Saturday, October 8, 2016

Settling In

I have learned over the years not to post too much about what we plan to do for the upcoming year because things change.  It takes a month to solidify a schedule and determine what is working and what is not working.  So here we are a month in and I'm happy to say that just about everything is working.  However, there are a few things that are not going so well and the beauty of homeschooling is that we get to make changes that fit our schedule and our kids' interests and learning styles.

Grace loves ASL.  She began studying this language in 8th grade because we knew the more traditional languages like Spanish or French would be challenging for her.  She excelled in sign language because it matches her learning style.  She and Lilah studied in classes and with tutors for three years.  Eventually we decided to try The Sign Language Center in Manhattan for 2 ½ hour complete immersion classes.  She loves it.  I wish they had satellite classes in Connecticut because the commute is just too much for us right now.  While New York is commutable, it is a 90 minute train ride each way and combined with the length of the class, an entire day is devoted to the study of this beautiful language.  We leave around 10:30 am and do not return home until 5:30pm and we don't mess around. We dash to the train, board the subway directly from Grand Central, walk three blocks, go to class (I hang out in Starbucks), then do the reverse and come home.  We don't dilly dally.  We don't explore.  We don't hang out.  We get in and we get out.  We are tired.  It is too much for us right now.  So what to do??  She has met her foreign language "requirement".  In Connecticut, us homeschoolers are required to provide an equivalent education but it is not stated what classes they must take.  Her transcript will show ASL 4.  She can be done if she chooses but her goal is fluency and she is not there yet.  She can have a conversation and that is great, but mastering a language is hard and needs to be worked at continually.  Sadly, there are not many options for ASL study at a higher level in Connecticut.  I will continue to search out options for her because it was decided that after this session of ASL  ends, she will take a break from classes in the city.

Lilah is plugging along with French and it too is a challenge.  She studies French at our coop and one lesson a week is just not enough.  It is to be determined if she stays with French past this semester or returns to ASL in the winter/spring.

The other issue we have is our workspace.  We tried the library but it is not working.  Well, I should say it works for one of my girls but not the other.  The teen section is right off the computer bay where people sign out computers and seem to have forgotten library manners.  They are loud.  Cell phones ring.  People use "outside voices" inside.  On top of this, the teen section allows tutors to work with high school students who are on alternative learning programs so they are talking and working through lessons and we simply cannot work quietly.  The quiet section is in the dungeon, the basement of the library where the walls are gray and there are no windows.  It is depressing to work there.  We tried reserving study rooms but only one has a window.  It has a small desk and two chairs and there is no way three people can work productively.  The other rooms are dungeon like, with no windows.  Just can't do it.  For now we have returned to working at home.  Now that Daphne is with Jesus, our house is much quieter.  One of the reasons we went to the library was to escape her constant barking at walls.  We are now able to work at home.  Because one of my girls still prefers working outside of home, we are going to try letting her go off with a friend who works at a library in a neighboring town every day.  

That's it!  My only two issues with our new semester and if this is all I have to fret over, I will take it!  These are manageable issue and customizable to each child.  Often decisions over classes, curriculum, or coops, affect the entire family but this is not the case this year.  I feel confident in our choices, in their classes, in the teachers they have and in the work they are producing.  They have never worked harder academically but they are balancing time for work, time for fun, time for church and time for personal interests.  

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