Our resources (Jan. 2018)

The last time I did this was over a year ago.  At that time, I wrote that I was going to “jot down what’s actually getting done at the moment.”

“Moment” was the key word there, I assure you.

You can go back through every iteration of what we thought we would do (I believe you can see the submenus and go back to about 2014) you can see that I was a human.  My BigGuy made it easy and comfortable for me to unschool because he was ahead in general.  My Girly learned to read before I got afraid.  I still had things I was going to impose on them like character and money education but those were life skills.  And they learned them through life rather than any random curricula I had.

Reality?  I have never followed through on any of these things we have laid out.  BigGuy has finished things because they were of his interest and choosing.  Girly just didn’t always get what she needed because her interests were my dread.  Shame on me.  I mean that.  I harbor a lot of shame about that.

My state requires that my children be educated in language arts; mathematics; biological and physical sciences; social sciences; fine arts; and physical development and health.  They have.  If someone came to my door, I could prove that my kids have been educated (and educated well) in all of these areas.  They just haven’t been educated PER A PLAN or USING A CURRICULUM.  Regardless of what I had laid out in submenu after failed submenu.

In an effort to better hold myself accountable and meet my kids emerging needs, I started a small coschool this fall.  I started teaching other people’s children.  I offered classes that my own kids wanted.  As we move into the spring, my goal is now to make those classes more engaging for the kids and deliver the content my kids want in a way they are more interested in.

We are also moving away from unschooling (although if you look at my plans, I had no INTENTION of unschooling–I just generally gave up any of my plans pretty quickly and had an easier time following my kids because they did a lot more that way).  But my kids need more help at the moment and I need to step in and help them.  Maybe I’m just not providing the foundation and environment they need to figure things out on their own; and I own that as a definitely possibility.  Regardless, it is what it is and I need to work with what it is because it’s not going to change quickly enough to change the current wiring.

So this is what I’m hoping will get done for the spring…

January 2018 – Girly – 3rd grade

Character Education:  This will continue to just be conversations about how life works.

Social Studies:  Girly attends a once/week class where they’ve been learning about the different decades.  It’s as much sociology as it is history.  She’s learned about Elvis and the Civil Rights movement.  It’s been wonderful.  We also talk about current events regularly.

Language Arts:   She has been taking my Junior Great Books class at the coschool and that will continue in the spring.  But I am going to try to introduce some grammar skills to her using Scholastic “Success with Grammar” workbooks.  We’ll skip over anything she already knows so I’m not sure this will take up a lot of time.  We might do “Language Lessons for the Elementary Child” but I’m not sure.  I definitely love the diversity of language arts skills in these books, though.

Math:  We have had all the best intentions with Math Mammoth.  I’m not sure what we’ll do for the spring but I know she wants to learn to tell time and count money.  So really, that’s our major focus.  Part of that will be going back to giving her allowance and doing so with actual money instead of electronically moving it.  She needs to see and feel it.

Science:  I am also running an Elementary Science Olympiad class each week and she’s been doing that.  It will continue into the spring.  I’d like to do some cooking with her, but I’m not really sure I can manage to get that done.

Fine Arts:  She is still in choir, and took art at the local public school once/week for 40mins during the fall.  She’s decided she doesn’t like art (or school for that matter) and I’m going to see if I can dust off my Artistic Pursuits K-3 level Book 2 and gather up the supplies (they actually sell the supply pack online now… HUGE improvement).

Physical Education:  The kids will both be going back to swimming and martial arts for the spring.

Foreign Language:  Spanish!!!  She has been taking an immersion Spanish class at my little coschool and will hopefully continue into the spring.  But the whole family is now taking it on.

January 2018 – BigGuy -aged for 8th grade but doing high school stuff

Character Education:  So. Much. Talking.  Lately, “dating” has been the overarching theme of the conversations.  That and integrity.

Math:   We are a full 18 months into “not actually doing a lot of math”.  But he wants to do Geometry and we need to schedule in some time for him to actually do that using the Thinkwell subscription we already paid for.  It’s screen-based, so access has really been the problem.  In the meantime, he reads a lot of our Life of Fred higher level books.

Science:   I am teaching high school lab biology to BigGuy and 2 other kids at my house (once/week for 2-1/2 hours).  I am also coaching Science Olympiad again this year.  Last year, we advanced to State for the third year in a row and this time–we placed 2nd in our division.   I’m teaching bio instead of BigGuy’s stated preference (chem) because his events are mostly bio-related.  But he just told me he hates biology class and now I’m kind of knee deep into teaching it.  When he does the work, he does remarkably well.  I think we’re just going to not grade biology and let him focus on his SciOly events and call it a day.  He’ll still get more biology and microbiology than he would in a class.

Language Arts:   We’ve been doing a small co-op at my house that covers some world literature (as well as geography & world religions).  He also returned to Riverside‘s Tutorial program for boys which is literature, nature and just some really good experiences in a group setting of boys and men.  It’s once/week for 3 hours.  This spring he is FINALLY registered for “Writing with Sources” through OnlineG3.

Social Studies:  As noted above, he is participating in our little home co-op of 6 families covering world religions and geography (and literature).  I am also teaching high school economics and he is participating in that.  Economics and the co-op will continue through the spring and he will also be taking a Personal Finance class.

Fine Arts:  BigGuy was invited back to boys choir this year.  Nothing else at the moment.

Physical Education:   Both kids will be doing martial arts and swimming.

Foreign Language:  All of the Nothing.  I’m hoping we can get back on Rosetta Stone for at least Spanish (which the whole family wants to start learning).

And there you have it… more lofty goals… Stay tuned.