End of Year Ruminations

Although we are still finishing projects and books through the month of June, this is the time of year when I like to sit down and journal my thoughts; reflect on our year,  and write down what we have accomplished as well as what we have neglected to study.  Although this journaling is for my benefit,  I hope that you will enjoy hearing about our year as well.  In fact,  I would love to hear about your year.  I learn so much from other homeschoolers and even though we should not compare ourselves with other families,  I don’t think it is wrong to inspire others and share our successes and failures.

I guess a part of this journaling comes from my own insecurities and feelings that I did not do enough.  I have a feeling of uneasiness at the end of a school year and begin to doubt myself and conclude that I am not scholarly enough or that I did not do enough to contribute to my children’s academic success.    My dear husband always   reminds me that our children are kind, happy, and smart too.  I reply with a halfhearted  “Yea, I guess you are right.”  So, I write to convince myself that our year was adequate and that the Lord taught us plenty.

For our family this was a year of laying some foundations.  We were blessed to be able to take two worldview classes.  Each lasted 10 weeks and was taught by a brilliant and Godly young man who just graduated from The Masters College. The first was one called Genesis & Origins and the second was Apologetic issues. We used the books War of the Worldviews and Answer’s Book I and II by Ken Ham.  These classes were somewhat difficult for us but we studied as a family and had many discussions around the dinner table. We learned that the word of God is our final authority when it comes to science, ethics or worldview.  We learned about young-earth creationism and some of the counter arguments.  We learned to share the gospel using the creation story first and then leading into our need for a Savior. We became familiar with some of the foremost objections to the Christian faith throughout history and studied some of the essential teachings of Christianity including The Trinity, The deity of Christ and the sufficiency  of Scripture. We will continue studying these essential truths throughout our homeschool journey.  Last summer we went through Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis for Kids and this prepared us somewhat for these classes.

For Math we completed our Math program Teaching Textbooks.  After using Saxon math, some of this was review for us but we needed the extra practice. Teaching textbooks eliminated much of the stress for our family and it enabled me to learn some  of the concepts that I was not able to teach easily using Saxon.

For history we completed A Beka’s New World History & Geography.  We love A Beka history and feel it has been a good overview for us .  We became familiar with many of the world leaders, our US presidents, our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  We learned about Fidel Castro and what a welfare state is.  We learned about the horrors of communism and how some of our own presidents were often sympathetic to communist regimes. (I thought this was just the case with the current administration…not so) We discovered one of America’s greatest heroes General Douglas Mac Arthur and how he bravely fought against communism and fascism.  We read about how he sent 1000 missionaries to Japan and requested that 10 million Bibles  in the Japanese language be sent after the war.

We also completed watching Our American Heritage series by David Barton. This series reinforced much of what we learned in   A Beka but went into even more detail about the influence that the Bible and Christianity has had in United States history.  While some historians quote other historians, David Barton uses all original sources, documents, letters, last will and testaments etc. We also enjoyed watching many of the Drive Thru History programs and we watch Glenn Beck Founders Friday’s.

One of our favorite homeschool delights is reading good books together. For read alouds this year we read:  Johnny Tremain, Little Britches, Teddy’s Button, Titus Comrade of the cross,(Lamplighter) Winter with the Moody’s, Spring with the Moody’s, Six….If you lived series, Silver for George Washington, The First Year, (Meadowcroft) and America’s Lost Dream.

For Science we began working our way through Apologia Exploring Creation through General Science. We are planning to cover this subject in two years rather than one. Science is a difficult subject for me but I’m figuring we will work through the book slowly hoping to  gain knowledge in this area.  I appreciate the authors style and like that he teaches from a Christian perspective.

We continued to work on typing skills and practice about 10-15 min a day on this.  Copy work has slowed down some but when Grandma comes over she will sit at the kitchen table with them and copy verses, poetry or historical quotations with them. There is something wonderful about a loving and gentle Grandma who offers her time to mentor her grandchildren.  My boys have excellent penmanship thanks to Grandma. My boys also have been working their way thorough Daily Grams and Read & Think Skill Sheets by A Beka.

For fine art they are taking art classes  and participated in an Art show this spring.  This will be their 3rd year studying drawing, pastels, water color and acrylic.  Regretfully, we stopped piano for a while to save money but they still practice daily and are keeping up their repertoire. We love the old hymns and practice singing with the guitar or piano on a regular basis.

Our reading program includes the Abeka readers as well as some biographies like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Noah Webster.

My youngest has been enjoying the children’s Great Illustrated ClassicsThese are abridged versions of many great classics.  I know they are not the best choice compared to the non-abridged but he loves them and is thoroughly enjoying reading. He especially loves that there is a picture on every second page!

We are beginning to work through the Jump In writing program and I regret that we have not completed many assignments yet.  They have completed a few  humorous, opinion and persuasion  writing assignments and written letters to friends and relatives. I’m not sure if I’m happy with this program and may begin something else this next school year.

We are nearly finished with our A Word a Week Vocabulary Program. We simply discuss the new word, try to use it during the day and then add it to our list of vocabulary sentences. I like this book because it is easy and covers grades 5-8.

This year we memorized Ephesians 6, Psalm 1, and Romans 12.We also memorized the Preamble to the Constitution, The First Amendment to the Constitution, and are currently working to memorize the first 2 paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence.

This year we’ve been home more than usual as we are a one car family now and have not gone on many field trips. If we did go anywhere we went as a family with Dad.  We enjoyed our day visiting Knott’s Berry Farm when they had Civil War displays and we visited the Ronald Reagan Library during their Colonial Day.We were blessed to be able to  hear Ken Ham speak at Calvary Chapel and my husband and I were able to attend a conference by Steve and Teri Maxwell who wrote Managers of the home. We were also fortunate to hear Voddie Baucham speak at Hope Chapel this year.

God has been faithful  and has blessed our family in so many ways. I’m grateful that my dear husband is still working as so many Dad’s in our homeschool  community have lost their employment. We have a Grandma who has been a blessing to our family and she is healthy and very strong . For the most part we’ve  all been healthy except for occasional colds and flu, and my boys are still best friends who play for hours on end.

We will  celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary this summer and even though we are older parents we love homeschooling and cannot think of anything we’d rather be doing. We pray that the Lord will multiply our efforts, keep our hearts, and help us to raise up Godly sons for His glory. Please pray for us that we will be able to complete the job that the Lord has for us. Thanks for reading my end of year ruminations………I hope I did not bore you too much!


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