We are 6 weeks into Corbin’s homeschool career. I thought it might be helpful to recap the progress we have had so far.
I think having the twins home from school for their holiday break has really revealed a lot of changes in Corbin’s personality. He used to be pouty, and moody all the time. Now the twins say that he seems more expressive, engaged, and overall he seems happier. It’s true that the typical brotherly annoyances exist, but things are much better.
Academically, his self-confidence seems to be growing rapidly. Where there was reticence before to answer questions out loud, he is proud to answer now. His writing has really improved. I think the skills were always there, but when he first started writing it was pretty lousy. I don’t think he realized at first that we would actually be reading his blogs and essays. David bought him his own domain, and I helped him set up a gallery to display his photography. Since we gave him his own domain, he has really launched. He’s willingly writing at least 150 word blogs every day!
I think I’ll just list each subject so I can record what he has completed already during these 6 weeks. I find it astonishing that he has already done so much even despite Thanksgiving holidays, and all of the other holiday season things we have been running around for.
Grammar – Corbin has been working on a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called GrammarBytes. It’s really good and totally free! He took a pre-test so we could see where he needed to focus, and then you simply go through the powerpoints/videos etc. and do the exercises. They are funny and engaging. It’s a great program.
Math – So far Corbin has been just doing Khan Academy for a few hours a week. We are starting the math curriculum in the new year so he has to do it in writing, otherwise I would just stick to Khan because I think he is learning a lot. One of Corbin’s challenges in math though is slowing down and working things out on paper. This will be mandatory when he advances to higher maths. He’s way too prone to doing math in head. It’s such a blessing that he has this capability, but he really has to be made to slow down and practice working equations out.
Computer Programming – Last week was the national Hour of Code which was intended to encourage kids to learn to code. Corbin participated in activities every day, and even had the opportunity to be one of only 11 kids who took a formal class at the Apple Store in our mall. This week he has still been playing around with coding in some form or other every day.
Physical Fitness – We need to get more structured in this area. A few times we have gone out Geocaching, and we have gone out walking the dog around the neighborhood. Corbin has been riding his bike and running nearly every day. We need to get better so he can burn off more energy.
History – We haven’t started his actual history curriculum, but we have been informally learning quite a bit of history. We watched so many history documentaries covering the middle ages, the history of America, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl… We’ve watched one just about every day. We aren’t a big ‘TV family’ so it’s been a treat for him to be allowed to watch a lot of this stuff.
Science – We’ve been watching a lot of the PBS Nova programs showing engineers and meteorologists solving problems. He’s really enjoying them. We’ve watched older programs about tornado technology and then watched the newer versions ten years later. It was amazing to see how much technology has advanced in that short time! We’ve watched a few about jet fighter development, and a few other shows along that same thread. We also took a field trip to the Blue Bell creamery in Brenham where he learned about production, pasteurization, and homogenization.
Literature – We need to work in this area. He is usually a pretty consistent reader, but he hasn’t finished a book during these weeks. He has checked a few out from the library, but they didn’t hold his interest. We have listened to 4 audiobooks while traveling around running errands etc. One that we listened to was The Pigman by Paul Zindel. It’s one of the books he would have read if he had stayed in his school. I was skeptical of it, but he absolutely loved it. He wrote an essay about it, and has done several worksheets I found online to help him remember details and dissect some of the themes. He’s been reading the book that will be a part of his curriculum when the new year starts called The Dragon and the Raven. It’s a pretty tough read, I’ve been reading it too and I’ve even been challenged by it. I’m anxious to get into the formal curriculum because the history and literature course work in conjunction with one another. I think he’s really going to enjoy it.
Study Skills Course – The Ron Paul Academy Academics Basics Course intended to help kids prepare for high school has been really neat. We are on lesson #27 out of 42. I want him to finish this by the end of the year so he will be better prepared for his formal curriculum. We have both really learned a lot from the course.
He has also started learning calligraphy.
And took some stuff apart to see how it worked.
He attended a veterans day celebration, and a car dealership to take pictures.
He went camping a few times, and went on a church trip to San Antonio.
And hiked through the forest to find a some Geocaches.
And there was lots of coding, coding, coding…