End of School Year Wrap Up 2015 – 2016

Home Education End of Year Wrap Up - An Island Family By Grace

In my end of school year wrap up last year, I was looking forward to using our house more fully for homeschooling, after a year of selling our house, and then moving to the island.

Unit Study

This academic year, we started with a unit study on Hebridean Island Life. We enjoyed discovering more about the history, geography and traditions of the Hebrides islands, and made lapbooks about their geology. We ended the unit study with a trip to an island life museum.

Field Trips

Apart from the museum, other field trips we have had this ‘school’ year have been for a guided tour of a nearby castle, other local sites of interest, and a recent successful fishing trip! We usually arrange trips to coincide with family birthdays, so as everyone in the family except me has an autumn or winter birthday, I am looking forward to finding some interesting places to go in a few months’ time!

Duck Pond Trip - End of School Year Wrap Up on An Island Family By Grace

A New Addition

In January this year, I happily found out that I am expecting our fifth baby! Thankfully, although I had a lot of nausea and some vomiting until the start of May, I was nowhere near as bad as I have been with previous pregnancies. We have really continued with homeschooling as normal, with the difference that I was unable to accompany the rest of the family on trips with friends around Easter time.

What has worked…

One of the things that I am most pleased about having re-started this year has been a half-hour ‘quiet time’ for everyone after our lunch each day. This has been a help since my husband went back to work in January, and particularly during the time I was not feeling well. Usually the children will do personal reading in their rooms during that time, or some other quiet activity such as drawing or writing a letter, or our son may spend extra time on his IGCSE work.

Having a daily routine which we are all used to has also been very helpful, as everybody knew what was coming next, and I didn’t need to hound anyone to do their work… usually! We started this when we began homeschooling in 2007, and it has changed and been adapted a bit over the years. We don’t have a rigid ‘timetable’ that we must follow to the limit, but having a routine for every day is a positive thing for us, while still allowing for flexibility to do other things that come up.

Educents Sale

We have enjoyed the switch to Apologia’s General Science book by Dr. Jay Wile, as a big improvement on the curriculum we were using before, which was Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. Dr. Wile’s book is much easier to prepare for, each lesson is a good length, and you can really decide where to pick and put down the book when you want to.

Our elder daughter also started using the Home Economics 1 curriculum from Christian Light Publications this year. Our children have always enjoyed cooking, baking, and learning other aspects of ‘home ec’ with me, but this course has allowed our daughter to learn more independently, and she has made us some new recipes such as Mexican Scrambled Eggs (very tasty!), and Gelatine Salad (not something we would normally eat at all!)

School Year Wrap Up - An Island Family By Grace

Christmas Baking 2015

I have been trying to incorporate more Charlotte Mason inspired learning into our afternoons, making use of the amazingly dry and sunny weather we have had this spring to do lots of nature study outside (you can see what other outdoor homeschool activities we do here). We have also been listening to Classics for Kids once a week for music appreciation, which was recommended by Sarah at Delivering Grace. Something I would still like to add more of to our home education is narration, where the child ‘tells back’ what they have been learning. I am not so good at remembering to ask for this, and perhaps having a specific time for it in our day would help me!

…and What Hasn’t Worked

What hasn’t worked so well has been trying to learn too many languages! When we moved here, I was keen for the children to learn some Scots Gaelic. However, we were already learning French and German on alternate weeks, and it was just too much. Now, our 14 year old son has chosen to stick to French, our 12 year old daughter is doing German, and the younger girls are learning basics of both. We still discuss Gaelic, often when we see Gaelic signs when we are out and about, but we are not learning it for conversation. If any one of the children wants to learn for it themselves, that will be fine.

For French, our son is using the Voici une famille francaise curriculum from Rosalind Surtees (available direct from the author), and our elder daughter is using the Deutsch Direkt textbook, workbook and cassette tapes for German. The TV series of Deutsch Direkt is still available on You Tube. They both use Duolingo for listening practice. You can see other modern foreign language resources we use in this post.

What Next?

We do not normally homeschool year round, and would usually have our holidays for 6 weeks from the end of June, but this summer we will continue with some light schoolwork. This will give our son extra revision for his IGCSE work, and mean that we can take an extended break when the baby is born in September, without me feeling guilty about it! We will still be doing lots of fun summer activities, and as my husband has just started replacing the rest of our roof, there will also be plenty of opportunities to learn some life skills by being a builder’s helper!

That is about it for our end of school year wrap up! How has your school year gone, and do you have any special plans for the summer? Please comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


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8 Comments on “End of School Year Wrap Up 2015 – 2016

  1. First of all, congratulations!! What a blessing!!

    Secondly, you have brought back so many fond memories of my homeschool days. I LOVED the Charlotte Mason approach and I found the Apologia Sciences conversational tone in their books very helpful for the kids.

    Blessings to you and your family. 🙂

    • Thank you Karen! Yes, I like that we can read aloud the science book together, yet also have interesting experiments to do and questions to answer. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  2. Thank you for the mention.
    Having a routine that works makes so much difference. I have never been very successful with a quiet half hour but like the concept!

    I like the idea of your Hebridean unit study and then realised that we could do something similar for our very different, local area, London.
    Sarah recently posted…June BooksMy Profile

    • You’re welcome, Sarah. Wow, a unit study on London could include so much, and there would be so many resources available! I will be interested to hear if you do it 🙂

  3. Hi! I read Alisha’s post about you and Scottish food. I thought I would say hello. I enjoy this post about schooling. We are going to go overseas with our boys, and it’s helpful to read some recommendations about schooling abroad. Thanks for the share!

  4. Sounds like a great year! I love the idea of quiet time after lunch. I sure know I could use it! I was just looking at the Apologia Science book and was wondering about it! I love languages and know a little bit of a few but have been daunted at the task of adding another language to our studies. English is hard enough;) I had planned to school through the summer but with family in town it ended up being very light. I am looking forward to getting back into our regular routine. It’s always good for all of us! Thanks for sharing your end of year wrap up, I always love to see what others are doing!
    Rebekah recently posted…The benefits of having a large familyMy Profile

    • Thanks Rebekah! Yes, I think things work much better for us when we are in a routine too 🙂

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