Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wonderwood Academy 2008-9

Jelly – 6th grade
Doodle – 4th grade

Learning Adventures –- A World of Adventure & A NEW World of Adventure
Piano Classes
Nature Walks
LOTS of library books on LOTS of topics,
because we’re still quite partial to Charlotte Mason and her living books!

Our main course of study:
Learning Adventures – A World of Adventure
Middle Ages and Botany
Renaissance and Astronomy
Explorers and Marine Science

After last year’s late start, it was especially good to get back to school in August, as we are accustomed to doing. We had just gotten started, though, when we took a time out for the Summer Olympics. How could we not?

Check out what’s on the screen in the background. (The braids, btw, are a fun-and-more-comfortable-than-curlers way to get gorgeous wavy hair for church on Sunday.)

In trying to figure out how to do our school year in review, I decided that this year it would be easier to do by subject. If you read this to the end, you’ll get a good idea of how we covered things. We don’t always go from A to Z, but we get there!

Here we go!

We use a combination of things for our devotionals, including personal scripture study as well as the Bible study in Learning Adventures. Add in the Faith in God program and more recently Personal Progress, and fairly regular Family Home Evenings. Jelly is getting really good at planning those! The girls really made some wonderful strides in growing their testimonies this year.

Reading and other language arts (vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing, etc.) are also covered in our unit studies. (Thank you again, Dorian!) Reading good literature, no twaddle, really has been a fun way to learn what CAN be not-so-fun skills. We did add in regular journaling, which the girls usually enjoy very much.

We continue to use Math-U-See, and both the girls are making good progress. Math probably will never be their favorite subject, but at least it doesn’t cause tears anymore.

We made it through three complete (more on the incomplete later) units in our Learning Adventures this year, which means we have finally finished the first volume, A World of Adventure. We studied the Middle Ages and Botany, the Renaissance and Astronomy, and Explorers and Marine Science.

Jelly wasn’t ready to give up learning about the ocean when we finished that unit, so we’re going to continue that next year. We’ll use Jeanne Fulbright’s Exploring Creation with Zoology 2, Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.

So we covered science: in our unit studies (Botany/Herbology See post 9/13/2008) and also added Beach/Pier Nature Walks, and picking fruit (botany) with Papa, and swimming (marine science), swinging (physics - centrifugal force), and making juice (more botany) with cousins whenever possible!

We took field trips, like hikes at the El Dorado Nature Center (both in the fall and in the spring), checked out the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch and Orange County Zoo (10/15/2008 post), traveled north for a Liahona Field Trip to Griffith Park Observatory, and took a tour of a local PetCo in February with a knowledgeable animal specialist as our guide. We celebrated Woody’s 25th Anniversary at Boeing in April, and a couple of days later, Jelly also had a chance to go with him to the Boeing Plant in Huntington Beach for their annual “Take Your Kid to Work Day.” Next year Doodle will be old enough to go, too!

Some of our favorite science adventures this year came about because we bought a membership at the Aquarium of the Pacific when we went there for Homeschool Day. (See post 9/12/2008) We tried to get there once a month and enjoyed every visit except our last one. It was recent, during the summer, and was just too crowded for us. We are so spoiled to being able to go places for school when most other kids are “in” school.

Our Social Studies started this year with the Middle Ages, (See post 9/19/2008), but we also began our concurrent history study of the California Missions when we went to San Diego to celebrate Woody's birthday. Later, in the spring, we also toured the mission at San Juan Capistrano. We have plans to visit many more, if not all, the missions in the next year or so.

For Halloween, Jelly and the Doodle dressed as Renaissance witches, probably influenced by our Middle Ages/Renaissance studies. Another dress-up opportunity came when we went to Koroneburg, the German Renaissance Faire in Corona, in May of this year. The girls were both “knighted” into the Order of the Fabled Readers. Great fun!

We actually try to avoid some “Current Events”, but in November we did a Civics Field Trip. After discussing the issues, we voted and then watched the returns come in. You win some, you lose some. It was a learning experience. Enough said.

We had a HUGE focus on Fine Arts this year, mostly because of the fact that the entire family was involved in the Savior of the World production (See 10/13/2008 post.) In addition to weekly angel choir rehearsals, the girls took piano lessons beginning in September. Our holiday concert season began, as usual, with the Messiah Sing-Along, sponsored by the Yorba Linda Arts Alliance. Because Woody is their tenor soloist, it's a tradition that has opened our Christmas season on the Sunday after Thanksgiving for five years now. During December, the entire Woody family was busy rehearsing, singing for or attending special Christmas concerts.

Rehearsals for the SOTW intensified after the holidays, exponentially each month until opening night, March 25, 2009. Jury duty for Mrs. Woody (and MANY field trips to the court house) complicated everyone’s lives beginning the last week of February and continuing three to four days a week through the opening week of the production of the Savior of the World. There were 10 shows. We are SO thankful that we were able to share that amazing experience as a family. It is something we will always treasure. We also were able to share the experience in May of attending a live broadcast (on Mother’s Day) of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir -– Music and the Spoken Word. What a blessing! Concert season ended for this school year with the annual Patriotic Community Concert in Anaheim Hills –on the Saturday before the 4th of July. We are blessed to be Americans…………. . . and occasionally proud, too.

Life skills are daily events at Wonderwood Academy but we had a few focus events this year. In November, Liahona took a free field trip to Albertson's - with a focus on learning to be "Healthy Eaters". That same month, Liahona had a quilting class under the trees at Heritage Park. We got a fabulous intro and mini history of quilting, a hands-on opportunity for kids and grown-ups to use a rotary cutter, and made decisions on what kind of quilts we wanted to make. We had planned on actually MAKING quilts this year, but family difficulties for our instructor left us hanging. The new plan, at least for our family, is to make a quilt square as we study each state this year and put a quilt together when we finish the 50th one.

November was definitely the month for a focus on life skills. On the 15th, the Freeway Complex fire burned closer than any fire we've experienced before. Our bishop's family, as well as two other families at church, lost their home. Half the ward was evacuated. Jelly was packed and ready to go. Doodle handled her fears by escaping into one of her favorite movies. Though it's been amazing to see the strength and love of our ward family as people step in to serve each other, I hope we never have that experience again. If we do, we ARE more prepared to handle it. We continue to work on our emergency preparedness supplies and plans.

In December, our baby, the Doodlebug, turned nine years old!! This was a year for a family celebration, so she got to plan the entire day's menus. She developed a love for hand sewing when she was tiny, watching her Grandma Joy, and still talks about how she used to "help" put in some of the stitches. Watching Aunt Debby work on her current project revived Doodle's desires for a project that she can do "by herself." So, her special birthday gift was to select a printed cross stitch project. She's making a pillow case with a princess design.

Also in December, Christmas School was in session at Wonderwood Academy. We participated (along with God daughter, SwimChick) in a special HOAC Co-Op on the Twelve Days of Christmas and combined that with Christmas Around the World. In conjunction with that, for at least the third year (I need to check on this) we attended the Orange Stake's Creche and Christmas Concert. It was especially fun this year to look for nativities from the countries we studied in our Christmas unit at Wonderwood.

The New Year, and January 2009 brought renewed goals, 15 min. at a time!!!

Having survived the spring, we made plans for and took what we called the Big Loop Expedition – It was a HUGE Field Trip, motivated by our granddaughter’s baptism in Minnesota. We traveled and explored for nearly three weeks., which included visiting MANY national parks, monuments, and memorials. That trip really deserves a post all its own.

Add in Girls’ Camp, and nearly weekly Mutual activities for Jelly now that she has turned 12, cooking, continued trips to our local libraries (two of them now), and play days and family adventures whenever we can arrange them, and you have what we are pleased to call a very well-rounded school year.

Can’t wait for the next one to begin!

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