Sunday, September 12, 2021

Midterm Review :: Fall 2021

studying da Vinci to prepare for a memory sketch

Five weeks are behind us in Term 1, with five to go! Last year, on the advice of Amy, I scheduled a break after our first five weeks of school, and I did the same this year. Generally speaking, we don't take many breaks during the school year -- we all work well with a good amount of momentum behind us, and we mostly just like to plug along and enjoy a longer summer. But I found that this midterm break in Term 1 is so nice for reflecting on the school year's start and making adjustments/additions.

For example, this week, I will be...

  • setting up the next five weeks of art, handicraft, and Italian lessons (I find these easier to plot out in 5-week chunks)
  • looking over our term programs to make sure everything I planned has now been incorporated into our routine
  • making a few small changes to our timetables (always tweaking as needed!)
  • weighing some outside classes/opportunities for fall
  • meeting with each student to see if he or she needs any additional support or has had helpful insights to share into our plans or schedule
  • doing some final prep for Term 2 and 3 that I didn't get to over the summer (mostly pre-reading for my high schoolers)

This break also provides a chance for me to work on some household projects and schedule in some fun. Those early weeks back to school each year leave very little time for either of those things! :) So we'll be cleaning, cooking, running errands, and going on a couple outings, I hope.

And my older kids won't be completely off school: my Form 3-5 students will do a few readings this week to "get ahead" a bit since we will be missing two days of school in October while I am in Philadelphia. They also have online Latin and Italian classes to attend.

Some notes on what we have been up to since I last shared...

raffia handicrafts with the CMEC

these two are loving their saint biographies

Form 1 reading lesson with a favorite book

demonstrations with Chemical History of a Candle

buttes and mesas with Geography from A to Z

working on proportion and shape in flat objects for chalk drawing lessons

paper folding and cutting with Kinderleben and Form 1 - a weekly favorite!

We have five weeks of Weekly Paintings stacked up so far...

I love both the variety and the similarities: there are three Evangelines, three Baby Moseses, and one of the Louis XIV looks quite a lot like the pair of Charles IIs! :)

This can be a difficult season to get outside in California -- it is still so hot and dry in September! But I am grateful that this summer has been so much better than the past few years; no days of wildfire smoke yet here in the South Bay. I am also grateful for our nature group for motivating me to get out with the kids weekly.

For example, we had a fun exploration of oak galls a couple weeks ago...

Amazing, right? Other weeks we have studied milkweed and doveweed, which are slowly going to seed right now. Our family has been doing a special study on birds this term. We have had some lovely early morning walks to make our daily observations -- with our eyes and our ears! (I had to buy a new copy of our favorite Backyard Birdsong book after too much play!) Cool late summer mornings are such a balm. 

A wonderful addition to our school year has been our local CMEC co-op, which we are having every other Friday instead of nature club. I will have to write a separate post about how we have structured our group and the subjects we are tackling together. It has been such a joy for me and for my kids! The families involved are all kind and committed. It's fun to learn with friends. :)

More on that another day!

So do you take a break early in the fall? And how is your school year going so far?

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  1. This all looks so delightful! I wondered if you could share your current daily and weekly schedules? I need to troubleshoot my own and examples are SO helpful!

    1. Hi Rhebeka, I have not shared our schedules yet but will try to do so during our exam week coming up soon. :)

  2. This is a timely post for me! We are on week 5 right now, and I'm waffling about whether or not to take a mid-term break. I think we will not take a break after term one exams (because our Thanksgiving week break will follow shortly after), so I might schedule a break for next week just to make sure I have everything ready to roll into term two smoothly.

    1. Hi Miriam -- Sorry, just seeing this! That was my thought process too. We will not take a break after Term 1 exams since we are close to the longer holidays... so the break after Week 5 gave me a chance to breathe before that long stretch. :)

  3. Good to see what you & the family are up to, Celeste!

    1. Thank you, Carol! (Sorry, Blogger had my comments set to moderate, so I didn't see your cheery note until now. :))