Spring 2012 Homeschool Portfolio Review: English and Social Studies

Continuing our review of the spring 2012 semester, this is what we did in English and Social Studies.


The Boy finished up Grammar Town, learning more about
phrases and clauses and semicolons, and we began semi-weekly work in
Practice Town, “diagramming” one or two sentences a week. He continued
to use Caesar’s English to learn new words and stems, and The Girl even
chirped up with a sentence using a new word here and there. He stopped
using All About Spelling when, apparently, phonics suddenly clicked and
he could spell just about any regular word. In fact he has a bit of a
compulsion about it, randomly spelling the words in his head. Sometimes
for hours. So now he just asks about larger or stranger words when he’s
typing something to a friend to trying to name things in a game. He’s
started writing his first paragraph, guided by Paragraph Town. Of
course, he demonstrates no ability to spell when he’s composing a

The Girl continued into All About Spelling 2, which
she seems to really like the idea of, but if she ever gets a word
non-right she dissolves into tears. It appears I have another little
perfectionist. So we put that aside for a while and just worked on
reading some simple books, like Green Eggs and Ham, and Amelia Bedelia,
and Frog and Toad. Sometimes she even reads the instructions in her math
book, but mostly she’s too timid about possibly being wrong that she
asks for clarification of any instruction up to three times. (Yes, just
circle it! Argh!!!) I may need more patience. She’s also learning parts
of speech and occasionally dictating a story for me to write down.

The baby’s talking abilities and vocabulary are growing by leaps and bounds, and she even likes to move her finger along words as she pretends to read them. Green Eggs and Ham is one of her favorite books, probably because it taught her her new favorite phrase, “I do not like…” which she uses. All. Day. Long. Of course, “I do not like baths!!!!” is at least a little cuter than just screaming, “No!!!”.

Social Studies

To mix things up a little this year, we’re not just reading Story of the World and doing some activities. While it was fun when The Boy was little, The Girl isn’t as into dead leaders and their wars. Plus, The Boy needed something additional. So we added in some reading and activities from History Odyssey, Living Math, and went on a few trips that were mostly unrelated.

The Boy finished up SOTW 3, leading up to the civil war: Mexican independence, abolitionists, the Boers and Zulus, Trail of Tears, Opium Wars, the Alamo, New Zealand and the treaty of Waitangi, and the Gold Rush. He also read the entire declaration of independence with me and we discussed what the whole thing meant, using the metaphor of a breakup letter. He also studied France a bit.

Then, with his sister, they studied through SOTW chapter 13, about ancient Mesopotamia (Sumer, Babylon, Assyria, etc.), Egypt (Old, Middle, And New Kingdoms), Kush (Nubia), the Indus Valley, Ancient China, and Africa. They visited the American History museum, the Clara Barton House, Mount Vernon, the ground of the Needmore Mansion (a real archeological dig!), and (yesterday) toured the Constellation, the Lightship Chesapeake, and the Torsk (a submarine!).

I really enjoyed the reading and activities in Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors.
It focused on regular everyday life, how people lived, what they ate,
and who they worshiped, not just leaders and their wars.

Then, of course, they did some study of World War II, just by playing Battlefield 1942. 😉 They also study geography quite often, following their family members paths as they go on exotic trips across the Atlantic, through Europe, and to islands in the Pacific!

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