Homeschool Update – January 2016

Bethel Hill Seal-estWe’re one month into 2016, so I thought I would post a quick update on the status of our homeschool progress.

Math

Kent, age 11, is nearing the end of his Saxon 54 math book. We started him a little late on math so that we could keep him and Reed closer together in what they were studying. He typically completes one lesson per day, six days per week. If he keeps working at his current pace, he will have it completed within the next two months. Reed, age 9, is making good progress in the same Math 54 book. He typically completes a half-lesson per day, six days per week. As long as he completes this book no later than his 11th birthday, he will be fine, and he is on track to achieve that with no problem. I (Jeff) am about halfway through the Saxon 87 math book. I complete anywhere between 3 and 5 lessons per day, as I am working to get caught up to where I left off in math during my high school career (trigonometry) and am trying right now to lay a good foundation for me to build on in that pursuit. I am on track to complete the 87 book sometime in March, at which point I will move on to Algebra 1. Huzzah!

Writing

Kent‘s writing continues to improve and its increasing sophistication impresses me regularly. The influence of his reading is clearly evident. He typically writes one longhand page (approximately 300 words) per day on any topic he chooses, then corrects it and types it up the following day. I am allowing him to alternate between handwriting and typing as long as his handwriting continues to be easily legible. If it gets too sloppy, he re-writes the same material the next day before he can type it up. I appreciate that he will very likely do much more typing than handwriting in his life, but handwriting is also a useful life skill. Right now, he is working on an original short story. Check it out! I am serving as his proofreader and copy editor. We’re working specifically on how to form paragraphs, especially in passages of dialogue. Reed is working his way through a cursive handwriting workbook right now. This is mainly to achieve the end of him being able to read cursive quickly and accurately, and not so much for him to master cursive handwriting for his own use. Again, handwriting is a good life skill, but I am fine with that being either print or script. He is currently on capital “Q”, so he will likely complete this during the month of February. After this, he will move on to writing his own one-page essay or completing a page of copy work each day. I (Jeff) continue to post regularly to this blog during my writing session each day. My goal is to write at least 300 words per day, even if I am not always posting them here. Due to my flagrant verbosity, this is rarely a difficulty for me. Besides the updates, book reviews, and reflections on being a disciple of Jesus Christ that I regularly post here, other projects on my 2016 writing list include my own light-hearted short story based on a recent tabletop gaming campaign and an English-alphabet acrostic version of Psalm 119. As I make progress on those, I will be sure to post them here, like it or not!

Reading

We each read for a minimum of two hours per day, six days per week. During the past month, Kent has completed five books in the Rover Boys series, as well as Pollard’s excellent — albeit a tad dry — biography of Ulysses S. Grant, Our Hero General Grant. He is currently reading the original, unabridged 1851 version of The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. He is also reading aloud to us each night a passage from McGuffey’s Eclectic Third Reader. These are the final two books in the fourth level of our reading program, after which he will be moving on to Level 5. Way to go! In the same time period, Reed has completed two books from the Tom Swift series, as well as an anthology of children’s stories. (Fun fact: The inventor of the taser was inspired by Tom Swift as a child and named his invention in honor of him: T.A.S.E.R – “Tom A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.) He is currently reading a third volume of children’s stories, including classics like Paul Bunyan. Because he is still at the stage where I want him to learn to love reading for its own sake, I am letting him pick his own reading from our “approved” shelf here at home, and not strictly requiring him to follow our curriculum’s reading list. On average, he is reading two books of his own choosing to every one from our curriculum. He is in the middle of Level 3 right now. I (Jeff) do a reading from the Bible each day, about an hour in a book from the boys’ curriculum (so I can be familiar with what they’re reading), and then the balance of the time I have available in a book from my never-ending stack. Currently, I am using the M’Cheyne reading plan for Scripture, which has me completing the Christian (New) Testament twice and the Jewish (Old) once each year. I am also reading The Swiss Family Robinson along with Kent, Chris Suitt’s More Than a Sunday Faith, and Keating’s Intimacy with God. For something a little bit lighter, I am also reading Tony Daniel’s Metaplanetary. He is one of my favorite science fiction authors, although I have not read a whole lot by him.

That about sums it up for January! A busy, productive month!

Jeff Herron

Homeschooling dad of two boys. Husband of one terrific woman. Disciple of and disciple maker for Jesus. My cup runneth over!