Fifth Year Quarterly Review #1 - Eva Varga

November 18, 20111

I can hardly believe this is Year 5.  We began our new school year in August, coinciding with our move.  I have had many talks with them about expectations and goals as well as developing a daily schedule to which we have all agreed.  They’re excited, I’m excited; we are ALL excited. It is evident that we are more focused this year, more driven.

I thought I’d take a moment to review how we do things.

History – We will continue to use Story of the World and as before, we aren’t in any hurry to complete a volume. Presently, we are using book 3 – Early Modern Times and we integrate other subjects (art, cooking, handcrafts, science, etc.) whenever possible.  We check out books from the library that correspond with the current chapter.  A Book of Centuries will accompany along with mapwork and narration exercises that follow the history reading

Geography – We have just begun to use Mapping the World by Heart.  We’ve only done a few lessons but so far, we love it.   The maps that accompany Story of the World are also helpful and we incorporate real-life application whenever possible.  We were in San Francisco earlier this week and I encouraged the kids to navigate us through the city from our hotel to Chinatown and later to Fisherman’s Wharf.  In Scandinavia, they were both more adept at reading the public transport maps than we were!   We have also started a Postcard Album with which we fill out a notebook page for the postcards we’ve collected thus far (working backwards) and will continue to receive from friends, family, and fellow-homeschoolers around the world.

Heritage – We continue to be active in our local Sons of Norway lodge.  With grandparents so far away – the lodge holds a special place in our lives.  

Foreign Language – Both munchkins are now studying Mandarin (Chinese).  I don’t know if it is the change of teacher or the fact that Sweetie is again working 1-1 with LaoShi, but her confidence and ability have improved dramatically.  When she is doing her homework, she will often read aloud the passages from her text (using characters only!!).   We continue to use Better Chinese … she is presently in volume 3 of My First Chinese Reader.  Buddy is using the Pinyin for Everyone book.

Language Arts   While we had begun First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind and were enjoying it, much of our grammar work is now provided by the umbrella charter with whom we are working.  I hope to re-incorporate FLL2 soon as I learn to mold the umbrella more to my style. 

 – Select readings will continue to be narrated as in all years of a CM education.  

Shakespeare –   We will begin reading two plays each year.  I will also encourage them to come up with creative narrations of the reading, such as dramatized narration, comic strip, etc.  One of the plays we will study this year is Romeo & Juliet.  The second has not yet been determined. 

Free Reads – 30min/day as a suggestion.  They are reading more and more every week.  It is really becoming more natural for them and they look forward to their quiet time with a favorite book.

Writing –  I will require weekly:  

  • 1 or 2 – written narrations or  literature response from their choice of readings (gently edited);  
  • 1 – science lab book entry 
  • 1 – history narration;
  • 1 (or more) commonplace notebook entry;
  • 1 0r 2 – dictations;
  • 1 blog post (gently-edited). 

Grammar –  two lessons/week using First Language Lessons.

Memory Work & Recitation
 –   We were off to a good start in the spring, but with all the change in the summer and the demands placed upon us by the umbrella charter, this area has fallen away.  

Math – Continue with Singapore math – 1 lesson/day. Sweetie will begin Life of Fred Decimals – 3 lessons/week. 

Science – We’ve resumed focus here … one of our successes has been that I ask the munchkins to select a hands-on activity from my extensive collection of inquiry (scientific method) resources. Presently, we are focused on physical sciences which will also include a study of chemistry this year.    We’ve also just begun to incorporate the Giants of Science biography series.  We are presently reading, Isaac Newton, and the kids love it!

Nature Study – Our aim this year was to incorporate this more regularly (1 lesson/week minimum) and thus far we are nailing it!  Of course, moving to a new area certainly helps.  Entries may include any of the following: sketch an object w/ watercolors or colored pencils, monthly tree observations, maintaining bird & plant lists, recording phases of the moon, etc.  

Artist & Composer Study
 –  Oh … how I wish we were doing this.  Little by little … hopefully, we’ll be able to reincorporate this soon.

Music –  Because it is a part of the Tuesday Homeschool, Sweetie is now doing violin lessons 1x/week.  Initially, Buddy was taking guitar lessons but that has been inconsistent and the structure of the class isn’t a good fit for him, so we will be returning to piano soon.  I need to find an instructor.  They are expected to practice their instrument for at least 30 min daily.  

Adult Skills
 –  We will continue with our chore list and begin to ‘apprentice’ to learn additional skills: cooking, auto maintenance, etc.

Physical Education / Sports
 –  Swim Team with 2-3x/week. Taekwondo has been put aside.  To be honest, I think I miss it more than Sweetie does.  She loves swimming but I keep thinking we should continue with TKD … she’s so good at it!  Swimming has been a wonderful new addition – both the kiddos love it!  

 –  Sewing, embroidery, quilting, polymer clay … their interests change regularly.  However, we’ve begun a time-intensive project that we are all very excited about!  Stay tuned – I hope to share it with you all very soon.  


Nature Journal – documenting our observations and love of the natural world
Writing Notebook – whereby we write everything (narrations, science labs, copywork, etc.)
Commonplace Journal – to take down memorable quotes, living ideas as stated by other authors.
Book of Centuries – recording the events of history as we discover / read about them
Personal Journal – personal/spiritual, private

One comment

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: