Thursday, June 16, 2016

End of Year Review {2015-2016}

The boys finished up their school year in mid-May, but I completely forgot about doing a year-end review. I like doing these when they are fresh in my mind and now that I'm planning for next year the memories are hard to find. Ask questions as I'm sure I will think of more if you ask.  : )

The first year of high school is done. My biggest mistake with high school was thinking that it was different. Once I got that silly idea out of my head life was much better. The biggest success was just treating high school as just another year and continuing with the methods we were already using. 

Another big obstacle for high school is goals. Our world tends to make the fruits the goal of high school (fruits are the good grades, high test scores, scholarships, good college, good job, riches in life). The goals should be wisdom, knowledge, and Truth. It's so hard to keep that focus in a world that thinks the opposite. I've caught my wrong thinking many times this past year and had to realign.


Caleb's favorite subject was history and he much enjoyed The Book of the Ancient World by Dorothy Mills. 

Caleb's least favorite book was Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams. This book went unfinished and Caleb's end-of-term examination for this book was a writing on why he didn't like the book. I have this book for sale, really cheap if anyone wants to give it a try.  ; )

My favorites from Caleb's book list this year was Fabre's Book of Insects and History of the American People by Paul Johnson. I loved Fabre's love of discovery (and references to the Creator). Johnson's book taught me more about history and made me mad at timess. Both of these were a tough reads for me, but well worth it. I'm looking forward to continuing in Johnson's book. I love history books that make you realize that the world is not a worse place than it use to be (and getting worse). Early America could be a pretty nasty place too and the bad things that go on today were going on back then too in some form or another. 

Tyler's favorite books came off his literature and free reading list. Old Sam: Dakota Trotter by Don Alonzo Taylor was at the top of his list.

Tyler's least favorite also came off his literature list and was Bulfinch's Age of Fable. Tyler loves mythology books and he was very familiar with most of the stories he read, but the book was too challenging for him. I plan for him to pick this book up in a year or two and continue it. I will probably add it to Caleb's list next year since mythology is a favorite here.

My favorites from Tyler's list were his history books and Rocks, Rivers, and Changing Earth. I was surprised how much geology I didn't know! I read this one out loud to Tyler and many times I would ask Tyler if it was true because I couldn't believe it. Turns out it was all true and I was amazed by God's creation!

I think my biggest disappointment for the year was lack of Morning Basket (a term I use for the work we do together). We struggled getting this done and when we did it was not inspiring. I tinkered with it a lot to try and fix that and didn't come up with any solutions. I plan to make big changes to Morning Basket next year and hope for a better outcome. Morning Basket is truly a very important part of our school time and I need to figure out why we are struggling.

I was most happy with our schedule. It was a little too much at first, but I worked it out and we had a good schedule the rest of the year. I had to say no to many things and keep us at home during school hours to make this work. We ended the year because we were finished and not the usual because it's just time to finish. It was nice not to get "behind" this year!

What were hits and misses in your school this year?


  1. "My biggest mistake with high school was thinking that it was different."
    Yes! words of wisdom indeed. I well remember experiencing this with my first child, I built it up to be something so big that it wasn't.

    "The goals should be wisdom, knowledge, and Truth"
    Yes again!! Keep our big picture in mind, this is what it's all about, what we're striving for in our parenting/homeschooling. Want we want our children to graduate with!

    Love reading your wins and strikes :-)

    Just throwing out a thoughts about your Morning Basket. Perhaps your selection isn't inspiring you. I do think we; mother and children have to be keen on our Morning Basket selections, don't be afraid to ditch a book. Perhaps it's the time your trying to do morning basket, switch about, lots of options; first thing in the morning, before lunch, after lunch, after dinner, different seasons. Perhaps it's a case of trying to fit an 11 and 15 year old together, maybe the boys are ready for you to have some separate reads. You can get into some really meaty, adult theme conversations with a 15 yr old that you can't have with an 11yr old.
    Brainstorming here :-)

    1. Thank you, Erin! Our MB selections are not inspiring to my 15 year old. It's a good chance that our MB will become Afternoon Basket this coming school year. I have it listed at the end of the day in the schedule that I'm working on . . . . not sure if I will leave it there. There are pros and cons to this change too.


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