Sunday, July 31, 2011

2010-2011 School Year In Review...

I went through some pictures to share for the slide show at our tutorial slide show. I'm always hard on myself because I always dream more things than it is possible to do, but I didn't really feel like this was our best year. Mostly because we were so busy with other things which really took us away from school more than it should have. Monday we were mostly home, but we were always tired and slow to start. Then Jackson had guitar lessons. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the twins went to Mother's Day Out at our church. I thought we'd get more done with them at school for a few hours. Some days we did but getting up and getting out and then having to pick them up... Of course, then there was also the thrill of only having two children and luring me to Target! Wednesday I had to take them to speech therapy, and Friday was our tutorial. All this kept us going and going and not as much school happening as I would've liked.

My main goal this year is to streamline our life and not allow the HOME part be removed from our homeschool! Yet, when I looked back through the pictures I had taken maybe we got more accomplished than I gave us credit for- more important things at least, like field trips, projects, quality time. That's worth getting behind in a few workbooks any day, right?

So, here are some of our 4th/2nd grade highlights. We always take "first day" pictures. Aren't they cute? Of course, Will wouldn't cooperate :(

Every year we always raise butterflies. I couldn't believe how into it the twins were this year! Will especially was amazed and loved everything about the entire process.

Of course, I love the educational value and all, but I have to say the great pictures I usually get on release day inspires me in no small part :)

We had a great time on "Release Day". We use orange slices to entice the butterflies to hand around a bit. The twins loved it, but it was a challenge to keep them from eating the orange slices :)
Of course, Jackson is in his happy place any time animals are involved:

One of our favorite field trips of the year is the Trade Days at Traveler's Rest where they have lots of reenactors showing trades from the 1800's. My kids definitely inherited my love of history and always want to stay there all day!

They have lots of fun stations for the kids to make things:

But this year BY FAR their FAVORITE thing was the washing clothes station. I cannot begin to explain how much they loved this. They washed clothes for probably 30 minutes and were upset when we had to leave! Maybe I need to set something like this up at home. I'll take all the laundry help I can get!

We started off the year with a fun unit about TN History. Of course, Ashton was all about the crafts and her iris turned out beautiful:

These two were working on their diaramas for our history fair. Maggie made a Native American scene and Jackson created Fort Nashborough. Ashton made Ruby Falls.

We took a field trip to the Bicentennial Mall which is wonderful. On the giant map of TN Jackson found his namesake city. We played lots of great games on this giant map to learn the geography of our state. I love this place.We also went to Fort Nashborough to see the beginnings of our great city.

Every year our homeschool group has a History Fair. It's the first event we ever participated in and remains our favorite. This year we presented our TN history projects. It came out pretty awesome. We made lifesize research reports of famous Tennesseans and wrote acrostics with their names and facts about them. Maggie chose Nancy Ward. Ashton chose Grace (?) a famous opera singer mostly so she could draw a pretty dress :)

Jackson, of course, chose Andrew Jackson.

They also did a leaf collection. I gave them a menu of project choices to complete like watercolors of the state symbols, flip books of facts, maps of the 3 grand divisions, Q is for duck flip book (including facts like V is for TN because it is the Volunteer State). Ashton also worked with her Aunt Donnie and sewed a state flag. They were all so wonderful we almost didn't have enough display room!

They also insisted on dressing up. Maggie was Nancy Ward. Jackson was Davy Crockett, and Ashton was a little girl from the Civil War.

What a great day to show off lots of hard work!

This year we had the amazing opportunity to participate in a tutorial. I taught Story of the World to grades 2nd, 3rd and 4th which meant that I got to have both kids in my class! It was great teaching in a "classroom" setting again, and the kids loved it and made some great friends. They both took anatomy which included dozens of fun experiments. Jackson took an IEW class, and his writing was really improved by the end of the year. Ashton was in heaven in her Meet the Masters art class. They both took sign language which to be honest I was a little unsure about at first. However, their teacher was phenomenal and they both took to sign language and were quite good at it.

I only remembered my camera about twice. This is Jackson in my class making a mosaic when we studied Rome.

On the last day of my class everyone got to dress up like Romans. My history loving kids had chosen to be Romans for Halloween this year, so that was easy :)

So, as I look back it truly was a great year. Homeschooling is such an honor and a blessing. I'm even more excited about this year and looking forward to many more years spending time and making memories with my 4 little blessings.