We’re baaaaaccccckkkkk, at least for a brief moment!
We had a tremendous time, and experienced God’s “blow-your-mind” blessings as described in Ephesians 3:20. Then, during this past weekend, our older two participated in an academic competition. Given the trip to Memphis, we literally went almost around the clock preparing in the last minute-effort to give the kids a chance at winning. In just five short days, we’ll leave again for the Titus 2:1 Conference in Sterling, VA. I am pinching myself that all of this and more is transpiring in these few weeks, but I’m also glad to settle down into a blog post for moment. Writing gives me some sense of normalcy.
It’s been a long while since I’ve been to a conference–on either side of a booth. It occurs to me how overwhelming the choices are for someone who is just entering this season of parenting and educating at home. One of my customers, who had homeschooled for 17 years, shared that when her family began homeschooling, it was the choice of a small few who embraced homeschooling as an extension of God’s will for parenting. Now, as she observed, it’s big business.
In making this big business somehow fit neatly into our home, I’ve been think about next school year and what we’ll do, where I’ll focus, etc. Here are my thoughts as of right now:
1) Courses for the oldest will be driven by her choices of college, and what is required to close the gap between where she needs to be versus where she is. Regardless of her plans, her course load will be some combination of high school and college courses as we continue to take advantage of Texas’ dual enrollment opportunities, chipping away at her college requirements while we wrap up high school.
Amazing that her schedule is the simplest of all three kids–WOW!
2) Our son is continuing through his third stint in the classical cycle, studying medieval history this year. There are books that I didn’t think our oldest would enjoy, but I’m looking forward to sharing them with him. He also wants to study Swahili, so I’ve had fun pulling together sites for language study; what remains is to find a few living books to compliment our work. I’m also looking for living books to accompany our biology studies. I’ve struggled with how to approach this year, when he should study biology. He has no long-term interest in science, and I’ve slowly, but surely, steered away from our household staple, Apologia, at the older levels. Yet, I’d bought their (allegedly) elementary level Anatomy and Physiology text for the youngest–a failed experiment. So, in the effort to not waste precious dollars, we will use this same text as a spine and then add much to it in terms of labs, outside studies, and again, living books.
I’m already thinking ahead to his final year with us before moving on to higher studies. He is our one child that skipped a grade. If we stayed with our current plan, he would leave home potentially as a very young 17-year-old. We could keep him here and slow down his high school progress, but I am sure that would be discouraging. So, early indications are that he might take a gap year, in which he’ll complete any remaining high school courses and perhaps get a jump on his higher education at a local college.
3) The youngest and her studies poses a true dilemma. Our current methods of study with her have her longing for the yellow school bus, and leave me frustrated with her for being frustrated. I reconciled within myself (or did I?) years ago that I can’t make every day fun for the kids. Yet, I can remember when our older two were her age, and our homeschooling day looked markedly different. We were far more active in a group; we cooked; we took more field trips. We took a legitimate recess with a swing set in back and a pool. We worked very hard to make our home kid-friendly for kids who had to spend all day there. Now the swing set rusted, and the dog poked holes in the pool. Even our soccer and basketballs are all deflated. So, she will definitely be a focal area on next year.
I’ll share more as our plans begin to solidify. How about you? What high-level changes do you envision in your school day? What will remain the same?