Like most months, this one has flown by. I swear they are going by faster and faster and I just want to reach out and hold on and make one slow down just a bit. September was a good month filled with birthday love, friendships both new and old, family time around my mother's dining room table, and the start of new educational programs.
We are still adjusting to the work load increase that our coop brought us. The addition of two classes, The Hero's Journey and History, has made for a home that looks just a little bit more traditional and less like it has looked for the previous eight years and some of us are deciding if that is a good thing or not. For the record, I think it is a good thing. The girls wanted more' more challenge, more opportunities, more friends, more time to be with friends and I was struggling to provide this to two very different girls with different learning styles, different personalities, and different interests. I'm only one Mama and my hat goes off to those who homeschool large families.
If you join an educational program, there is work that comes with that and time must be allowed to transition from a more unschooled way of life where we worked at our own pace, followed rabbit trails wherever they led, had few deadlines, and created our own schedule. Now we are up every day early (still not as early as the kids on the school bus who goes by my house at 6:30am), but early for us. Now we are packing backpacks. Now we are creating schedules in planners and making sure that every single piece of work is listed so nothing is forgotten. Now we are using what we once considered "free" time to work. Work: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. We don't do "school", but we do do work. What are we doing?
Current reading: The Odyssey. What I thought would kill us has truly made us stronger. Lilah detests Odysseus and has valid reasons for this. Grace is keeping up and she will skim over the violent scenes like when Odysseus spears the Cyclops because she is Grace and violence does not enter her world in any way. They are writing essays -- the assignment this week was to write about an epic failure and what you learned from it. The essays had to be run through a grammar check and sent via Google drive by Monday night. They were. Six books (chapters) had to be read this week and Lilah completed her reading but Grace did not. The two unfinished books will be added to this week's workload. That's okay. That's life learning. Learning to work smarter. She sure is working harder.
History: Unit 4 out of 15 already! By the end of the first semester the entire book will be finished. For each unit, they must answer and hand in 5 questions which is totally reasonable. This week we are headed to Plimouth Plantation for a guided tour. There are more trips to follow.
Photography 102: yes there is homework and it often involves driving to locations but this is fun work and I love it as much as they do!
Piano/worship band/cello/music theory: We upped our music game this year adding music theory (taught by Lilah's cello teacher) for Grace and Lilah is now playing with the worship band at coop and Grace is playing with worship band at youth group. This brings significantly more practice time during the week.
Math: we have to make the time to work through a lesson a week
Science: same here. We have 4 hours of video for Biology 101 left.
Driver's Ed: 40 hours must be logged and an 8 hour drug and alcohol class must be taken along with a 2 hour parent education class. This is challenging because Lilah cannot be in the car while I give Grace a lesson. While I feel this rule is ridiculous, it is the law, and we fit in driving lessons at the end of the day when the work is done and Lilah can stay home.
Then there are the little things that are not so little, like going to Manhattan on Saturdays for ASL which takes all afternoon, and church which is not a burden but occupies most of our Sunday. Throw in a Doctor appointment, dentist or chiropractor and that adds stress AND it is important to have friend time too.
We are still figuring it out. It is going to take some time, perhaps all semester, but we are growing and striving for excellence, and discovering. Day to day and week to week we are learning.