones into the mix. As my kids get older, I am learning more and more what works for them. That means that I hit the mark with the curriculum choices more often!

Bible:

Boo had lessons with my mom, read her Bible, listened to teachings, and went to Bible study each week. We are working her into a more adult-style way of using her faith.

Buddy read from his Bible and worked on AWANA memory verses.

Language:

Boo used Applications of Grammar this year. I love this curriculum for her because it is thorough, but easy for me to use. She is my traditional-style schooler, so workbooks are a good fit for her. I put together a literature curriculum for her, and she made it through all of the books. She doesn’t love reading, so that was quite a feat for us! I did allow her to listen to a couple of the books on mp3 from Librivox just to shake things up a bit and make it easier. And she also looked up and defined a number of vocabulary words.

Buddy used All About Reading and All About Spelling again this year. I can’t say enough about this series. His reading has improved dramatically since we started using them. It fits right in with his right-brained, artistic mindset. He also did choice independent reading, and I read aloud several books to him.

Math:

Boo used Math-U-See and finished up Pre-Algebra and is working her way quickly through Algebra 1. We took some extra time last year to make sure she had a solid foundation before we got into higher-level math, and that time has shown this year.

Buddy is still doing some Math-U-See as well, but we have moved onto Life of Fred for most of his Math work. The quirky stories fit his learning style very well. I am very happy with this choice and ordered the next few books for next year.

Science:

Boo completed Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology from Dr. Jay Wile. With the exception of microorganisms, which is necessary but not really our interest, we loved this book. I worked with her on this one most days, and we both learned so much. We had a lot of fun with the experiments, as well.

Buddy worked through two of Apologia’s Zoology books. He will finish the third one next year. He preferred the land animals one, but had fun with them both. His favorite activity was the candy activity that showed how camouflage works!

Social Studies:

Boo studied World Geography using lessons I created using several books. The base for the study was DK’s Geography of the World book. With tons of full-color photos and information, I felt like she got a really good overview of the world. She also completed maps and did some reading from Operation World. I intended for her to do more hands-on activities, such as cooking and art, but we just ran out of time. I do think those activities would have been helpful in learning about the cultures, though.

Buddy also studied geography, with a brief look at each continent, some map activities, and study in geographical terms. I used books from the library, and the online games Stack the States and Stack the Countries to work with him, too.

Arts:

Boo worked hard for her music performance credit this year. She had a solo in our church program and sang solos and duets for other events. She has had several years of piano lessons. This year she has begun working on accompanying someone singing for praise and worship.

Buddy had piano lessons and a speaking role in our church program. He also had an art lesson each week and is learning to draw.

P.E.:

Both of my kids spend many hours practicing for ball and playing games. Boo spend some time at the YMCA working out, and both kids do Wii Fit. I am hoping to improve on P.E. next year, because Buddy will be old enough to go upstairs at the Y and  use the treadmills and other machines.

Other:

Boo used online programs to learn some Spanish and for Keyboarding. I liked the Keyboarding program, but will add some bookwork in for Spanish 2.

Co-op:

We had a great year at co-op. Both of the kids were in a wonderful poetry class and completed books of their own poems. They also had a creative writing class and wrote short stories. It stretched them both and was fun as well. They also learned some Spanish from the Spanish pastor at the church that hosts co-op. Buddy enjoyed a study on pioneer days. Both kids had choir.

All-in-all, this was a good school year. I am happy with what we accomplished, but I have some goals for next year. I am hoping to have both kids work a little more independently so that working with them one at a time will be easier. And I am hoping to have some more hands-on activities for our studies in World History (Boo) and Ancient History (Buddy). For now, though, we are going to enjoy a summer break and some ball games!

5 Questions to Ask About Electives and Your Middle Schooler

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How To Choose Homeschool Electives for Middle School

While core subjects by necessity make up a majority of our day, electives are a very important part of our homeschool curriculum as well. Electives offer students a chance to explore different interests. In our homeschool, we also use them as a way to offer our middle schooler choices. Depending on where you live, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the number of possibilities. Today’s homeschoolers can take advantage of everything from cooking classes to choir to homeschool sports teams. So, how do you choose electives? First, I strongly advise you give your middle school child input, if not complete choice, in his activities. Here are a few other things to consider when choosing elective classes and activities for your middle school student:

1. What types of activities does your child show an interest in or aptitude for? I have one child who has to work hard at reading and another who intensely dislikes math. That is enough struggle for me; I don’t choose outside activities or classes that will need the same level of parent involvement.

Read more at Hedua.com.

Working and Homeschooling

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Crestview Heights Academy Working and Homeschooling

For most of my homeschooling career I have worked part time while I homeschooled. When I first started our daughter out in Kindergarten, I was running a home daycare that I continued until she was in second grade. Then I babysat just for a couple of children. I have also taught special interest classes at our local community college and libraries, created my own downloadable activities for sale at Crestview Heights Academy, and currently am the print editor at Home Educating Family.

I would be dishonest if I tried to say that it was easy to work and homeschool. It’s not. Sometimes I feel like I am doing a disservice to one or the other. Sometimes I am stressed out. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with everything. And often I am missing out on personal things that I enjoyed. Still, I wouldn’t trade either one. I love homeschooling, and even with working part time I am still spending more time with my kids than if they were in traditional school. And I also love the challenge my work gives me and the connections I have with adults through it.

Here are a few things I have learned about working and homeschooling:

I can’t do it without God. Without prayer and time with God, my days are sure to go haywire. Spending time reading my Bible, listening to teachings, and praying is essential.

This is a season. It will not always be this way. One day these kids will be off on their own, and things will go back to “normal.” So, I am going to cherish every second I have.

For the time being, many of my personal interests have been put on hold. I do not sew, cross stich, or crochet like I used to. I am a voracious reader, but with so much of my reading time needed for school and work-related projects, I don’t read nearly as much personally as I used to. And I read a LOT more youth and young adult fiction, because it is faster and easier to read. Even our newspaper piles up, and I skim through several in one sitting.

I need to be organized. I’m still working on this one, to be honest. But I am much more organized than I used to be.

Simplifying makes things easier. I have spent the past few months decluttering and simplifying our home and lives. I still have a long way to go, but it is getting better. I tend to be a pack rat, but more stuff means that I have to organize before I clean, and I just don’t have the time for that.

Keeping a calendar and schedule are important. I can often be heard to say, “Let me check my calendar, and I will get back to you.” I no longer say yes to anything until I check my calendar and think it through. I also try to keep on a schedule. As my children have gotten older, they can do more schoolwork on their own. So I set aside the morning for one-on-one and family school time, and work in the afternoons. Most of my family  is in bed by 9:30 or 10:00, so I spend an hour or so working after everyone is asleep, as well.

While my days are more than busy, they are also full of experiences and learning. And I wouldn’t change that for anything.

Deal of the Day: Learning Folders

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Learning Folders is today’s Deal of the Day at Currclick. This is your chance to save 50% on a great resource for your children.

Learning Folders

Learning folders are part personal dictionary, part almanac, and part encyclopedia.  You can use this eBook to create a personalized learning folder that will meet the needs of each individual child.  This eBook includes a materials list, directions, and learning folder pieces for early childhood, language, math, science, social studies, arts and Bible.

This deal lasts until 10 AM CST tomorrow (5-21-2015).

Stages of Development and the Middle Schooler

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I was trying to understand what the teacher was saying, I really was, but he might as well have been speaking a foreign language. I had always loved my classes, and before I entered middle school, learning came easily. But this year was different. Algebra 1/2, Grammar, Science. They just didn’t make any sense. A year later, however, the gibberish began to make sense, and I had no problems with high school grammar and math.

How Do Middle Schoolers Learn?

These experiences came to mind a few years later, when I was an education major in college. Studying Educational Psychology, I came across the work of Jean Piaget, a Swiss biologist and psychologist born just before 1900. Suddenly my struggle to understand abstract concepts in middle school began to make so much sense. Having entered Kindergarten at age four, I was the youngest student in my class, and was just eleven that miserable year. Most of my peers were twelve and even thirteen.

Read more at Hedua.com.

Introducing New Testament Copywork and SALE!

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Check out our newest addition. Crestview Heights Academy is introducing the first volume of New Testament Copywork with a Pay What You Want sale.

New Testament 1

This weekend only all of our current Bible Story Copywork titles are available for Pay What You Want!

Old Testament Bundle 2

This is a great time to check out our Bible Story Copywork while paying what you want! But hurry, this sale ends Monday at 12:00 PM CST.