Homeschooling has plenty of HARD days.
No matter the stage your children are at, homeschooling is just an immense undertaking.
We have homeschooled through job changes, illness, home remodeling, chronic pain, teen hormones, and so much more. There have been times where it would have been SO MUCH EASIER to enroll my children in school.
This year - the year where my children are 9th and 5th graders - has been PIVOTAL. We've completed the first year of high school for Anna, and we're getting ready for middle school with Grant. These children are growing at an astounding rate, and I'm just trying to keep up!
I am beginning to see the fruits of our labor. The kids are becoming independent learners and excellent homeschool ambassadors to boot!
As the school year draws to a close, my heart is FULL. I want to celebrate the many successes, because those keep me going through the hard days.
Homeschooling older children is immensely rewarding, and if you don't gain anything else from this post, I want you to gain this: It is WORTH IT to homeschool your older children.
Homeschooling a Pre-Teen Boy
My son literally appears bigger to me each and every morning when he gets out of bed.
His CC Foundations class this year was all boys. They had a joke with their tutor, Miss Dawn -- that they would all be taller than her by the end of the year! Each Tuesday they would come to CC and measure themselves against her. Lo and behold, they are all taller than she is now.
This is such a critical time for boys. They are still little boys, but they are quickly turning into young men, and guiding them is such a privilege.
Each week Dawn would end each class session with the boys huddled in prayer. These boys grew into such considerate, helpful, and generous young men. I cannot accurately express what this year did for Grant, but I am fairly certain he couldn't have gotten this in a traditional school setting.
A couple of weeks ago Grant earned the distinction of Memory Master! What does that mean? It means he memorized and was tested on:
- 160 events and people in a chronological timeline
- 24 history sentences
- 44 US Presidents
- 120 locations and geographic features
- 24 science facts
- 5 Latin declensions and the Latin noun cases
- English grammar facts (all of the prepositions, linking verbs, and helping verbs - and their definitions)
Multiplication tables up to the 15s, squares, cubes, geometry formulas, unit conversions, and algebraic laws of addition and multiplication
This information has to be 100% memorized and recalled with ZERO mistakes. Yes, his dad and I are proud of him, but more importantly Grant proved to himself that hard work and perseverance pay off in spades!
A huge joy this year has been our homeschool tennis group. This once a week lesson has spurred an interest in Grant, and now he is playing two more times a week at our local YMCA.
We are also leaving for Hawaii in just 10 DAYS (squeal!) and Grant has been completing the Hawaii notebooking state study from Notebooking Pages. This has been a super way to learn about our destination and also to document that knowledge. I'm having him keep a journal while we are there and I hope this will be a nice keepsake for him.
Challenge I Presentations
Challenge I has been a pivotal year for Anna. She has become almost 100% independent in her school work and is responsible for planning all of her work.
(I shared a few months ago about a day in the life of a Challenge I student)
In short, Anna's 9th grade year has consisted of the following academic seminars:
- Henle Latin I
- American Literature and Persuasive Essay Writing
- Free Market Economics and American Government
- Physical Science
- Drama and Music Theory
She is also taking piano lessons, singing in a large children's chorus here in Atlanta, and playing tennis on the homeschool tennis team. She's been a busy girl, but I'm ok with that as long as everything has a PURPOSE and is of value to her.
The last day of Challenge I was Tuesday, and I had the great JOY of watching presentations from all of the students.
The Cost of Living project was particularly interesting! Anna had to choose a future profession (she chose Occupational Therapy), research the salary for that profession, and then come up with a working budget for herself. She created a Keynote presentation and presented to the class.
Wow is all I can say.
Another presentation was the music theory hymn score analysis and transposition project. Using the music theory curriculum each student was able to successfully analyze a hymn using figured bass and put that hymn into a different key.
This project was DIFFICULT, but everyone rose to the occasion and I was so proud of them. (I had the JOY of helping them through this curriculum and it's one of my favorite things I have done as a homeschooling mom.)
I've been sitting back a lot recently and just marveling at everything she has learned and accomplished this year. It's just so very good.
Challenge Protocol Event
A highlight of Challenge I is Protocol.
Protocol is a formal event hosted for all Challenge I students and older... the Challenge I moms plan this event and invite the other Challenges (II-IV) to attend.
In the weeks preceding the event the students received etiquette instruction before normal classes started each Tuesday.
Our group chose to have dinner at a nice restaurant locally and then attend a production of Hansel & Gretel by the Georgia State Opera Theater.
Watching these young people conduct themselves so beautifully during an evening out was a JOY. They have come to be such good friends to one another, and I couldn't help but think how completely DIFFERENT this was from a traditional PROM experience.
There was no PROM DRAMA (and I've been hearing stories about this from friends who have children in school) and the expense of this event was minimal. This also wasn't a time for dates, but rather a time for everyone to enjoy an evening out together as a group.
The opera was a perfect introduction to the genre. It was sung in English, and even included the words on a screen above the stage. This is commonly performed and I would recommend going to see it if you ever get the chance -- maybe you're familiar with this piece:
Parents of younger CC students: keep the faith! It is events like this that make all of the hard work worth it!
May the 4th Be With You
One of the most fun things this school year has been starting a LEGO club for my son's friends.
A wonderful young man (who is also in my daughter's Challenge I class and LOVES LEGOS) is my very capable assistant. We meet every other week and have a ton of fun and learn a lot, too!
Normally we are using materials from LEGO® Education, but this week we skipped the "learning" and just went for pure Star Wars FUN!
This week we decided to celebrate May the 4th!
Our agenda for May the 4th was as follows:
- LEGO Star Wars Printable Game Cards: The boys each chose a card and built that creation, then shared their creation with the group.
- Watching The Empire Strikes Out and having fabulous Star Wars snacks (a mom in our group is SUPER creative and provided these!)
- Race to finish the LEGO Star Wars word search
- Lots of playing outside!
There is so much more I could share with you... but I'll save that for future posts.
I'd love to hear from you! Do you homeschool older children? Or, do you have questions about homeschooling older children? This is a new stage of life for me and I'm trying to embrace it fully (while quietly mourning the "littles" I used to have in my house!).
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