Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer 2013

As you can tell from my lack of posting, we had quite the busy summer. We had a friend come from England and stay with us for six weeks. Then Brody and I participated in our local community theater; I was art and he had a small part. The summer was wonderful. We traveled, hung out, made new friends, enjoyed our local atmosphere. It was restful and fun.

One thing I did not do this summer was obsess over school. I gave myself permission to ignore it. At least until a certain date. And that's what I did. I put it out of my mind. I did that for ONE GOOD REASON: I wanted to live my life. It is immeasurably important to live your life. That means not letting life bump me from one activity to another, but to be fully invested in each moment. If you find it impossible to do that, you may need to reevaluate some things.

This is not to say that you don't gather materials and ideas as you go. If you're choosing to homeschool, you know, it is always in the back of you mind. I went to a used book sale. I purged my bookshelves one afternoon. I chose my topics before last school year was done. The planning is always there, but it is possible to not obsess.

On August 4th, I buckled up and hunkered down and got to planning. I found fun places for my kids to be for three straight days. They were having a great time. I gathered all my supplies, cooked some food to put in the fridge and got down to it. In those three, uninterrupted days I was able to read the materials, write outlines for the classes, created spreadsheets and write worksheets and study questions. I didn't finish it all. I worked four more days with the kids home, but those three days were invaluable. I was ready for the year!

I suppose my purpose for writing this post is this: do what you do. Don't obsess over things to the point that you lose interest before you ever start. If you have the chance to do theater, enjoy it. If you can visit the sights, go! When it comes time to plan, plan hard. Get it done. Don't let the panic set it. Do not fear; you can get it done without killing yourself!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reading List 2012-13

I just realized after reviewing the blog that I never listed the Reading List from this year.

Animal Farm
Fahrenheit 451
Lord of the Flies
The Hobbit
The Old Man and the Sea
Daughter of Mercy
Heart of Darkness
The Hiding Place
The Great Gatsby

The hubs said I should tell you about the transition and teaching that took place between The Hiding Place and The Great Gatsby. We read those books, in that order, on purpose. We read The Hiding Place with an eye to Corrie ten Boom's definition of suffering, love and hope. We discussed the depth and hopefulness of the book. Then we moved on to The Great Gatsby.

The kids in my class immediately commented on the hopelessness and shallowness of the book. The setting of TGG is the Roaring Twenties, between the Great War and the Great Depression and in the middle of Prohibition. This was a time of massive wealth and prosperity. No one in the book is starving or ripped away from their families, and yet, it is a very hopeless book. THP is a book set during World War 2 and involves death and starvation and concentration camps. Yet, it is full of hope and love.

Our co-op class to the time to dissect and contrast. We discussed values and eternity. We read scripture and talked of possible applications in the future. We openly confronted our fears of suffering and were reminded of God's faithfulness. What a great topic!

Overall, the lit class was one of the highlights of my year. I've received emails and even a gift from the kids involved. They can see the value of dissecting worldviews now. God is good!

End of the Year 2012-13

The year is coming to a close. We only have a week and a half left. The year has gone very well. In fact, I think it might be the best year we've had so far. Our mornings have been more consistent; Bible, Latin and Health have happened every morning. Score! Because Math has happened very consistently, their learning curve is tremendous. Our afternoons have been free for the most part, allowing for more play time with friends.
High School English Co-op

We were involved in 2 co-ops this year, plus the Olders had another class. The Olders had one of the co-ops on Monday for the purpose of English Grammar and Literature. The Youngers had one co-op on Fridays for the purpose of History, Science, Geography, Current Events and Missions. The extra class was Anatomy.

These two co-ops took up most of our Mondays and Fridays. We still had time for Bible, Latin, Health and Math. (usually!) On Mondays we also had piano and ballet. Mondays have been hectic.

Overall, this year has been a success. I am pleased. We met most of the goals we set for the year. The Olders are better prepared for college. They have read a LOT more this year than last and were completely able to keep up and dialogue. The Youngers are ready for the next year. I feel like their critical thinking skills are more developed. Their ability to follow a syllabus is better defined. Their time management skills are improving.

I can see where I pushed too hard (Latin grammar) and where I didn't push hard enough (writing time, as usual). I have lots of ideas for next year and have already made an outline. History of Art is on the table thanks to a wonderful friend who wants to invest her time and energy in my kids. Yay! Math is purchased already. Science curriculum is bought as well. Trying to decide about the English Co-op.

Beginning of the year goals are crucial! End of the year evaluation is equally as important!

Sit down with your younger kids and together, lay out all the work they've done this year. Watch their confidence swell when they realize what they've accomplished. Sit down with your older kids and discuss your beginning of the year goals. Ask for their input for next year.

Homeschooling when done consistently and enthusiastically will teach your kids far more than simple reading, writing and arithmetic. It teaches them how to function in society. It teaches them to first work hard and then get their reward. It teaches them to push through when they want to give up. So many great lessons!

I'm looking forward to a few weeks OFF! No researching or scheduled planning days. I'm sure I'll be thinking and letting ideas form though.