Average weekly time: Total 13 hours
Together (8 hours)/ Kid Uno independently (5 hours)
Rate each book or activity (like, neutral, dislike).
Add a few comments.
Any changes for next child?
Poetry and Recitation
Walter de la Mare
Neutral. Not super memorable.
James Whitcomb Riley
Like. But holy cow—reading that dialect aloud!
Like. I liked her far more than I expected. Kid Uno loves her.
Memorize at least one poem per term
Like. Kid Uno complains, and picks the shortest possible poems, but she is good at it, and it’s good for her. Learned “Little Orphant Annie” for Gigi for Christmas; did pretty well.
Celtic, Rag, Gospel, Bluegrass, Showtunes, Hip Hop, Polka, Jazz, Marches
Like. AO music appreciation is all classical music, which is fine, BUT there is so much other music out there! So I picked a variety—some I thought Kid Uno would like, and some she wouldn’t—and listened to each genre for four weeks. I think she liked it all except jazz and hip hop.
Like. This includes some non-hymns we sing frequently at church, and she gets really excited and sings loudly when there is one she has learned. 🙂
Like. Found a teacher and rented a violin beginning of Term 3—yay! Practices 10+ minutes per day. Bought a piano, and she plays around on that too, and composed some music.
Tales From Shakespeare
Like. We both think they are a bit repetitive—two couples get confused, girls disguise themselves as boys, everyone pairs off in the end. Except Macbeth—that was a breath of fresh air.
Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 1)
Neutral. The theology was over Kid Uno’s head, she hasn’t read much of the Bible so all the Biblical references were over her head, and reading it aloud was a tongue twister (lots of giggles at “the which”). Halfway through the year, I debated dropping it. But I decided to keep it for the exposure to the older English, and it is a classic that lots of children grew up reading. I’m very glad she had already read Little Pilgrim’s Progress, so she knew the storyline. It’s very Protestant, of course, and there were one or two derogatory references to the Pope, but I didn’t have to do any explaining since it went completely over her head anyway.
Like. Actually, I loved it. How did I never read this one as kid?! Looking forward to reading it to Kid Dos.
Wind in the Willows
Like. I remembered this as a very boring book from my childhood, but I really enjoyed reading it aloud. The language is very lyrical…and I need to keep my phone handy to look up some words the next time around.
Like. Started slowly, but a very good story. This is one I wish I had pre-read, to know who the characters were, what the historical significance was, and how to pronounce all the French. Eventually I printed a map so we could see what was happening. And AO schedules half a chapter per week, which we eventually doubled because that pace was way too slow—we kept forgetting it between readings.
Like. Loved it. Great stories, funny. The chapters are so long—about 45 minutes to read one aloud. I scheduled the entire book (AO only does the first half), so two chapters a week. I wish I had pre-read the first couple chapters to get a feel for the language before reading aloud.
One Small Square Backyard
Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount. This one is the easiest for actually doing activities—Kid Uno made a little square in our backyard.
One Small Square Rainforest
Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount.
One Small Square Night Sky
Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount. This is my least favorite—I don’t think the small square idea works so well in the sky.
One Small Square Coral Reef
Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount.
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (k-2; first half)
Like. This is not easy to use (it needs an editor and better formatting) and is time consuming. It requires some prep and pre-reading for me for each lesson. I did them in the order suggested by a mom online. But I love that it integrates all the sciences, and I love the discussion…we need to improve in discussion around here. I love that it explains so many scientific concepts (for me to teach) because I just don’t remember them from way back when. The activities are easy to do; some more engaging than others. Magnetism and gravity were big hits. I check out library books on most of the topics, and hope (not require) that Kid Uno reads them. I think it’s a more modern and comprehensive science resource than the Handbook of Nature Study used by AO.
Among the …. People
Like. Old and quaint. Nice combo of accurate animal descriptions and slight moral. I’m not tired of reading them yet, and we’ve learned quite a bit. Sometimes we look up pictures and info online or in a field guide.
Like. Practical and versatile. Kid Uno picked activities from each of the monthly sections. I may use it again for Year 3 (there are plenty of monthly activities left).
Trial and Triumph
Dislike. Very much. It was ok until the end of the Francis of Assisi chapter, when the author’s offensive (and wrong, imo) theology suddenly poked its head out of its hole and started climbing out. That is not the kind of church history I want my kids to hear. So I dropped it, permanently. I might keep it around for later years (might be useful for analyzing a certain theological viewpoint). Or not. It was also difficult to read aloud, and finally I decided it wasn’t me…it’s poorly written, with lots of run-on sentences, and references to people and events with no background information, and long quotations that don’t mean much. Anyway, it’s a relief to have that book gone for good. Luke has been reading Acts to the kids at night, and next year we will read short biographical sketches of different saints (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant), so that will be our “church history”, which is plenty at this age.
Child’s History of the World (First Half)
Like. I skipped the first three chapters, since we were reading Genesis anyway, and we read through chapter 46 this year. Kid Uno narrates every couple of paragraphs, and we follow closely with the globe. It has been a great overview of world history and geography. I’m using the most recent edition, so there is almost no racism/classim. I edit (on the fly) very infrequently, and feel like the author gives pretty fair treatment to different religions and people groups (other than the many references to “Christian” nations and rulers).
Joan of Arc (Stanley)
Neutral. This is the fourth Stanley book I’ve read, and I’m not a big fan. The pictures are good, but the writing isn’t very engaging. We read the Signature biography of Joan of Arc, too, and it was much better (though longer). I’m not going to schedule any more of Stanley’s books in the future. There are more interesting authors.
Like. But I am postponing them for Year 3 and beyond. Kid Uno started the year reading one per week. Some were good, and some she just didn’t get. So halfway through the year, we switched to the Signature series, which are written for younger children.
Like. These are so good for this age. I have vivid memories of Pasteur and Audubon from reading these as a kid, and Kid Uno has been gobbling them up…2-3 per week. With good narrations afterward. I bought 50 of the 51 (couldn’t justify $14 for Jackie O), and she has read about 2/3 of the series. Minor drawback is that they were written in the 50s and 60s, so slaves are referred to as “servants”, and there are references to “Negros” and “colored”, so we have discussed those terms. But the Crazy Horse and Geronimo and G.W. Carver bios are nicely done; not stereotypical. And there are lots of bios of women, which is awesome.
Tree in the Trail
Like. Not as good as Paddle; the storyline doesn’t flow so well. But the pictures are great, and the mapwork is good.
Like. But there is very little geography. I would classify it more as technology, with about 3 chapters of geography, if that.
Rod&Staff Penmanship 4
Like. Completely self-directed, takes about 10 minutes a day. Beautiful penmanship, and I like that the copywork is Bible and bird/animal themes. We split each two-page spread into three days.
Rod&Staff Penmanship 5
Like. Completely self-directed, takes about 10 minutes a day. Beautiful penmanship, and I like that the copywork is Bible and bird/animal themes. Kid Uno liked the Braille and Morse Code bits. We split each two-page spread into three days.
Life of Fred
Neutral. Kid Uno loves it. The bloom has worn off for me; I’m tired of reading the story, and don’t find it funny anymore. We do it once a week, and she rarely remembers the previous concepts. We did Dogs and most of Edgewood. I will probably hand it over to her next year; it is solely a fun supplement, so if she still enjoys it, it’s all hers.
I Love Math books
Like. Kid Uno learned quite a bit from reading these. Toward the end of the year, she complained that there was nothing new; she had read them all several times. So I won’t schedule them again for her next year.
Ray’s Primary Arithmetic
Like. Methodical and easy to use (with Eclectic series teacher guide). I LOVE that one little book covers two years of math. Have thoroughly covered multiplication and division up to 100. She is not solid (needs to memorize the facts) but understands the concepts and is pretty good with the lower numbers. Introduction to lots of measurements at the end of the year. She did most of the work orally, till we got to the tables section. I ordered the Ray’s Key, and am glad I did, since the problems take longer to check now.
Like. Have finished red and some of blue. Love that it introduces concepts (like equations and negative numbers) far earlier than traditional math. Also concepts not covered (so far) by Rays. Kid Uno does several pages 1-2x per week. Usually enjoys it—sometimes complains, but frequently does extra pages because she’s been having fun. I plan to finish the series next year.
I think we have a strong math program combining Rays and Miquon.
Bible and Memorization
AO Genesis and Matthew Selections
Neutral. I like having some Bible scheduled, and I like not having to schedule it. But the AO selections don’t touch any passages with violence or sex, which makes it disjointed and kind of random. And starting with Genesis and Matthew is not the most creative system ever. It’s good enough for now, though. We’ve had some nice discussions.
Memorize Bible Passage Each Term
Like. Kid Uno complains every day, and gets a bit overwhelmed by long passages. But I think it’s a much better way to memorize than random single verses. We have some friends who organized some verses for their own memorization (I think they are topical or thematic), and I may incorporate their selections next year.
McGuffey’s Third Reader
Like. Great for student read-aloud skills. Great for vocabulary. This level has been a challenge for her (vocabulary, pronunciation, and content). It’s good for learning to read critically. I’ve been asking Kid Uno to find the main idea in each paragraph, or asking her to explain it in her own words, or asking a question that must be answered in the paragraph. I find the extreme moralistic tone highly entertaining, and Shalom likes most of the stories. Covers interesting topics. She reads aloud every day, breaking up each lesson into 2-3 days. Have started dictation with the vocabulary words at the end.
Like. The mirror, and female/child theme was interesting.
Like. All the still life paintins started to look the same after a while.
Neutral. I thought I liked him more than I do.
Like. Kid Uno finished the book during Term 1.
Scott Foresman Art Grade 1, 2, 3
Like. Kid Uno picked one of two projects each week. She didn’t like the first grade book, but was enthusiastic about the second and third. It seemed a bit heavy on the cut, paste, paper type projects, but some of her projects were really cool. Self-directed.
Like. She finished the book this year, and I think the daily practice really developed her skills in perspective and shape.
Like. Combo of observation and art. Kid Uno doesn’t put much effort into it, so the results are fairly mediocre. About 1x per week. Might help to assign topics more methodically, but I think it’s ok as-is.
Ballet at SLC Ballet
Dislike. She and Kid Dos took the fall semester together. Neither of them were very enthusiastic. Partly because they didn’t perform at the end (we were out of town), and partly because the teacher was not very good. High cost, low yield.
Soccer at Sorensen Rec Center
Like. All three older kids did a month of spring soccer (2 games per week). Good overall; low cost, short time commitment, coaches and refs ranked non-existent to mediocre, but it was fun. Would do again.
I aim for one outing a week, and include travel/vacations
Like. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling. Lots of zoo visits, This Is the Place State Park, lots of walks on the Jordan River trail, lots of parks, three weeks of FL beaches at Christmas, road trip to CA, Pacific Ocean, sledding, hikes, camping, Stockton visits, ice skating, exploring downtown SLC, Wheeler Farm, gardening, raising chicks and rabbits…It’s nice to keep track to see the variety of experiences over a year.
Skill building (chores, baking, big art projects)
Like. This category needs a different name. It includes art projects that are time consuming for me (clay sculpting and needle felting), chores she learned (cleaning the bathroom), skills Kid Uno wants to improve (baking—brownies, cookies, rice krispie treats, pie), and projects/activities she initiates (building forts, riding a bike, selling lemonade and paintings, cooking eggs and chili). About half way through the year, I realized she really wanted to do more cooking/baking, so I bumped it up on my priority list, and I’m glad I did.
Overall evaluation: We are very strong with all kinds of reading. I would like to use a bit more media (documentaries, listening to music, good movies, online games for rewards and drill, etc.) We love experiences and activities; I would like to make them a higher priority next year, but with a new baby, 3 school kids, a preschooler, and a toddler…we will see how much energy it takes. We are great at getting outside and being active. We have plenty of socializing (extended family, friends, nursing home, church, kid activities…). I have a good amount of art and craft materials available, and want to continue prioritizing crafts, art, music, cooking, building, etc. I’d like to make board/card games more visible, and get some nice older-kid toys (like Legos). I plan to transition Kid Uno into mostly independent work for content subjects in Year 3, and to add some written narration toward the end of the year. It’s been a good, full year, and went very well overall.