Our year ran later then usual this year, between illnesses, snow days (because who wants to do school when even the university is closed and there is legitimate sledding in central TN?), and playing hookie a few times to visit family. In Tennessee we have to put in 180 days for our school year, and we aren't allowed sick days at all. But it is O-V-E-R. Well, except that we didn't quite finish our speller. We'll work on that a few minutes a day for a bit to wrap it up. But our daily lessons are done.
We're actually looking at the possibility of starting our next school year soon to get some days in on those off days that there isn't anything to do and the weather is bad, in the hopes to enjoy more days in May next year. We'll see how that goes. We may not get to it if we're having too much fun, and just get back to the books in August. We're keeping an open mind about it!
I thought I'd review some of the books we used this year (I'm not receiving any compensation, so just my opinions).
We tried Sequential Spelling this year. I've really liked it. The only down side is it has 180 days of spelling lists plus a few assessments, so that put us above our 180 days to start, then there are days that we just didn't do spelling through out the year because we had a packed day with something else. So we're hanging on a bit after the year ends.
I also tried Learning Language Arts through Literature this year with Kate (4th grade). I like how it was set up--it was easy to use and literature based, which is a big plus in our house. And I didn't have to make copies. I like the idea of cost savings of reproducible books, but I'm not sure I actually save any money on most workbooks, since I have to pay for copy ink. And this way I don't have to think ahead to be sure I have the copies that we need or leave someone waiting while I run pages off.
We've used Singapore math again, which I really like the strong basis of. We've also kept to Writing with Ease in the lower grades. Like I said last year, I don't like it for third grade, but I really do for first and second.
We used the second of the Song School Latin books. The book was great, though this CD wasn't as fun to listen to. I still don't have a full grasp of the declinations, but hopefully as we go through it in a new program next year I'll learn even more. I did take the final test on the website and got an A in the vocabulary for this year, so I've learned something with the girls anyway! I was hoping they would each earn a 75% on that test, but they both exceeded that quite well, with an A and a B. It is very long, so I don't think that they scored even as high as the words they know, since they were
likely a bit distracted by the end.
I haven't loved the second level of Noeo for physics. We didn't get all the experiment kits, since they were expensive, but did use kits we had or found locally, so we weren't left wanting there. My complaint is that in using 'real books' they were redundant. We would often read about a subject in The Usborne Science Encyclopedia and then read about it again in Mysteries and Marvels of Science. It became so common that I would read only small sections of the second reading on a topic to cut down on the repetition that was annoying. Sometimes there were things stated in a better way or some new information, but it wasn't my favorite science we've done. It did have some good readers though--We liked Along Came Galileo and Archimedes and the Door to Science. I'm not sure that we'll find a program we like better over all, but I think I'll be prepared to do a little editing if we use it again, as the Encyclopedia and Mysteries books are in both Biology and Chemistry as well.
We also followed through with the final year of Story of the World. Honestly, the kids didn't like it as much. There is much more war and people were much better at waging those wars too. They way these wars were written was much more real to them than the ancient wars we'd covered in the past, and they are older and understand loss more fully. Nate may really take to it, but the girls would groan, as nearly every lesson talked of death, destruction, and war.