Halfway Point

I’ve been terrible at keeping this blog updated with our schoolwork. We did two 6 week terms during the Fall and a short three week Holiday term after Thanksgiving. We have just begun our first Winter six week Term and here’s what we’ve been up to:

Bible: We finished Part 1 of The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos (which went through Genesis). In our short Holiday term we did some advent readings using our Jesse Tree ornaments and reading through The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Missions: We are continuing to read through I Heard Good News Today. Both children really like the short missionary stories.

Character: We focused on conflict resolution using the Brother Offended study made by Doorposts. It is very helpful to refer the kids back to our lessons when they are in conflict with one another. This term we have begun using Our 24 Family Ways.

Awana: Awana has been going very well. Jonathan finished his WingRunner book and all of his frequent flyer cards before Christmas. Now he’s working through a book of “Extra Extra Credit” verses. Grace finished her HangGlider book and is now working on her frequent flyer cards. I’ve lost count of how many verses they have memorized now.

History: We have been learning about the early American colonies. In the Fall we focused on the pilgrims and Plymouth plantation and have moved on to learning about some of the other early colonies. We just finished learning about New Amsterdam. We’ve read:

The House on Stink Alley by F.N. Monjo

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B. J. Hennessy

Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh

Sarah Morton’s Day by Kate Waters

Samuel Eaton’s Day by Kate Waters

If You Sailed on the Mayflower (parts) by Ann McGovern

Pilgrim Cat by Carol Peacock

Young Squanto by Andrew Woods

Squanto and the Pilgrims by A.M. Anderson (audiobook)

Wooden Shoes in America by Alice Dalgliesh

Geography: We learned about the geography of each of the colonies we studied– Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York using the WhichWay USA puzzle books put out by Highlights. I love that it is helping Jonathan develop his map reading and logic skills. Each book has 13 puzzles and we will do about one or two a day. The puzzles are still a little too challenging for Grace.

Science: We continued our study of the human body and focused on the digestive system, circulatory system, and respiratory system before Christmas break. We have started back up with the nervous system and our five senses this month. We read:

What Happens to a Hamburger? by Paul Showers

Usborne Flip Flap Body Book

A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers

Hear Your Heart by Paul Showers

Oxygen Keeps You Alive by Franklyn Branley

A Tour of Your Respiratory System by Mary Reina

Nature Study:  We continued reading Outdoor Secrets and using the guide Outdoor Secrets Companion. We read about the century plant and cacti and desert plants.


Kaitlyn was sick this fall and has needed daily nebulizer treatments for asthma. Consequently, we’ve watched a lot of Signing Time as Kaitlyn loves this show and it keeps her still while she’s having a treatment. The big kids have picked up on many signs– but not as much as Kaitlyn!

We’ve continued with Muzzy for Spanish and the kids still seem to enjoy it.


Reading- As of this post, Jonathan has done over 40 lessons in All About Reading Level 3. He will most likely finish the program this term. I’m debating whether or not to purchase Level 4. He’s reading quite fluently and is finely feeling confident enough to pick up chapter books. His first chapter books were Boxcar Children books (which he has heard over and over again as they are his favorite audiobooks). He’s slowly trying other books. We are trying to have him read at least 15 minutes a day from a book of his choice. Right now he is reading Socks by Beverly Cleary.

Handwriting- We are almost finished with Handwriting Without Tears- First Grade. Jonathan has developed his confidence in writing longer sentences and paragraphs as well as writing in lowercase. We began copywork this term with sentences from the books we are reading for Language Arts. I’m thinking of switching to Getty-Dubay writing as we move towards cursive.

Spelling- We are halfway through All About Spelling 1. He spells CVC words comfortably and we are working on using some of the common consonant diagraphs.

Language Arts- We began the program English Lessons Through Literature Level 1. This is a gentle introduction to language and grammar. Mostly we are reading quality literature and poetry and recognizing some initial grammar rules such as capitalization and punctuation.

Math- Jonathan has mostly finished Singapore 1A. He easily grasps the concepts of addition and subtraction, yet fact memorization has not come easy to him. I recently acquired the programs Math-It and Pre-Math-It and we have started using Pre-Math It (with double-9 dominoes- his favorite) to work on memorizing our addition table. We have also tried Xtra-Math online, but the timed tests seem to cause a lot of anxiety even if we try to emphasize that it’s just a game!

I’m hesitating on moving into 1B simply because I want him to get the facts down before we move into more advanced (double digit) addition and subtraction. Also, looking at state standards, first graders are supposed to be comfortable adding and subtracting within 20, which is what 1A covers. So it’s fine if we dwell here for a bit.

Co-Op: Jonathan’s been doing music, gym, and art in co-op. His favorite by far is gym. He is an active kid!


Reading: Grace has made big strides in learning to read! We are over halfway done with All About Reading 1 and she has finished two (out of three) readers.

Handwriting: Grace is fairly comfortable writing capital letters, but still struggles with lowercase letters. We are going to begin Handwriting Without Tears- First Grade  and go slowly through all of the lowercase letters again. She completed the kindergarten level last year, but I didn’t feel like she was ready for the first grade program until now.

Math: Grace finished Singapore EarlyBird A. Now… I’m not sure. We’ve made it several chapters into EarlyBird B, but the concepts are getting more advanced (number bonds, addition, subtraction). I’m thinking of moving her into playing math games such as Pre-Math-It to work on number facts.

Co-Op: Grace is in art and Spanish at co-op. She performed a Spanish song for Christmas with her class. She loves art and is always drawing at home.

So that’s our school year so far!