As my children age, sometimes homeschool isn't full of the amazing photo ops that it once was.
We're buckling down now, thinking about pursuing dreams and interests, and spending more time in the books doing "serious" school work.
Especially at this point in my children's lives, I am SO GLAD we abandoned the ideal of public school and afforded them the opportunity to learn at home.
I want to give you a glimpse into our everyday lives - specifically the schooling of a sixth and tenth grader, so you can either (a) look forward to the future or (b) nod your head in agreement because you have children this age, too.
Each month I will provide a summary of our learning - enjoy!
Sixth Grade Homeschool ~ Academics
Because we participate in the Classical Conversations Foundations and Essentials programs, the general outline of our studies is fixed.
(Read more about our experiences in Classical Conversations.)
I love the structure it gives us, but I also love that I am ultimately the primary teacher and can adjust and adapt the curriculum accordingly.
This year I am a Foundations tutor, so I feel extra prepared to teach CC at home!
We go through the memory work for the week each morning during our Morning Time. We also have the Cycle 2 app on the iPad, and if there is extra time during the day Grant goes through all of the memory work from the cycle so far.
Grant is planning to test for Memory Master again this cycle, so daily review of memory work is a priority.
Each day Grant expands on a different area of the memory work. This might mean researching a history sentence, looking up science videos, or tracing maps (by far his favorite activity).
History is done independently this year using Veritas Self-Paced history. This has been a HUGE blessing to both Grant and me because he LOVES it and I can have my hands off this subject.
We also supplement with history books -- this month Grant has been completely hooked on the Horrible Histories box set!
Grant is currently finishing Saxon 7/6. This math program works very well for him.
He does the assigned drill for the lesson, and then we read through the actual lesson together. He works through the Lesson Practice problems as I watch him, and then he completes the Mixed Practice on his own.
I believe it is important to GRADE THE LESSON IMMEDIATELY so he can have that feedback. Any wrong answer is corrected so we can see exactly what we've done wrong.
Normally math takes 30-45 minutes. Grant is a math kid and I feel fortunate to not struggle in this area.
Science is another area I've taken my hands off of this year (in preparation for Challenge A next year when Grant will need to be much more independent).
He is enjoying the Experience Astronomy online class from Intoxicated on Life. Luke Gilkerson is an engaging teacher. We receive a recorded lesson each week that Grant watches and then takes a quiz on. He also reads from Signs & Seasons and does outside observations.
Essentials (Grammar & Writing):
Right now, in our third year of Essentials, I'm starting to see the fruits of Grant's labors.
His diagramming is amazing and I'm so pleased with his writing skills.
His Faces of History project is coming up soon. He is researching Leif Erickson - so this involves reading several books, outlining them, and then writing a research report he will present at the Faces of History event.
Normally he is doing Wordly Wise twice a week - one lesson per week.
I must admit, this area seems to be slipping. I love to read aloud and I know Grant loves to listen, but I haven't been making the time for it. Currently we are working on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (because Anna has been reading this for Challenge II).
Sixth Grade Homeschool ~ Extracurriculars
For an extremely active boy homeschool is such a blessing. Boys need and crave exercise and fresh air. Because we homeschool we can take frequent brain breaks and pursue some things that are fun for us.
On our daily schedule is 30 minutes of piano practice. Piano is one of those non-negotiables in our house... and I'm thankful both of my kids enjoy playing.
Recently Grant has also been spending a lot of time with Art for Kids. We love these FREE drawing tutorials! Grant is working on a portfolio of drawings, and he has quite a collection on his bedroom door right now, too. I adore that he gets lost for hours in his room on these tutorials!
Lots of time has been spent playing LEGOs (this never seems to get old).
This winter, too, is basketball season, and Grant has grown SO MUCH this past year that he is the tallest child on his team. In fact (I have to do just a little bit of mama bragging) - at his game this past weekend he got a half court buzzer shot!
Needless to say, our basketball hoop at home gets a lot of use. I tell Grant he is free to step outside in between subjects and shoot some baskets to clear his head and blow off steam.
All in all, I am very thankful to have a smart, funny, caring boy who thrives well with everything I provide for him to learn and do. I don't take this blessing lightly.
10th Grade Homeschool Update
Seeing a homeschooler progress from elementary to high school has been quite a gift for me. While Anna doesn't enjoy the camera quite as much as her brother, she is every bit as busy and engaged.
Her personality is 100% different (don't know if you've gathered that from the blog over the years)... she is introverted, quiet, EXTREMELY compassionate, creative, and musical. While her brother tends to be out front making a crowd laugh and take notice, she finds the person in a crowd who is left out and seeks to make them feel included.
How lucky am I to have been given two such different gifts from God?
10th Grade Academics:
Anna is taking part in Classical Conversations Challenge II this year. Her course of study is rich in British Literature, Biology, Latin, Rhetoric, Math, Logic, Socratic Dialogue, and Fine Arts.
So many people ask me about the Challenge program -- and the biggest questions I get are "What if my child isn't doing the same math?" or "How in the world do you teach Latin?"
Those are two very good questions. We have chosen to outsource math and Latin this year. Anna takes Mr. D Geometry this year and also Henle II through Memoria Press online academy. This has worked out well for us, because it has eliminated two potential areas of struggle for Anna - and me! She still participates in the conversations in Latin and Math in her Challenge class. It seems to work out very well.
I keep up with much of Anna's work by reading along with her (we recently finished Something Beautiful for God), or peeking over her shoulder while she is doing science experiments. I have also really enjoyed the fine art and music portion this year -- good stuff!
10th Grade Extracurriculars:
Anna is very interested in music - she is taking both piano and guitar lessons this year. I'm so pleased that she is finding her niche with this... she volunteers to play in our church and is making a special connection with her guitar teacher.
Homeschooling has allowed us to really hone in on what Anna loves and then seek out caring adults to nurture those skills in her.
To me, this is perhaps the largest blessings in homeschooling a teen. These teen years can be tumultuous and I TRULY believe we have chosen the best path for our family in homeschooling.
Anna also participates in a special needs ministry. She volunteers at something called Club 2.0, where she leads a small group of special needs adults in Bible study. Then, she also works with a special needs music ministry called The Fish Sticks. This month she led the small group by herself for the VERY FIRST TIME -- it was heart warming to watch.
She also babysits a lot -- you can see her above with one of the little ones she sits for frequently. She is learning so many great skills through this, and saving some money, too!
She isn't as interested in sports as her brother, but I do require her to play tennis once a week with a homeschool tennis group... I'm that mean mom, right? (Actually, this is counting towards her PE credit.)
Oh, and we can't forget Driver's Ed! Anna has been working through an online Driver's Ed program our state requires... plus she just completed the Accident Avoidance Workshop with her dad -- if you live in the southeast we HIGHLY recommend this program!
I've really noticed this month that Anna is growing in accountability and independence. She functions largely with no help from me. We meet each Monday afternoon to go over her work from the week, discuss and edit papers, and check up on her online grades. I am thankful she is self motivated and focused right now.
All in all, our January was productive and smooth. It's amazing how things change when you are homeschooling middle and high schoolers. In many ways things are easier, but the burdens on a mom's heart get a bit heavier as we contemplate graduation and the end of our homeschool journey.
God has blessed us with this gift of homeschool, and I want to savor every moment (even the not so good ones).