End of Homeschool Year Wrap Up 2017


End of Our Homeschool Year 2017 - An Island Family By Grace

We came to the end of our homeschool year 2 weeks ago, and are just beginning to recover from a month of illness! Thankfully it hasn’t been anything serious, just a long bout of various colds and coughs, although we have had also had some extended family members who have been in hospital, so it has been a bit of a strange end of homeschool year for us this time.

A month after we started our new homeschooling term in August 2016, our lovely new daughter was born. For very good reasons, baby busyness (if that is a ‘thing’) has dominated this year, and I have therefore not written many blog posts. We have all really been enjoying our little one, who is now amazingly almost 10 months old! It has been a blessing that our older children have been at home to see the new stages she reaches, and they love to spend time with her.

Another big part of this homeschooling year has been our eldest’s exams. He sat four IGCSEs in May and June, plus Music Theory and his Grade 4 Piano practical, so that was something new and different for us- both in terms of me marking past papers that he used to practice for the exams, and in that from January to June, the girls and I did our own ‘together work’ in the afternoons while he did revision, rather than our son being included. This was a little sad for me, but it was necessary for him to be ‘up to speed’ before the exams started. I am looking forward to him being included in our afternoon ‘together work’ again when we begin homeschooling again after this summer.

As I look back to the plans I had for this year in August 2016, it is interesting to look at the priorities I set for the year. I hope that we have been focused on Jesus, which was my top priority for the year, although there is obviously always lots of room for improvement there! And I think that we have emphasised real learning rather than ‘busywork’, in general. The girls in particular did get outdoors a lot more, as I have tried to make a point of them doing their nature notebooks regularly, and doing art, and even science, outdoors rather than indoors whenever the weather was dry. For our son however, the IGCSEs certainly made a dent in the time he had available for fresh air and exercise, and that was something we had to make sure he did at the end of a past paper. Getting more outdoor time and exercise is something I would like to continue in the coming year, particularly for myself!

An Island Family By Grace - Sandpit Contour Lines for Geography

Our 10 year old daughter’s outdoor sandpit model for learning contour lines in geography.

Another way in which the girls and I got outdoor time this spring was in doing gardening together. Around Easter time we finally extended our polytunnel, giving us about two thirds more growing space, so we have been growing a lot more vegetables (and weeds!) since then. I have yet to perfect the amount of compost and organic matter that we are putting into the soil, so the amount of food we are actually producing is small, but the girls have enjoyed  learning more about gardening, and of course eating what it does produce!

We have enjoyed reading aloud together each morning after our Bible time, and I already have a few read aloud books chosen for next year. Currently we are reading The Riddle of the Ruby Ring from the Baker Family Adventures, as a fun modern story after finishing Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates last week. We really enjoyed Hans Brinker, but it took us a lot longer than I expected to finish it, as we had to stay away with family on the mainland for several weeks in order for our son to sit his exams, and our routine was a bit out of sorts. Our girls were able to continue with their usual schoolwork while we were there, as they keep their books in box files, and we just load them all into the car in one big crate.

We managed to fit in trips to some brochs, as in the photo at the top of this post, but we are looking forward to other home education trips, especially a boat trip, which we are doing next week as an ‘end of exams treat’.

This summer we are continuing with a wee bit of structured learning during the holidays, by going through Apologia’s Anatomy and Physiology course together. We do this in the afternoons after lunch, while our 10 month old is still having a nap. We are all really enjoying this, and despite having done Standard Grade, Higher and Sixth Year Studies Biology at school, I have still learned new things! The experiments that are part of it are of course fun, and I like the fact that most of them use equipment and materials that are either already in the home or readily available. Sarah Avila’s notebooking resource page for Apologia Anatomy and Physiology at her site My Joy-filled Life has been incredibly useful, and Sarah Jones’ post at Delivering Grace on using the book for group science was also an encouragement.

Edible Cell Experiment - End of Homeschool Year 2017 - An Island Family By Grace

Our children making the ‘edible cell’ from Apologia’s Anatomy and Physiology. It didn’t look edible to me!

So it seems we have ended our year by starting more homeschool work! However, it feels like fun rather than work, and it is nice having a break from our usual homeschooling routine.

How has your homeschool or school year gone? Do you have any favourite books from the year that you would recommend? Please let me know in a comment below.

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2 Comments on “End of Homeschool Year Wrap Up 2017

  1. Lovely to hear an update.
    A year ago, we had a child taking IGCSEs and it really does take so much time, of course, especially for the child concerned but also for the younger ones as they have to go to different places while their sibling takes an exam. We did loads of nature walks in a park near the centre!
    I love your contour line model. Do you use a specific programme for geography? I’m working on what we use, next year.

    • Thanks Sarah 🙂 Yes, we have used the Collins World Watch books 1, 2 and 4, for primary age, then the short Kingfisher book Maps and Mapping (which included the contour activity), then onto the Collins Mapstart books. Our eldest daughter has done Exploring Geography in a Changing World 1 and 2, by Simon Ross, which is a good lead-in to IGCSE Geography, whereas our son just went straight onto IGCSE Geography from those other books. Hope this helps!

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