Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Week of Homeschooling

We started our 11th year of homeschoooling with an amazing blessing: RAIN! An inch and a half. I threw open the windows and breathed in the pungent scent of a mountain thunderstorm, feeling the benediction of the moment filling me.

On Mondays, the older two children, E and T, go to work with Keith all day as they meet with Johanna, my college pal, former neighbor, former Catholic-school teacher, and now the kids' higher mathematics tutor. So on Mondays I have only the younger two kids at home, so I think we'll have an art time or something else fun with just J and B.

I have writing students coming over on Monday, Tuesday, and every other Thursday afternoons, plus I need to find a slot for our piano teacher's daughter so we can discuss her British Lit each week. I've dropped all other activities that interfere with school time except for my chiropractic appointments that directly follow Friday Morning Prayer and Communion services in Victoria Chapel, with Father Acker of Alpine Anglican. I take B with me on most Fridays because after the chiro appt., we do his schoolwork at Starbucks. It gives us a little extra uninterrupted time together each week as his schoolwork doesn't require as much time as the other boys' academic subjects do. Occasionally T has orthodontic appts. on Tuesdays at noon with Dr. Barber near SDSU, so that's a hunk out of our day as well.

But overall, I really like our less-hurried schedule. I need time to discuss E's American Lit with her, and probably her American History as well although she tends to do really well on history without any input from moi. She'll be in my Advanced Writing course at Class Day which occurs every other Thursday -- an entire day of classes "down the hill" in which I'm teaching Intermediate (college prep) and Advanced (honors) high school expository writing. E will be taking Advanced Writing, chess, and cooking; T volleyball/basketball, chess, and cooking, J science, PE, and cooking, and B art, PE, and math games. It's really our only activity we all do, so we're really invested in it.

T and J will start their third year of piano this fall, and J is also taking guitar lessons with Father Acker of Alpine Anglican, through the church's ministry of "Free Teen Guitar Classes" (FTGC). E has started a six-week evening acting class with the PV Players, also free, and taught by a former theatre professor from UC Santa Barbara who just retired to our little town. Tryouts for the Christmas play will be held in mid-October, and she's hoping to get a part; if she does, then she'll be rehearsing two evenings a week. The local community church is just starting an AWANA program on Wednesday night, and although I've had issues with the AWANA program in the past, we may enroll our two youngest; we're still deciding. T could also be a helper as well.

So those are the extent of our extra-curricular activities besides church every Sunday in which the middle boys (J and T) volunteer to help with the younger kids after their classes. E may start coming to my class because she really likes Nathan's teaching (our associate pastor who will be leading the 1st service adult Sunday School class); I like his teaching, too, although I'm going to really miss William leading the class as he did until this past spring when we finished Matthew after spending more than three years going through it as a class, discussing aspects of almost every verse.

Someone invariably asks "What curricula are you using?" and it's never an easy question to answer because we are rather eclectic in our use of academic materials. We use Sonlight for the boys' main subjects: history, literature, readers, read-aloud literature, poetry, and Bible, plus J's and B's A Reason for Handwriting; this year we're using Sonlight 7 which covers world history from the Reformation through modern times. We use ABeka for B and J's math (levels 3 and 6, respectively), and for E's American history. From Rainbow Resource, we purchased T's Easy Grammar Plus and the boys' typing program, and I already had B's Daily Grams 3 and J's Daily Grams 6 on hand from previous years. We're back to Spelling Power for all three boys. T and E are using Saxon for algebra, and E is studying chemistry with Spectrum (I really hope it's worth the $300 we paid for it!). I've created an American Literature program for her myself, and so far it's working out well. The boys are studying astronomy, and B is learning earth science. J and T are also taking a writing class with two other students that I'm teaching, the old Beginning Writing Class I used to teach at Class Day.

So on we proceed on the daily adventure of home education, with one week down and thirty-five weeks to go....

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin