End of Year Review

We finished exams this week. Yay! It ended up being a pretty intense term. Mostly because we didn't have any of other filler things we normally do. Filler isn't quite the right word because I think our mini-coop, our playdates, nature hikes and field trip days all have an important role but they also lighten up our schedule when mixed with our regular school days. I also added a few books that suddenly became available on archive.org but for a limited time. I don't care if Ziner's Squanto is a year 3 book and I have kids in Year 2 and 5, I can't afford the crazy cost this book would normal be so we're reading it while we can (and yes, it is really good! But no, not $150+ good). But we powered through pretty well and overall, given the circumstances, it was a pretty good term.

Highlights for Jonah/Together Time (Year 2 Term 1): (Exam Questions and Answers in Italics)

Beast Academy. I love MEP math but Beast is just a perfect fit for him. We started with the books then added online when they offered a free trial. We're keeping online and it's going to be great for the move but he's also doing the books too.

Understood Betsy: I know a lot of boys fight this one initially but sharing "quiet time audiobook" time with Lucy means he has listened to and loved enough "girly" stories that this wasn't an issue for him, especially since she saw it in his stack and told him he'd love it. It did take a week or two for him to really love it though. But its so good. He was sad when it ended.

Pilgrim's Progress: Again, just like Lucy, and not really like me because its not a favorite of mine, he's loving Pilgrim's Progress. His scroll narrations are totally different than hers but he clearly knows what's going on. We're taking it a bit slower than we did with her because I really didn't like Christina's Journey for year 3 age students so I'm not in a rush to finish it by the end of year 2. We might, we might not. We'll just keep going until we're done. And he's not in a hurry for that.

Tell about two things Christian saw in the House of the Interpreter, or about Mr. Worldly Wiseman.
So Christian went with interpreter to one of the rooms and it had an iron cage in it with a man inside. And he said that he had been put there because he didn’t believe in Jesus and he said “I will be stuck here forever because Jesus won’t have pity on me because I was already put here” and Christian said “why can’t you as for another chance?” and the man in the iron cage said “Jesus will not let me. I have hardened my heart so much that  I can not repent and no man can let me out.”

The second one was when Christian went into a room and there was a fire and a man was pouring water on it but it kept going higher and higher and then Christian said “what means this?” and he took him to the other side of the wall and there was another man pouring oil on it. And he said “this is Christ and the man you saw before was the Devil trying to pour out the fire of faith but the Devil can not break through Jesus and get into man’s heart is Jesus is already there.”  

Nature Study/Lore: We're both loving Burgess Animal book. We're doing the same sticker tree of animals that I did with Lucy but we have a hard copy this time which makes it so much easier for me to read. And I added Hexapod Sories for our insect themed nature study since we weren't able to get out as much. We only finished half of it but the kids would look up the insect in our different field guides and draw it while I read (and this reading was specifically timed so the toddler was napping). That worked so well. It's not "real nature study" but it builds an interest.

Tell what you know about a squirrel or a beaver.

Beavers have a flat tail and their tail is darkish brown and it has scales on it. There upper body is light brownish and their tummy is lighter. They make dams, they make houses and when it freezes, they make a hole in the ice so they can go down under the water to get their sticks. And they also have a door that goes out and that’s how they get out. And most creatures that want to eat him can’t get through the ice. He makes the dam out of sticks. He cuts down the trees with his sharp teeth and then gnaw through the branches into logs so he can make it. Their flat tale helps them steer when they swim and their front feet aren’t webbed but there back feet are. 

Describe a different insect you've studied this term, including its life and work.

The gall wasp. So the gall wasp starts out as a larva that in its tail, it breathes. And then it keeps getting new clothing until the pieces of clothing have little wing things but not real wings just tiny flaps and each one gets bigger and bigger wing flaps until it has fully grown wings and then it is not the larva anymore and it goes to an oak leaf and it pricks it with something it has and then an oak apple or gall grows its self around it and other things can go it in but the gall wasp is the only one that goes in the middle. The end. 

And I'll tell you, God really blessed the times we were out hiking. We saw some of the best stuff this term - three different turtles (two types), a snake we could identify, multiple frogs and skinks. It was like every hike had at least one really great find - and a couple ticks. Right after we read about the gall wasp we took a hike and saw 4 or 5 different types of galls ranging from big oak apples to a tree covered it teeny tiny ones. It was amazing. Jude's starting to love painting so I'm hopeful that next year, he'll be content to paint some rocks with water while we nature journal out in nature again but if not, this method will keep us going.



Picture Study: We did Pieter Bruegel. What a fun artist! He was a favorite of everyone. I also stepped up my game a bit and challenged them to picture maping consistently on our "second weeks." It's one of those things I hesitate to mention because it isn't necessary and keep in mind that even thought Jonah is only starting year 2, my littles ones join in one picture study from, well, birth, and would be very offended if they didn't get a chance to narrate the pictures too. So this is not necessary and it was
 challenging at first, especially for my perfectionist leaning child, but I can tell by their exam answers that it really improved our noticing. Of course, it helps that Bruegel's pictures have so much to notice! The National Gallery has three different pictures of his one display so I'm pretty sure when we visit we'll be headed to Room 14 right away!

My technique is one our second week, I give everyone a few minutes to look the picture over. Then we flip it so its hidden and they have about 1-2 minutes to map (MAP, not draw!) the picture. Then they look once more, flip again and have one more minutes to draw. The second look and flip started when we had a few panic moments. But I actually think its really good because you think you know it and then you flip it and you realize you don't. You haven't observed what you think you have. So our second look is actually much more beneficial. This is our first term doing this so hopefully we'll gain enough skill that one look is enough but for now, this works.

Describe your favorite picture from this term's picture study from memory.

So the hunter in the woods is a picture with hunters at the bottom left corner and dogs with them. And there is a house on the left side right above them with trees at the top. At the right side there is a big pond with people skating on it and its all snowy and there is a big bridge at the bottom right. At the top there is also birds sitting and flying. 

Outsourcing Art: Obviously Covid ruined some of these plans but they did get to finish the year out with their teacher (well, she's going to keep coming up until a few days before the movers come so we aren't done yet!) .We are going to miss her tremendously but I'll also be praying and searching for new opportunities for art student when we get settled.

Jonah's Watercolor still life. 

Printing: Lucy made the dragonfly stamp, Jonah carved the turtle. They used them for basic printing and then alcohol prints on tiles the following week.

History: I love Year 2 history. It's even better when I know it myself. I added the poetry book Kings and Queens and after we finish a King, we read his poem. They are hilarious and Jonah loves "getting" all the jokes. And obviously, knowing we're so close to getting to be there makes it all the more special. I've already told Jonah we'll take a pilgrimage to see Thomas a Beckett's memorial.

 Tell the story of the White Ship.

So this guy he had a white ship. And he said it was very swift and like a bird. And so the King went on another boat and went there but the person who owned the white ship and the people who were going to go on it said “oh, its okay, my ship is very fast so we can wait” and then they kept waiting and drinking wine and having a party and then finally they left but they hit a rock and then the ship started sinking. And they let down a safety boat for the prince. And then they went back for the princess, the prince’s sister, and everyone else wanted to get on too so it was so crowded and it sank. And the big boat sank and only two people were left. The butcher who had sheep skin coat and then there was another person but that person drowned so it was just the butcher and then finally someone came and picked him up and the butcher thought maybe he was saved because he wasn’t very important but then they went back. And when the king (Henry I) heard the prince and princess were very sad and he kept eating too many lampreys and then he died.

More British things: I switched up the poet this term. Jonah had participated in poetry for Lucy's year 2 and we really covered Eugene Field pretty heavily because he's from our town. We visited his home and all of my kids down to Norah have memorized several pieces by him. So this time, I went with a British poet - Charles Causeley. He's great, very funny. I read this to all of them and the big two had just finished memorizing the British county's so they loved hearing tidbits about specific ones and being able to say "I know where Cornwall is!" It just helped us keep that excited feeling when the move was postponed due to Covid.

I'm really enjoying doing a year over again. Adding in a second student with the baby made last year a year of growing. But now I feel like we're reaping that produce of that labor and growing pain time. I also feel like I'm really understanding the principles now and able to apply them to different books and topics that I want us to read and what our own specific family needs are. And that's not at all a slight on AO, I know that is what their hope is and I'm so immensely grateful for the curriculum they have provided and the encouragement to really reach for that personal understanding of Charlotte Mason's principles of education.

 I will be completely honest and say that every time we go into exams, I'm tired and feeling exhausted and discouraged because I'm a perfectionist and all I'm thinking about is the list of things we didn't do or finish. Even recognizing that I shouldn't have that feeling, I have to really fight it. And then we might have 1-2 exam questions that flop. I get super short answers or blank faces and while, that's totally okay. (Thanks Karen for the much needed reminder!), I start to hyperventilate. Then we finish the exams and I put the portfolio's together with the typed exam answers and their maps and century charts and samples of work and I'm amazed at what we've learned. Amazed and humbled that God would give me these brilliant small human beings that I get to walk alongside and guide in their introduction to His amazing world and all the beauty and truth and goodness that it holds. Is this real life? My life? How am I so lucky that this is my "job." So I sincerely hope that these glimpses into our terms and exams are encouraging. If you also face the end of a term like that, you aren't alone but I didn't share the exam answers that flopped!

And now this is getting long so I'll be sharing Lucy's end of term and new year plans in a separate post.

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