Category Archives: schooling

This Week

So much happening, it must be posted in bullets, or it will never be posted.

  • Transcript for 4 years of high school compiled for Josh to graduate.
    • This was a tough one because most of our records were online, and we’ve had multiple computer and printer problems this year. 
    • This required digging through boxes in the cellar to find school work from 9th and 10th grades.
    • This also required some serious crunch time on Josh’s part, which resulted in serious crunch time for grading the work on my part.
    • We’re done. He graduates tomorrow!
  • The Builder made a shelter for the 11 turkeys that have been living in our garage for a month. The Turkey Ark was finished today, and the turkeys were relocated to their new home.
  • The 20 21 23 22 many chickens that have been living in the garage for a month have been moved to the coop, affectionately referred to as the Taj-Ma-coop. We’ll see how they do.
  • The 9 ducks that have been living in our garage for a month have been relocated to temporary quarters until permanent shelter is built found.
  • We went to our last day at the middles’ homeschool co-op. Lots of fun was had by all. We ended the day with very tired middles and littles, and a Mama who is grateful for time off for the summer but is wondering what she’ll do without weekly sanity checks.
  • We ALL (even Josh and The Builder) went on a field trip to Children’s Day at a small living history museum. It was a wonderful way to end the official school year.
  • The garden was planted prepared for planting. We’re a little behind, but it seems that rocks grew very well over the winter and they needed to be removed. We got half of it done. We’re a little late for planting here, but we’re still going to put everything in and see what comes up. Because you never know.
  • Zach learned how to drive the tractor and tilled half of our field for planting. He’s walking much taller now, with a little man-swagger.
  • Zach and Maddie each got to back a vehicle down the driveway to clear the way to clean out the garage. They both have a little bit of man-swagger.
  • The 100 strawberry plants I planted last week are doing very well, even though some of our chickens think the new strawberry bed is a custom built dust-bath just for them. I still need to mulch them. Maybe next week.
  • Bingley the baby boy goat is a little “less” boy. We had him neutered (which is a much better alternative than the meat market). I was amazed at how fast and easy the process was. Much better than disbudding.
  • Maddie finished up all her reading books for the year and is looking for more. 
  • Maddie and Zach finished science for the year.
  • I’m looking forward to our first summer “off” in several years. Other than some reading and math (which are year-round subjects), we’re done with school!

Sorry, no pictures. With all those things going on, did you really expect me to take and download pictures? Impossible!

Making Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Once in a while I will, but for the most part I don’t need to. I’ve made a habit of evaluating what I’m doing and how I’m doing it on a pretty regular basis, so I don’t need to go for the big ones on one day. 

One of the things I evaluate on a pretty regular basis is how we’re doing with our schooling.  And I’m not thrilled with our current results. So out go the things that aren’t working, and back in come the proven things that do work. And our schedule gets a bit of modification here and there. And we’re back in business. Just a little more tweaking. Like how to keep two very busy little girls quietly busy when I’m needed by my middles.  See. Just a little tweaking.

One Decision

Its amazing how many changes one decision can bring. One simple choice, and a domino effect begins. Even when you know its a good choice, and the right choice, some of the changes are a little hard to handle.

My oldest son will be attending the same school my oldest daughter attended for a few years. As with her, we knew that homeschooling was, by far, the best educational choice. But, as with her, there are other circumstances that sometimes make private schooling a good option as well. So after a whirlwind of talking, meeting with the school administrator, and a LOT of prayer, it looks like Josh will be heading to classes on Tuesday. It will be nice to just be Mom again – not Mom, teacher, principal, disciplinarian, nagger of the eternal, “did you finish your school work” question. He’s been home with me since first grade, except for one semester in 6th grade when he gave school a shot – he was bored.

The changes?

  • How about 3 hours a day in the car driving him back and forth? In addition to the other errands we run. Yep, that’ll be fun. Anyone want to donate to our books on CD fund?
  • Sticking to someone else’s schedule. I love being able to come and go as we please. Its a nice day? Lets take the day off and go play. Now we have to abide by a school calendar, no matter the weather, or the energy level.
  • Waking everyone up and getting them dressed, fed and out the door by 7:00. That should be a breeze – I’m a morning person. Except Josh, Zach, Maddie and Emma all sleep till at least 7:00, sometimes 8:00. Emma can’t dress or feed herself, and we’re adding a newborn in a couple of weeks. How early do I need to wake up to nurse a newborn, and a 16 month old, and make breakfast, and shower, and actually put on clothes?
  • Josh – my Fetcher of Firewood, Snowplower of Driveway, and Mover of All Things Too Heavy to Lift By Myself, will not be home for most of the day. Somehow I need to make sure the wood is ready for the day, the snow doesn’t come before he needs to be picked up or before the Builder (my hubby) gets home, and I’ll need to either wait for weekends to rearrange furniture or start going to the gym.
  • Three nights a week, we need to leave our house by 5:00, and one night by 4:00, to get to church so he can practice with the Worship Team. We try to have dinner before we leave, although we often end up eating in the car. Now we still need to leave the house early, but by the time we get home from picking Josh up from school it will be 3:30-ish. Crockpot cooking will definitely be my lifesaver! I’ll just need to start supper by 5:00 am to fit it into the new schedule. =)

I’m sure there are other things we haven’t even thought about – like school events on weekends and evenings, projects that require library time – usually assigned during weeks we absolutely cannot get to the library for some reason, packing nutritional lunches that don’t need refrigeration or reheating (a lesson in creativity for everyone who needs to do this).

Looks like it’ll be an interesting year!

Planning

Its only February, but we need to start planning our homeschooling for next year. The first part sounds easy – complete a survey for our co-op group so they know which classes to prepare for high school and how many parents they’ll need as teachers. The math and science survey is easy. Josh will do Geometry and Physics next year. BUT, if Geometry is only going to be taught once a week instead of twice a week, we may not want to take it at co-op, we might do it at home on our own. If Physics is taught by the woman who absolutely LIVES for science, then he’ll take Physics at co-op (even if its only once a week), but if it is taught by the other person who seems to make everything more difficult than it needs to be, well, then we’ll need to do that one at home, too. So if we do math and science at home, which curriculum will we use? Well, math – there’s Teaching Textbooks – we used it last year for PreAlgebra and Algebra 1. Great program for homeschoolers. There’s VideoText – what Josh is using this year at co-op for Algebra II. It comes highly recommended, but I’m not thrilled with it – its a little complicated for home use, but it works well for co-op. Then there’s Saxon (lots of drill), Singapore (not even sure which book teaches Geometry), Bob Jones, Abeka, and several others. Ok, Math might be a little complicated. Let’s move on to Science.

If Josh takes Physics at co-op, it will be Bob Jones curriculum. Ok. BUT if we do it at home, do we use Bob Jones? Abeka? Apologeia? Do we even do Physics at home? Maybe we’ll go back and do Biology next year. But then the same curriculum question comes up. PLUS, we have to make sure we do the labs – can’t give full credit without the labs. Oh, and there’s always the option of dual enrollment at the community college – take a science class there (with the lab) and let it count for high school and college credit. Possibly an option. Hmmm, maybe Science is a little complicated, too. Let’s move on to English.

The English survey for co-op asks what we want/need for next year. A writing program? Well, yes, but I’m not too thrilled with the program this year, but then I don’t have any better suggestions, so I suppose it is better than nothing. Literature? Absolutely! But that’s one we can easily do at home. Its just a simple matter of deciding which books to study. I hate using a textbook for literature – they give you just a snippet of great writing, ask you to analyze it, and move on to the next snippet. I definitely think literature should be studied by actually reading an entire book! Radical, I know. And then there’s the WordView curriculum option at co-op. An amazing curriculum. Teaches our kids how to think, how to reason through things. Yes, another radical idea. If we choose that option, it will count for 3-4 credits, so we might not need anything else other than math and science. The downside of it is that the books are a little on the challenging side, and Josh isn’t an amazingly strong reader, so I’m afraid he’d be more frustrated with trying to keep up than anything. But then, sometimes a challenge is good. Still not sure about English, so I’ll put it off and discuss with hubby when he gets home tonight. Unfortunately, the surveys are due tomorrow, so we don’t have a ton of time to mull it over.

Then we have the other items – SAT prep. Pretty important. Music. Important to be a well rounded individual, plus Josh really loves playing the guitar. History? Not necessary if we do WorldView, but if we don’t then I need to find something. Kind of takes us back to the curriculum question. If we do all this at home, do we use a prepackaged curriculum? Build our own? Satellite? Videos? Textbooks? Real books? Some make credit counting easy, others make you really think about how to count the subjects being studied.

So all that is just for how to get Josh through 10th grade. But I also need to plan out 11th and 12th for him to make sure he gets everything he needs to be prepared for college (and more importantly, for life).

Then there’s Zach and Maddie. I like using whole books. Something about actually reading a real book and learning from it makes sense to me. I don’t like textbooks and workbooks (except for math – they work for math). BUT with a new baby in the picture, I’m not sure how much time I’ll really be able to spend reading and teaching, so the video programs and textbooks/workbooks are rather appealing to me. But I don’t want to shortchange their education just because I’m busy with a new baby. But I don’t want to plan on having time to read and teach and then shortchange them by not really having time to read and teach. (Sigh.)

The thought of just sending the kids to the nearest school on the first bus that comes by is starting to look appealing. Let someone else make the decisions. Then if it doesn’t work out, I have someone else to blame. But I guess it would still be my fault for sending them to school instead of teaching them at home, so maybe that’s not the answer at all. Sure would be easier in the short run though!

Anybody out there have an answer? I don’t want to be in charge right now. These choices are too hard. I want it to be simple. One size fits all education. Oh, that’s what the public schools do. Doesn’t seem to always work very well. Back to square one. What are we doing for next year?

My Morning

School has officially started for Josh. Zach and Maddie are impatiently waiting for Friday – they get to take classes at our homeschool co-op. Katie starts on Monday.

So, this morning I was up at 4:00 am. Zach wasn’t feeling well and he crawled into bed with us. Out of bed at 7:00, shower, etc. Take Kate to work at 7:30, run into Target to pick up some last minute school supplies for Josh, drive home, get little kids dressed, fed, ready for the day, sew Josh’s jeans that he wanted to wear today and were ripped along a seam (he told me last night at about 9:30), make up his daily schedule draft to take to chemistry class as proof that he has time in his schedule to do the work he’s going to need to do, drive back into town for dr. appointment (the fun annual physical, blood work, etc. woohoo), hit Big Lots for a magnifying glass set that Josh needs for today that no one else in Texas seems to carry, drive home, call Josh on the way and tell him to be ready to go because there’s lots of construction, come home, inhale a rice cake with peanut butter, make one for Josh because he “forgot” to get lunch, get everyone into the van, drive back into town taking the long way because construction is really slowing everyone down, get to enrichment 2 minutes late, but still early (class starts at 12:00, everyone must arrive at the building by 11:50 so as to still have time to get to class), turn around, drive home, get lunch for the littler kids, find the daily schedule draft that I wrote for Josh on the counter because he didn’t put it into his bag when I told him to, do the dishes from breakfast and lunch, check email and that brings me to now. Just a typical day in our home.

I must say, there is an odd sense of beauty in the busyness of daily life. At least I know I accomplished something today.

Supreme Court Recognizes Homeschooling

“For the first time, homeschooling has been recognized as a viable educational alternative,” writes J. Michael Smith.

A case which recently went to the U.S. Supreme Court, Morse v. Frederick, involved whether or not a public school can limit freedom of speech. The case was decided 5-4, saying that the school principal did not violate the rights of a student when she removed a banner of his that advocated illegal drug use.

In his opinion of the case, Justice Clarence Thomas stated, “If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move.”

So, the good news, is that homeschooling is finally recognized by the Supreme Court. The bad news is that public schools have ultimate authority over our children if they attend the school.

Read the Washington Times article here.