It’s here! It’s here! The new school year!

You all realize that this is a JOURNEY, right?  None of us has it all figured out.  I’m on year 10 of homeschooling and so help me–every year is a learning experience for ME.  Every year since I’ve started this blog, you will see a list of “resources” that went largely unused.  The best laid plans, right?  So how am I tackling this year?  Here ya go…

This is BigGuy’s first official year of high school (by age) and Girly would be entering fourth grade (by age).  And this will be the first year I’m actually going to impose learning on them.  Before, I took mostly what they were interested in and sprinkled some stuff I thought they needed and honestly–the latter didn’t get much attention.  That was more me than the kids: if they didn’t ask about it, I didn’t usually incorporate it.  I also missed the boat on some stuff because I wasn’t sitting down and really figuring it out.  That really hit me HARD recently.

I sat BigGuy down and we talked about his goals and direction.  He’s flaky on some of it but he has not removed the math/science academy from the list of possibilities.  We talked about what that meant–what they would want to see, what he would need to do–and he was still not tossing the idea aside.  Last year, we did a research-based biology course with another student and he completed about 2/3 of it.  I let it go as he also dove HEAVILY into biology topics through Science Olympiad (specifically microbiology and epidemiology events)–which enabled me to transcript a high school biology credit for him.  He had asked for an economics class and personal finance.  I taught both of those over the course of the year to groups.  He participated in Gavel Club, some online writing courses and the last year of his boy’s program (which is heavily literature-based).  We were short on math.

It was a good transition into structured learning.  I think we all needed it.  That being said, the experience brought a LOT of lessons learned about how we manage our time and goals.  I took on teaching other people’s kids and coaching the science team again but it really wasn’t going great for me, personally.  It made me really sit down and decide how I was going to spend my PERSONAL resources of time and attention–and made me really think about why I did different things that took those resources.  What was I doing for the kids and what wasn’t directly FOR the kids, but contributed to them or the family in some way?  What, if anything, served ME?  The result is a complete restructuring of All Of The Things.

So far I’ve done a beautiful job of making conscious choices about what each of us will and will not do this year; and WHEN so that time management isn’t an issue.  It’s been a struggle to see empty space on the calendar and NOT put something there.  I need to leave time for BigGuy to complete his homework, for one.  There are some things I’m still looking for but there is space.  BigGuy was able to get some requested courses that I’m really happy with.

Each of them will have all of their core subjects.  Language arts and history will be with a coschool group one day/week from 9am-2pm.  They’ll use Big History Project for history.  I don’t think the language arts will challenge each of them (maybe Girly?), but I’m totally okay with that.

BigGuy’s coschool group will also have Culinary Arts that should prepare them for a Food Handler Certification that would help them find work.  BigGuy REALLY wanted to do culinary arts and I almost enrolled him in the local public school for it (even though the local kids told me it was a lot of downtime).  I’m thrilled the coschool offered this level of education on this topic.  Total win.

Girly’s group will do some science, cooking and fine arts.  None of them too intensive and not every week.

Both will do math at home, and formal science through classes I teach.  BigGuy will also have Science Olympiad this year and Girly is DESPERATE to be on the middle school team although I’m not sure if she’s really ready for that.  If we don’t have a full team, I may let her test the waters since she’ll be of age before we compete.

Both will also take Spanish class and BigGuy’s will be high school credit-worthy (taught by a former public high school Spanish teacher).  #winning

BigGuy requested taking logic and Latin.  I found both online and enrolled him.  He’s thrilled.

That leaves us with fine arts and physical education to deal with.  BigGuy is not going back to the choir organization and Girly is tentative.  We have 3-year access to Meet the Masters (level 2–purchased through Homeschool Buyers Co-op) and I’m hoping to start that with both of them as a fine arts component.  BigGuy really loves drawing and Girly enjoys painting but I think Meet the Masters would be interesting for both of them.  BigGuy has expressed interest in theater arts (again) and playing guitar.  Girly has expressed interest in violin (and we own three of them).  I’m researching all of this at the moment for cost and times and what-not.

In terms of physical education, I may do Oak Meadow’s high school level Integrated Health & Fitness with BigGuy.  I’m wondering if I could bring it down to Girly’s level.  Maybe not every unit but maybe she will do the units I CAN bring down to her level.  With that and whatever seasonal sports they get into, that would be sufficient.  BigGuy will be mandated back into swimming although he is interested in scuba diving.  Girly is interested in basketball but talks about soccer again now.  She also REALLY wants to do horseback riding.  #saveme  I’ll figure it out.  It’s possible I would incorporate the Unitarian Universalist secular sex education curriculum for each of them (grade 4-6 is 10 weeks and grades 10-12 is 12 weeks).  Or maybe ditch the Oak Meadow stuff and just do the sex ed and their “sports” for physical education.   What actually gets plotted in ink will really depend on how fine arts plays out and what that leaves room for in the schedule.

BigGuy will also be taking the ACT and SAT this year as we continue to try to acclimate him to that environment to reduce his anxiety.  He takes these through a talent search program–so his scores are not permanently recorded unless we specifically request them to be.  I’m a little concerned about formal/essay writing skills, but I’m not inclined to add anything to the plate right now.  As it is, I’m feeling nervous about fitting in fine arts and phys ed.

For now, I’m enjoying blank spaces on the calendar and trying to preserve them.  Friday nights are now largely free since I’m moving the science team meetings around.  That’s HUGE for my family on a personal level.  I’m also unlikely to hold Gavel Club this year.  Girly is at coschool on Wednesdays–which is when BigGuy is home and I will teach high school level lab sciences (he will take chemistry).  BigGuy will go to coschool on Thursday when I will teach elementary and middle school sciences (Girly will take the elementary class for sure).  It’s the best use of our time and allows my kids to learn in group settings and have minimal time without my attention.

Of course, y’all have seen the various iterations of “here’s what we’re doing” in the past, right?  KIDDING!!!

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