We took our spring break with the area public schools this week. As usual, I had far more planned to do than I could possibly get done—will I ever learn? Not only was my list aggressive, but it became obvious to me by Wednesday that what I needed most was rest. With that thought in mind, the highlights of much of my week went something like this:
Monday—cleaning, hair (youngest daughter)
Tuesday—sewing, cleaning, hair (oldest daughter)
Wednesday—school planning, grades for college kids
Somewhere in there I had a birthday on Wednesday
Friday was a flurry of activities. We took advantage of a field trip that was postponed during our winter storm, so we packed up and met a local homeschool group for a tour through a water treatment facility. Afterward, because we were losing our weekend time with a brief out-of-town trip planned, I ran around town like a chicken with its head cut off, replacing car tires and replenishing dance supplies.
By Saturday, I needed a break from my break, and it came in the form of a trip to the beach. Plan A was to stay two nights, but we’d forgotten what happens to hotel rates in the midst of spring break. When we had our rude awakening, we chose to make a turnaround trip. The beach was, nevertheless, very relaxing for me, and great fun for the kids once they got acclimated to the difference of terrain. Our older two are so funny; it took them a long time to adjust to stepping through LOTS of seaweed to reach the water, then another long while before they actually allowed themselves to adjust to the water temperature. (“It’s soooooo cold!” they complained.) By the time they settled down to make sand castles and take walks, it was almost time to head home!
Sunday was a somewhat relaxing trip back home. I say ‘somewhat’ because we planned to stop off at a mission in Goliad, TX, and the tour wound up being so much more than we expected. The Alamo gets all the attention in these parts, but I’ve found that the “off -the-beaten-path” types of tours are the ones that pleasantly surprise you, and this mission, Presidio La Bahia, did not disappoint. Our short stop-over took us almost two hours, and we still did not see the second mission, Espiritu Santu. Next year, both our girls will cycle back around to early American history studies, and so this was a perfect opportunity to talk about the influence of Spain in the Southwestern United States.
Speaking of next year, it is about that time to consider what about our current plan will be continued/ revisited/ scrapped, etc. I’m thankful that we’ve hit a groove where we are both comfortable and bearing fruit, so not too much has to be scrapped altogether, but there is always room for improvement. With only nine weeks left until we begin summer, this is about the time of year that I begin to realize how much was left on the table (or in this case, in my planner), and how we can adjust for the following year to make their experience—and mine–more memorable.
I cannot believe that my baby will be a 3rd grader in the fall! I worked hard this year to put more elementary school fun into her day, with some hits and misses. The biggest “miss” is that I fell off the wagon, so to speak, with the plan of doing something special each month with her in mind as the year progressed. Though we’ve definitely gotten out more, and have even taken a few days off, I still feel as if I could tighten up, or rather, loosen up some more in this area. She was looking through old photos of the older two in the earliest days of homeschooling and wondering why she doesn’t get to cook as a part of her day. I tell you, managing the seasons of homeschool has perhaps been my biggest challenge yet. Anyhow, as I ponder those thoughts, here is what her academic year will probably look like in the fall. You’ll see with all three children that I’m still contemplating reading lists.
English: Rod and Staff Christian English series
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting
History: Early American History with A Blessed Heritage Educational Resources
Math: Horizons Math 2/3
Science: Apologia Zoology 1/ 2
Latin: Prima Latina by Memoria Press
Read-Aloud/ Reading List (Sonlight 3 readers as a possibility)
Our son is the epitome of a homeschooler—chronologically, a public school system would place him in 8th grade in the fall. Yet, because he’s studied with his sister as much as was possible, he has a couple of courses that he’ll actually take on as a high school freshman. Of course, he is at 8th grade level in several courses, and because of the extensive Rod and Staff text, he is completing 7th grade English. He’s our middle/ high schooler (smile). I haven’t worried too much about it yet, but in the back of my mind, I know that if he keeps on track, he will probably graduate high school earlier than I personally would like him to leave home. So much to think about and so little time, you know? Anyway, this is his potential year beginning in the summer/ fall:
Apologetics: Know What You Believe by Paul Little/ The Deadliest Monster by J.F. Baldwin
Character: Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (second year)
Grammar: Rod and Staff Christian English series
History: The Great Books (http://www.thegreatbooks.com) (Year 1)
Latin: Henle by Memoria Press
Logic: How to Read a Book (second year)
Pre-Algebra/ Algebra: Teaching Textbooks
Physical Science: Apologia Science
Read-Aloud/ Reading List:
The biggest question mark with him is how to take advantage of some of the elective opportunities that are available to him in our area, yet work with the girls as appropriate. We have an area debate team that I’d love to get him more involved in based upon his interests, but I’ve heard that it is a tremendous workload, and I just don’t know where we’d fit in another item.
Of course, college preparation has been the focus of our oldest daughter’s curriculum. With the Lord’s help, she will actually get a taste of that season via the dual degree program at our local community church. She’s actually going through several significant changes in the coming year. She and I have different opinions about well she is juggling school and her many extracurricular activities. Let me tell it, her grades are decent, but she’s losing sleep and having to study almost all of the time. That is not the intention, but since it is the reality, she will cut back drastically on some of her current activities in order to focus on her academics, and on her overall health and well-being. My prayer is that she’ll be able to complete her English courses at college, but this is what I envision for her during her time at home:
Chemistry: Apologia Science/ Meteorology with Connect the Thoughts (2nd semester)
Algebra 2: Teaching Textbooks
History: American Government and Civics
Latin: Henle by Memoria Press
Economics: Sonlight/ Thinkwell (?)
Read-Aloud/ Reading List:
I have in mind what I want to do, but I’m at a quandary as to how to do it with her. We’ve been using The Great Books curriculum (see link above) to cover the past two years of history, but I thought to focus in more on American Government and Ethics. Sonlight is normally my go-to curriculum when I don’t quite know how I might craft something myself, but Sonlight’s American Government course is a part of a core program that costs $600! That is more than I spend on curriculum for all three of our children, and even if the Lord blessed me with a windfall, I wouldn’t spend it that way. So I’m looking at options—is there a way to buy the IG for Sonlight without buying the whole packaged curriculum, could I modify the Great Books curriculum, and if so , what to use, what else is out there,…
How about you? What plans/ changes/ anxieties are you facing regarding next year?
P.S. I am thinking about a Civics program from Connecting the Thoughts, available through Currclick. Has anyone else used this?