Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Gentle Feast: Green Year Term 3 Review

Let's just say Term 3 got off to an interesting start. Two weeks in to our new study topics, I jotted down in our school planner that the "coronvirus cancelled the public school throughout the next week". What a weird thought - school cancelled for, not a snow day, but a "pandemic".

That seemed like a short-term ordeal and of course our homeschool studies continued as usual, but I had no idea what this would morph into, and would still linger, months later. 


We studied composer Claudio Monteverdi and artist Diego Velasquez. For composer study, we used our Usborne Composers book and listened to specific recommended pieces on YouTube. We used the A Gentle Feast Morning Time binder and having the full-color Velasquez prints for picture study all in one place was so handy! Even the two-year-old was able to participate in picture study. We kept it short and sweet. 


Nature study featured a rotation of the Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton Burgess and we listened to this using libravox through the entire term. While listening, we used an animal reference guide and the kids could draw or use the coloring pages that corresponded. 

I was able to find Little Flower Folks by Mara Louise Pratt-Chadwick on eBay and being able to read the physical book versus the computer/online version was totally worth it. The readings were interesting though some did get a little lengthy and over the heads of this "very-Form I" crew (1st grade, pre-k & toddler). If it seemed I was losing their attention, we just looked at specific pictures of the subjects covered and skimmed over certain sections. I think revisiting this book as my kids get older will be even more helpful.


Beside shutting down our local library and the public school, we were also unable to meet with our co-op (or go to church even!) due to COVID-19. Many people have mistaken "distance learning" for homeschooling but that's definitely not the case. While homeschooling usually offers a ton of freedom and an ability to customize each child's education and socialization (yes, homeschoolers do socialize), this COVID-infested term felt much more like "isolation-schooling". No friends. No field trips. No special activities. Bleh.

So let me say it again, COVID-19 "distance learning" is nothing like actually homeschooling.


Countless times I was told by distance-learning parents that they don't know how we can handle homeschool full time but I think that is a big misconception. When homeschooling in regular life, we use a beautiful curriculum, cover many subjects as a family (even bringing in the toddler, like I mentioned!), read living books, learn hands-on and the same teacher/same teaching-style covers all the subjects. I guess that last point was a bit obvious :) 

We did try a couple Zoom sessions with our co-op friends which went well, considering all of our families are an assortment of school-age kids and toddlers! Especially in the thick of the stay at home order, even seeing our co-op friends' faces was better than nothing. 


For first grade, E completed Singapore Math's Dimension Math 1A and continued to work through 1B in Term 3. I can't say enough about Singapore's Dimension Math. Math comes naturally to E but Dimensions Math challenged him and taught him numerous ways to visualize the solution along with learning the math facts. I'm glad he's a confident math student but I like to see him challenged as well.


He continued to work through A Gentle Feast's 100 Gentle Lessons in Sight and Sound: Level 2 for this term and we ended the school year on lesson 46. I debated on working on this more with him over the summer or starting off with it again in the Fall but because he is able to read chapter books on his own, I feel he is ready to move into the Language Arts curriculum for Cycle 2.

One thing is for sure, this boy loves to read! And his middle brother isn't far behind. The A Gentle Feast 100 Gentle Lessons Level 1 & 2 worked well for 1st grader because of the variety. The lesson type varied from day to day with focuses on sight, sound and then reading. He has been frustrated by repetitive lessons in past curriculums but there were no complaints with AGF's 100 Gentle Lessons


We continued to work through the assigned readalouds for History and Geography. We ended on Elin's Amerika and Praire School, which we're still working through this summer. We were supposed to be reading both of these books at the same time during the term but I've found it works best for us to focus on one read aloud chapter book and then move on to the next. First Elin's Amerika, next comes Praire School.


We dabbled in Spanish each week, did some drawing lessons here & there and continued on with the beauty subjects listed in the Morning Time binder. Overall the term went as well as it could, for being COVID-19'd and all. 

Here's to hoping that the return to school will be a little more "normal"! Whatever that is.


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