Kimberly was the closest to right on the trivia question, I think. Josiah has taken my camera and snuck off with it. The camera (which is on manual focus, explaining the blurriness) is facing him and is parallel to the ground. The top skin is his arm/elbow and the bottom skin is his leg/knee. The red is the red Onesie he was wearing that day.
Catching up on things, we had evaluations last Thursday which went very excellently! Our evaluator was very, very pleased with the kids' progress. She especially bragged about their reading skills. She made positive remarks about their handwriting, the number of field trips we did, and hands-on activities. I think I've also decided about the kids' curriculum for next year. I think I'm going to stick with A Beka for the most part, but I'm going to take a different approach to it. I mentioned to Rita (the evaluator) that a homeschooling veteran friend of mine suggested continuing to use A Beka Book and teach it more self directed. Rita didn't see any problem with doing it that way. I'm certainly done with A Beka's readers and have already picked up 4 of Rod and Staff's readers. I think that I'm going to have to use 4th grade readers with John (who's going into 3rd) to keep him challenged though. Both Ethan and John will be able to use the 3rd grade readers.
I'm satisfied with their progress in arithmetic in A Beka.
I want to use either Cantering the Country or Galloping the Globe next year. These curricula look like a lot of work, but a lot of fun!
A continuing beef that I have with A Beka's penmanship is that they slightly change the way they teach penmanship every year. I looked at A Beka's penmanship text for 3rd grade, and yes, it's different than what it was taught in kindergarten ... which is different from 1st grade ... which was different than 2nd grade. So I think that's just completely senseless. With both boys (who both write pretty neatly ... for boys) I'm going to get them a composition book for writing: the type that is bound like a hardcover book with thick covers. The stuff that A Beka has them write is often nonsensical anyway. I can pick out a Scripture for them to copy, or a portion of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, or good quotes or whatever.
Here's an example of A Beka's penmanship from lesson #145:
Emily and Andy are going to Camp Piney Woods for two weeks. They can hardly wait to get there. They and their friends Bethany and Caleb plan to have a great time together. They hope to ride horses and swim in the lake every day.
There's nothing particularly wrong with it, yet there's nothing right about it either. Sounds like "busy-work" to me. I'd rather use something useful. :-)
I bought (or maybe intend to buy haha) A Beka's science reader for 3rd grade and their reader Health, Safety and Manners for 3rd grade. They're pretty good, just not "beefy" enough in my opinion. They're also very student directed. I'm also wanting to use Apologia Science. The kids want to do the astronomy unit, but I want to do the zoology unit. So, we'll probably do astronomy. :-)
I want to use this little vocabulary unit I picked up last year: Wordly Wise (NOT Worldly haha). I think people learn vocabulary best when they hear it used in conversation and when they encounter new words in reading. However, I bought this last year and I wouldn't want it to go to waste.
I'm not sure about history or Bible yet, but I'm leaning toward Landmark for these.
Something I did do, however, was to get another $20, 3-shelf bookshelf from Big Lots and put it in the living room. On this bookshelf I'm going to put some of our nicer looking books. The piano, which was in the living room, is now in the school room.
Other May stuff include Ethan's kindergarten graduation. I've always taught Ethan a year ahead of where the government school would have him. He's going into second grade academically. I wanted him to be the same age as for his graduation as John was when he graduated. He was cute as a little button in his cap and gown.
Ethan's kindergarten graduation "portrait."
In our homeschool fellowship, the children always put on an end-of-the-year program with lots of singing and Scripture recitation.
This is the youngest age group. The older ones, some of which are playing piano for the little ones, joined in later. This year's program was a sailing theme. Songs included With Christ in the Vessel, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, Secret Place by Ron Hamilton (LOVE Ron Hamilton's amazing music) and Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me. They played Saviour, Like a Shepherd, Lead Us on handbells.
We also had a family who is close to ours who had a homeschool graduate this year. I loved going to his commencement. It was at church and included congregational singing, special singing, a short sermon by the graduate's grandfather, a few words from his dad praising his character and sharing stories of the joys he brought to their home, and his future plans. There was a picture slide presentation of him growing up and a reception following.
Mother/Daughter banquet was also thrown into the midst of all this too. This year's banquet was one of my favorite because we went out to a restaurant! Yay! No cooking, no cleanup!
As mentioned before, we had a doctor appointment and all is going well. I found out what a breastfeeding supporter my OBGYN is. She nursed her daughter until she was 2 through another pregnancy. Good for her.
I guess that's a