An anecdote to begin:
Tonight, before dinner, I mentioned that a friend's daughter had wanted a Beetlejuice-themed birthday.
M1, who was sitting on the couch listening to me talk, raised his hand. I could see the gears turning in his head and acknowledged him.
"Betelgeuse?" he inquired.
"The movie, not the star."
Obviously the kid is learning (or has learned) something. This time of year, I always like to review what I had planned for the year and see where we stand. I could follow the state standards - and to some extent, I do - but really, I like to write my own goals and go from there.
To that end, I think we're doing pretty well. Below is how things stand currently as well as my tentative plan for next year, including what I think I'll use with M2:
Language Arts: We've pretty well covered our goals already. I'm reviewing/reinforcing a few topics, and sometime in April I plan to start work on a Powerpoint report. We'll work on that off and on until the end of the year. We did stop using Writing Strands a few weeks ago. The instructions in those books are quite vague, and M1 was really getting frustrated. Since I really wanted to start a review anyway, I ordered Winning With Writing, and he's having a lot of fun with it. We're still using Handwriting Without Tears for cursive writing, First Language Lessons for grammar, and Spelling Workout for spelling. He just started book E in that series.
He seems quite happy with our language arts selections, and I plan to continue with everything listed above (we'll see where we wind up with Writing Strands, but I hope to use it every now and then to reinforce concepts) for next year. For M2, we'll do things a little differently. She'll use Handwriting Without Tears, First Language Lessons, and Spelling Workout, though at different levels, of course, but I plan to use Writing With Ease for writing. I used it with M1, and he hated it, but M2 is a different creature, and I really think she'll like it. Plus it takes a lot of teacher involvement, and if there's one thing that the girl will need to learn to write well, it's attention and the ability to talk everything out. Girl does love the sound of her own voice.
Math: I need to hit a few of our goals in more depth before the end of the school year, but I don't think that'll be a problem. He's 2/3 of the way through Math-U-See Delta right now, which means the division problems are getting more difficult, which means he'll need to slow down... all of which means that he'll want to take some breaks and I'll be able to hit those problem spots again without much problem or delay. He is familiar with basic fractions, congruency, reading charts, and calculator use, but I want to review symmetry, pattern-finding, creating charts, and reading percentages before the end of the school year.
We'll continue with Math-U-See for him as long as he likes it. He really does well with it, and since it does continue all the way through calculus, I see no reason to change. M2 will not be using the same curriculum. She'll be using Math Mammoth, since the idea of black-and-white pages in a mastery curriculum setting bores her to tears. A bonus with Math Mammoth is that a lot of the work can be done independently, so when Lil' Miss wants to do extra pages, I don't necessarily have to sit with her.
History and Science: Goals met. No changes to be made. We'll continue with Story of the World Vol. IV and Elemental Science physics next year, for both kids. I'm sure M1 will gripe when he realizes that he's doing quite a bit more work than M2, but he'll live. ;)
So that's the update in a nutshell. I'm pretty happy with where we are right now and am proud of the steps that M1 has made this year. I'm excited for next fall already and can't wait to have both my kiddos home!