One topic that I don’t hear discussed much in my homeschool circles (or online) is taking time for review. My guess is that it’s not quite as exciting to talk about going backwards (so to speak) as finding new topics and new curriculum. But I find it important to review some of the topics and units we’ve covered in the past. We do that on a daily/weekly basis (with cards like you see below), but also on an annual basis.
Daily/Weekly Review: One things that helps me keep on top of what I want to review is having an index card system. I talked about this quite a bit last year in the post, Creating Daily Procedures and Routines. In that post I talked about the checklist I made for the kids, but I also talked about their index card review and how we keep that organized. That’s one way we keep on top of basic terms the kids need to know in individual subjects such as math, German, science, and so forth.
We also use lapbook pieces from time to time to help with daily review (for example, we did a number of history lapbook pieces when we studied the Renaissance artists and their patrons) that we kept referring back to
and LD *still* uses this pre-algebra lapbook page I made for him last spring to help him remember those rules!
We seem to spend time on review in the spring… perhaps because in the fall and again in January we’re excited and delve deep into new topics and units.
In our homeschool I’ve found that sometimes we circle around and cover an entire unit again in more depth, but other times we just spend 3 to 5 days reviewing and talking about the units we’ve done.
Probably the best example of this, we spend quite a bit of time reviewing various grammar rules each year. We go over some of the same topics and skills each year (our grammar sheets are all free!):
The past couple of weeks, we’ve been spending some time reviewing some of our past units.
Civics & Government: For example, we pulled out our set of civics cards and have been reviewing basic information about the Constitution & the 3-branches of government. Even though we covered this material in-depth last year, the kids had forgotten a lot. (Let’s be honest, it’s hard to remember there are 434 members in the House of Representatives and 100 in the Senate!) It came back really quickly to my older two, but for my youngest it was almost as if it were new material. So, we added in a couple of fun videos from School House Rock
We pulled out our Civics review cards and going over those each day. Plus, we spent time looking over the history notebook pages they created when we did that unit.
Simple Machines: Recently, I also printed out some of the sheets from our Simple Machines unit and spent some time going over the 6 simple machines with my youngest. While my older two still clearly remember that unit, my youngest was 5 at the time. (Some of you may have noticed that I put together a video about our Simple Machines unit a week or so ago. Now you know why!! That was because ED and I were spending time reading those books & reviewing that materials again!)
Cell Unit, Organelles, Photosynthesis, etc.: Another unit we’ve been spending time reviewing recently is our Cell Unit – and the material we covered about plants & photosynthesis. We also have spent a bit of time each day reviewing the organelles of the cell again. (Some of you might remember this video of DD naming the various organelles of the cell – scroll down through that post and you’ll see the video) From there we went over the parts of the plant, photosynthesis, and how water and nutrients are carried around the plant (xylem– transport water from roots to shoot and leaves and phloem– the living tissue that carries organic to all parts of the plant where needed).
We’ve talked quite a bit about how glucose plays such a key role in both plants and animals.
- In plants sunlight helps convert water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in glucose (C6H12O6) with oxygen (O2) as a byproduct released by plants.
- What takes place in the mitochondria is the release of energy – using oxygen (O2) to break down glucose (C6H12O6 ) and creating the byproduct CO2.
And we even brought out our molecules to show why there is oxygen left over (when you take 6 water molecules and 6 carbon dioxide molecules to make 1 glucose molecule). I didn’t take pictures this time round but here’s a picture from last year. Our photosynthesis worksheets are currently free by the way.
Human Body: Since we didn’t do a new human body unit this spring (we just finished our Ocean Unit, in fact I’ll be sharing that new packet very soon), I’m thinking we’ll spend some time at least reviewing the basic human body systems again even if we don’t go into depth. (We’ll probably start with a unit on the circulatory system when we start up next fall.)
Anyway, I felt compelled to write this post because I’m feeling really good about how much the kids have learned and retained. We might not be covering a lot of new material, but I’ve found it’s been invaluable spending some time reviewing. In a way, all this review really helps ME get a better feel for what the kids have learned and what they may have missed along the way.
Do you set aside time to review units you’ve done in the past few years? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts! ~Liesl
Other posts in this series:
- Thoughts on Teaching: The Wise Teacher and the Student
- Challenging and Inspiring our (Homeschooled) Kids
- Thoughts on Teaching: Life Happens
- Homeschooling is Like Coaching an Olympic Sport
- How to Start Homeschooling - This post also has links to some good material for veteran homeschoolers like finding science, history, language arts curriculum, etc.
- 20 Thoughts for the Busy Homeschool Family
One last quote for today! You’ll find a long list of educational activities you can incorporate into your homeschool at this post!