Yet again Grace asked me when I am going to blog. I struggle with this blog space. Is it a homeschool blog? Should I take it to the next level and really try to make a go of it for a little side income? Is it a family blog? One of my favorite bloggers, 71toes, has been able to keep blogging through the teen years and build a lovely collection of moments for her children to look back on.
|Gathering chive flowers to infuse in vinegar|
I do read a few homeschool blogs, quite a few actually, and I don’t want to to be the mom who is always complaining that her kids don’t do anything, slack off, and continually disappoint her. I also don’t want to be the mom that gives the impression that what I am doing is not hard, very hard in fact. In no way do I want to be a martyr for homeschooling. Yes it is hard. Yes I consider it equivalent to a full time job. Homeschooling and life are synonymous for us. At this point you just can’t separate the two. We live as if there is no school. How we learn and how we live are completely intertwined.
|Exploring the neighborhood with a friend.|
I used to love blogging. It was my hobby. I look back on the moments we had, the trips we took, the snow days, the beach days, the vacations, the museums, the park days, the baking days, the sports days, and it all brings back feelings of joy and love. Lately though, our lives have become a bit dull by comparison. Too much book work. Too few trips. Too little time with friends. Too little excitement over learning. Too much bickering. Too much worry over what we will do and how we will do it.
|dirty feet = happy day|
Having middle school and high school age children and being responsible for their education and ultimately their ability to follow through on their goals and dreams is a bit daunting at times. The past few weeks I have been really digging deep on how I want the next few years to be. Will homeschooling continue to work? Will the need to be around other children more frequently persuade them to return to school? Is what we are doing enough? Can I truly tune out the constant barrage of “look at me” posts of children taking full loads of AP classes and scoring perfectly on SAT, SATII, ACT, PSAT and God only knows what other test is out there? Can we find the joy we once had in our homeschool?
Yes. I think we can. I know we can.
First I have to find new material for us. We are going to stick with what works, like Teaching Textbooks for math and Writing Strands for writing. When we were engrossed in Story of the World the girls were fired up about learning. They were keeping notebooks and learning songs from The History Teachers. They were taking field trips and doing projects. This was the spine of our curriculum. This year we took a break so the girls could plan their own course of study for history and we learned amazing things and discovered amazing people but it is time to return to a more structured plan for history. We are going to work with Diana Waring’s History Revealed which to me is very similar to Story of the World, but for older students. I like that like SOTW, it is chronological and the girls will get deeper exposure to periods in history they are already familiar with. We are going to start with The Ancients for grade 9, Middle Ages for grade 10 and Modern Age for grade 11 (grade 7 through 9 for Lilah). This will be the majority of what we do. This will be our spine that pulls in literature, writing and researching and project based learning. We have already gone back to our Book of Centuries, and we will load up our Netflix account and Amazon Prime with quality videos that correspond to what we are learning.
And there you have it. Our 2014-2015 (July 1 through June 30) year mostly planned.
History: History Revealed: Ancients
Language Arts: Writing Strands, Wordly Wise, History Revealed plus book club, reading for pleasure and audio book selections.
Arts: Outside class at local art school supplemented by 6-8 week studies at home and local museum trips
Returning to once we week trip taking
Foreign Language: ASL II with outside teacher
Music lessons: at home for Lilah and Hartt School of Music for Grace
Science: To be determined: Possibly the 101 Series: Biology 101
*this is a tentative curriculum list which allows time for classes as they come up and time to dig deep and explore areas of interest.
This year we are going to incorporate Notebooking into our day. Very often Lilah will ask me what the point is to do certain things when there is no real outcome, no place to display, no award to be won. She does not see the point in doing beautiful work and then just sticking it in a binder to be forgotten. I have to agree. My Lilah is always looking at the big picture. I hope to join in on monthly get togethers that are organized by a homeschooling group that give the kids the opportunity to share something of their choice. It can be a project, a piece of music they are working on, a poem they have memorized or... a notebook they are building.
Notebooking will give them the opportunity to summarize their studies and build a comprehensive book that they can reflect back on as they get older. We began yesterday with a poetry entry which we made a duplicate copy of for our Book of Centuries (W.B. Yeats), who we were introduced to in our latest audio book, Andrew Clements, Things Hoped For.
This is where I am at right now. Family, learning, life. All rolled into one. Since Grace and Lilah are so fond of this blog and my thoughts about how we are living our lives, I pledge to you to do better with recording our adventures here. This is our story. You are not only reading it, you are creating it.