We made it through another nine weeks of school with a week-long break at Thanksgiving to see the Minneapolis relatives and a partial break in October to see the Memphis relatives. Here is a summary of what we learned this quarter:
Tapestry of Grace is our program for both History and Literature. We read through The Great Depression through WWII. Elizabeth learned about FDR and Joseph Stalin in depth and Kyle and Jessi learned about Winston Churchill in depth. John and I read through _American in the Time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt_. The kids all learned about Anne Frank, Corrie Ten Boom, and the Holocaust. We also learned about Japanese internment. We worked on a timeline of WWII, starting with initial German aggression in 1937. We ended with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, prompting the end of the war.
Elizabeth enjoyed reading _The Lord of the Flies_, _Our Town_ and _The mportance of Being Earnest_, and _The Red Pony_ by John Steinbeck. Jessi and Kyle read _Mr. Popper's Penguins_, _Mary Poppins_, and _Homer Price_. John read a lot of classic stories, like _Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel_, _A New Coat for Anna_ and _Madeline_.
We are still a Math U See family. Elizabeth finished Zeta, which is mainly math with decimals and percent and started Pre-Algebra. We are trying to get her motivated to work extra hard in math so that she can get through the lesson in record time and hopefully catch up by summer time. Jessi finished Delta, which is high level multiplication and division, and started Epsilon, which is fractions. She is also behind in math, mainly due to problems with long division. Kyle is on track to finish Math U See Gamma by the end of the year. John is doing well in Alpha, though he needs a little extra work to catch up.
My friend, Tina and I are having a friend teach creative writing this year to all the kids twice a month as part of our co-op. She worked with the three oldest of our kids and two of Tina's kids on writing a newspaper and creating a radio drama. The kids really enjoyed the exercise and are learning a lot. Elizabeth is very creative in her descriptions. Jessi likes the human interest stories and Kyle likes fact-based articles. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows our kids. She also taught John and Tina's daughter some basic storytelling techniques. All the children loved learning from Miss Jenny.
Elizabeth got through eight modules of General Science covering The Scientific Method, the History of Science, and overview of the basic studies of science. Jessi and Kyle worked with Tina's oldest kids going through all but the last two chapters of Astronomy. John started reading _Christian Liberty Nature Readers Book 1_ with Tina's daughter. When we finish Astronomy, we will be learning about marine life.
We have a Spanish-speaking friend come twice a month to help us learn, mainly by speaking it. He taught basic conversational questions and instructions that I could use with the kids. The biggest problem in this area is getting me to talk in Spanish, since it isn't native. I think attending a bi-lingual church is helping in the matter, at least for me.
The kids are taking classes once a month from an art teacher. There have been some creative things from the Tapestry of Grace curriculum, like making posters and collages and play-dough scultpures. The kids also like checking out drawing books at the library and working on them without any help from me, probably because I wouldn't be much help in the area. I like their independent spirits. The primary art form of choice currently is manga. Elizabeth is getting quite good at it. My efforts at music became rather stalled this quarter.
I spent a few days reviewing the schedule I have with the kids to make sure that I spend an equal amount of time with them and add time for me and time with them individually. God has been really gracious in showing me a potentially really good plan. Another revelation is that there might be a better way to manage all the papers they create than three ring binders, which are currently NOT used by anybody. I switched to seven pocket file folders for everyone.