Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home Learning for Us This Year

This year is a first. It's a totally different year from what we're used to.

Our oldest is married and beginning a new job position (one he went to college for), and living next door. His wife is a medical technician at the local Children's Clinic. They're doing extremely well.

We have two in college. Likely this is the only time that will ever happen.
Our oldest daughter will graduate as an RN this December. This summer she externed at a local hospital and loved it. I'm so glad. It's important to love the work of one's hands. Her fiance' is right behind her as a Computer Science major and we're equally proud of him. They have both worked while going to college. Hasn't been easy. They both know how to stretch a dollar and work for what they want.

Newly graduated son begins classes on Monday. Please keep him and his studies in prayer.
It's a new beginning in many ways.

The fourth is taking classes at the ninth grade campus nearby. She wanted to try this strange thing called red-mortar schoolhouse for a very long time. She can be very headstrong and is very persistent. Since fourth grade she has reminded me that homeschooling consist of experiencing things and being brave enough to try new things. She took the ACT in 8th grade scored what she needed for college TOPS. She took the LEAP test and scored at Mastery level which put her in Advanced classes at the ninth grade campus. I was ready to graduate her...only she's still young.

So this leaves us with...Annie Claire.
Just one little student at home.
And she's happy that way.
And I'm happy that way.

My, how the years have flown since I went to the red-mortar schoolhouse in 1997, pregnant with #4, and un-enrolled a little boy from school and brought him home to begin this homeschool adventure.

And, while I do miss the early years, I am grateful beyond measure that I was gifted with them at all.
But there are no fun "little" posts this year. Those are the "fun" years, those early elementary years. While my youngest is still in elementary, it's getting more serious with junior high lurking around the corner. Still, with her being a lone student, my focus is on keeping our learning days fun and full.

This is the reason for the total change in what we've done in the past.
Here is just a scribble of what our school plans are this year.

Trust me, they are the most random we have ever been.
We even departed from our tried and true CHC and Seton materials.
Completely. Changed.

Briefly we are keeping it very unschoolish and Charlotte Mason.
We will include friends in any parts of our learning venture. Friends are welcome at any time. Planning our day this way opens various doors for little friends to enter at any time no matter when or what we are studying.

At the request of my little student, I've agreed to set-up some kind of St. Francis Nature Club where we will take some nature hikes, do nature study, and keep a nature notebook.

For everything else we will do what we have always done...make the environment our learning center.

Math? Socializing?
No worries.
We are still doing co-op classes every Monday morning, dance on Monday and Thursday evenings, CCD on Wednesday, Keepers second Tuesday of each month, 4-H first Tuesday of each month, and monthly EDGE group.

I took my lone student to the Teacher's Aid Shoppe recently and let her pick out any workbooks she found interesting.  (Saxon Math is just a given...dull as it is.)

These books are for her to do while I do my office work and writing. It's what I've always called "table time" which has been my meager way of teaching my children consistency, perserverance, accountability, and diligence. Staying on task is what the school system calls it. Lol We each have our space in the new office and we will both be productive with paper, words, ideas, and journals this year.

Many of the books she selected are 3-D, interactive maps. You read, research, color, cut, glue, and assemble the sheets. Very simple to do, even on her own. I see lapbooks and bright notebooks exploding around these books.

Some other loose unschooling ventures we'll play around with this year are:

Oh, yeah! my favorite activity of all. We shall read and read and read. She has begged to read Kisses for Katie since seeing her sisters read it so I handed her her sister's greatly worn, over-read copy of it. We will also continue with our Little House read-alongs on car trips.
Believe it or not, my 10 year old still enjoys picture books read on sofa and at nighttime.
It's something we both enjoy and I'm going to focus on using them with more purpose this year than just selecting random ones off the shelf at will.
We plan to filter our Netflix queue with old classics...especially from classical books that have stood the test of time.
Any favorites? I'm all ears.
Anything that creeps, crawls and cries ART!
Photography Shoots will be planned weekly!
Personal creative journal time especially for that nature notebook.
No science class is being offered for my 10 year old at co-op this year so she requested we do nature study and a nature notebook like in the 'old days' at the local state park.
Translated, this always seems to be the option my children use to get out of doing science for the year and they know I never deny them this choice.
I see my last elementary student growing up. We are so going to do nature study this year.
Full blown! As mentioned above.
Uh, yeah, I guess that is a big part of home"schooling". So...
That's where co-op comes in. Co-op guides us into our week. Co-op sets the pace for the other book learning.
Structured, tutored math class with Saxon.
History class (combined with reading at home) and interactive notebook.
Grammar/Vocab/Poetry Memory class.

I've also added plenty of editing workbooks to her curriculum. By year's end she will be well versed in editing.
Physical Activity
P.E. at co-op for group games.
Dance classes twice weekly.
CCD classes weekly.
EDGE Youth group.
Liturgical Year observed at home.
Mass every Sunday.
Prayer time daily.
Nature walks.
Maybe stations with a friend in the prayer garden on Fridays followed by a picnic?
This year our co-op is offering a Music Theory class.
Not sure we're up for it but we're going to attempt it and get see how it goes.
To learn to read music is a lovely plus to our year.
The class is being offered; we're taking advantage of this blessing.


  1. Homeschooling really does take on a different flavor once the kids get older, doesn't it? I find myself nostalgic for the 'old days.' I still have a 12th grader, an 8th grader and a 6th grader. Both 8th and 6th graders want to go to school. Maybe next year. So I'm going into this year feeling like it is my last year, possibly, to home school. It's evoking all sorts of feelings in me! Ah well. God is in control!

    I love your unschooly plans for your youngest.

  2. Oh, hugs, Faith!!!

    I am with both of you! So sad, isn't it?!

    I have been writing a blogpost all afternoon as I plan out Malachy's next year. We have similare thoughts.

    Wow, Cay. We shared our pregnancies together......and now they are over a decade old....and we have less than a decade of homeschooling to go.....yes, my heart is breaking.

    And this year, I have to work full-time, for economic reasons. SOB. I pray I can still give him a wonderful year. I wish we had a co-op option. Because we do NOT, I have co-op-ed with a homeschool friend to take him one day a do what ever she wants to do educationally with him and her daughter together...

    God bless us old mamas! and thank God for these little ones...or we would already be done!! :)


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