School Completion Badge: Unlocked.

Let’s talk about what changes between the beginning and the end of the school year.

Last Day of School C

1. The transition from fully Pinterested-Out, pre-printed and thought-out signs to OHDEARCRAPINEEDTOMAKEASIGN moments that happen approximately 30 seconds before the photo is snapped.

(I wouldn’t have even remembered to notate the last day of school with a picture except that my Facebook Feed was full of other Moms who remembered all by themselves.)

2. First Day of school semi-coordinated outfits…downgraded to mismatched pajamas and hair that hasn’t been brushed in at least three days.

3. Good lighting, calmly posed photography to “IF YOU DON’T SIT THERE AND LET ME TAKE YOUR FREAKING PHOTO YOU WILL NOT GET A SINGLE PIECE OF CANDY FOR LIKE AT LEAST AN HOUR!!”

4. My subjects seemed to have developed a serious slump. Clearly we didn’t do Charm School this year.

5. And oh yeah – they look older.

Sniff.

(Too bad one of them doesn’t act it.)

First and Last Day of School

Now for the Official Report Card.

Just like last year, Noah had a great first half of the year and not-so-great second half.

The first semester, he was all about it – playing Legos, coloring, doing stickers, and sitting in my lap so as to utilize my fantastic artistic abilities to aid his entertainment.

Art

 

But the second semester he was angry. Very, very angry.

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And when he wasn’t angry, he was using his talents for evil, disturbing the peace to which his sister holds so dearly.

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NOBODY spills Ali’s paintbrush water.

Okay yes they do.

On an unrelated note…Noah’s going to Preschool next year.

Really – I swear – It’s not Troubled Toddler Boot Camp. We’d always considered sending him when he was three because his Godmother is an absolutely fabulous three-year-old preschool teacher, and I knew that both Noah and she would love to have a year of school together.

And Ali and I would love to do school without an angry toddler throwing things at us.

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(Okay he’s not that bad.)

(Sometimes.)

As I’ve always said about Homeschooling, we take everything one year at a time, with prayer and over-analysis, as to what works for each kid and our family that year.

And we think three half-days a week of preschool will be awesome.

Noah will probably come home again and actually start homeschooling the year after that, but we’ll see where God leads when the time comes.

As far as how mine and Ali’s school year went, it was surprisingly good, despite my health issues that did add a level of difficulty.

We both enjoyed our decision to use textbooks (as old school and hipster as it may have been,) and plan on doing the same next year. Our favorite choice was BJU’s reading program – despite some really hilarious legalistic overtones in a few stories (which gave us great conversation opportunities,) they even provided Ali with artistic relief amidst reading comprehension.

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What’s that? You want to see one of the ridiculously legalistic stories?

Sure. Why not?

(As long as you promise to keep in mind that most were not like this. But the few that were really went for it.)

Treasure One

Yes Reggie, your train painting is great. Thank you for eagerly trying to please me, your mother. BUT NO, It is not pleasing to God. And it’s certainly not good enough for God’s Museum.

But wait! There’s more!

Treasure Two

Good job Reggie. Way to spend all night trying to please me with your holiness. But no. IT’S STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY GOD MUSEUM.

NOT EVEN ON THE BATHROOM WALL.

And then there was this page in another story, which we quickly deemed the worst “Good Morning, sis!” ever.

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Because what kid would want to miss a “Dead Man Overboard” moment?

Despite these winners, we actually ended up doing the First and Second Grade reading program this year because Ali enjoyed it so much.

The A Beka math went well, although I think Ali needs some work in speed. (Or at least not procrastinating.) We did not end up using the BJU bible program or Handwriting Without Tears – we just did our own thing in both of those subjects, and I’m going to reassess for next year.

I also administered Ali’s first Stanford Achievement Tests this year, which was a fascinating process.

(I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I got my hands on such contraband – I discovered that individual homeschoolers can order the tests from A Beka Testing. It was relatively inexpensive, but make sure you download the instructions off the website, because they don’t come with the tests and you’ll need to know how to fill in the school information bubbles if you want to actually get your results back.)

Originally I was just doing it “just because” – I figured Ali would enjoy it (being that she’s a SuperGeek like me), and that it was good practice. However, it ended up being invaluable. I learned several things:

1. It is dang hard to give your own kid achievement tests – especially when you know they know the right answer but are just thinking about the question wrong. But you must follow the script only or it’s not standardized. Therefore, it was great practice in self-control for me. Fortunately, when Ali hits third grade they’ll be administered by our cover school and my personal agony will end.

2. It revealed a couple of educational gaps we had – in particular, specific language issues like capitalization and punctuation. It helped me plan for next year to better cover those areas.

3. It gave me the confidence that we really are on the right track – she did extremely well, and, as predicted, adored the testing. Bubble-Filling-In runs deeply in our family.

4. It has been fifteen years since I have been able to geek out at the statistical goldmine that is Achievement Test results. Oh how I love, love, love percentiles.

And…that about covers our year.

How was yours?