Saturday, August 4, 2012

One Week Down and About 39 More to Go

We had a wonderful first week! I may sound overly positive, but I’ve never used the words “wonderful” and “first week” together before. Usually it’s “good,” “survived,” or “somewhat productive.” But we actually had a wonderful first week.

With the exception of Thursday, which in itself was a lesson learned, we accomplished everything we set out to accomplish each day. The first two days we the boys did half of their lessons, Meme did nearly a whole day of school, and we figured out what Jojo can and can’t do in the morning. She can’t read in bed, because she simply falls asleep, but she’s not yet awake enough to do math.

Wednesday and Friday we did even more. The boys completed a full day’s worth of lessons, and Meme started stepping up and getting more done.

Jojo is still finding her own pace. She hasn’t been feeling well for months and months, with non-specific symptoms. The doctors haven’t managed to find anything, although she’s had a great many tests run on her. She’s starting to feel better, but neither her appetite nor her energy level has returned to normal. She’s a hard worker, but during the last few months, she gets overwhelmed easily.

It was a big accomplishment for her that she stayed awake during school hours all week, eat something at each mealtime, and actually get some schoolwork done. It’s a start, and I’m confident that she’ll return back to her normal, energetic self.

Jojo is technically my only homeschooler. By using K12, the other three are technically public school students. Only technically though. Believe me when I say that I have more interaction in their day to day studies while on K12 than I did when they were “homeschoolers.” Especially with the younger grades, K12 is very parent involved.

Other people have said this about me, but I don’t see how some families with multiple young children can do it. Mine are spaced perfectly apart for using K12. Meme is pretty much self-directed.  The only thing I do is look over her progress and push her back on the path with the subjects she tries to avoid. With Bobo and Ebby, it’s all ME.

Bobo is not reading fluently enough to understand the directions, and Ebby doesn’t read. We’re working out a good system. Most of Ebby’s classes take a few minutes for him to do.  We alternate between a Bobo class and an Ebby class. Bobo will generally do his off-line worksheets while Ebby does his on-line classes.

Then in the late afternoon, when Ebby is done, I have Jojo read to him or sit with him, while Bobo and I get 45 minutes to an hour by ourselves to do language arts.  My hope is that by the time Ebby’s work is actually challenging to him, Bobo will be reading well enough to do some things without my direct help.

My biggest worry right now is that my enthusiasm and dedication will fail.  It’s not a worry ungrounded in reality. Most years start off great, and then I get frustrated at the stubbornness of the children to do their schoolwork, the time it takes and everything else.  Once I’m frustrated, it’s only a matter of time before I start slowing down and letting things slide.

I’m determined not to have this happen this year. Part of that plan is being realistic in what we can do during the day.  I need to remember that homeschooling my children is my job. It’s okay if I can’t clean house, do laundry or cook during school hours. And if something has to slide, those things should be first.

For class planning: Meme and the boys have their classes planned and laid out for them – that’s the benefit of using the system.

Jojo, however, we’re still working on this year’s “class schedule.” She gets the flexibility that a system like K12 or Connections Academy won’t have, but we have to do all the planning.

We sat down yesterday to look through the curricula I have for high school, and of course I’m like a kid in a candy store. “You should do this class.” “Oh and this class is really important.”

She just sits back quietly; after all she knows me well. After I’ve filled a page with a long list of classes I want her to work on, I turn to her and say, “I’ve gone overboard again, haven’t I?”

“Yes, Mom,” she replies in her patient tone, “you have.” We sat the project aside so that I can clear my head, and we’re working on it this weekend.

Literature she has in the bag. She is one of the most well read kids that I know for her age. Only Algernon had read more books by this time, and Algernon is a prodigy with literature and reading.

I have the writing program that I used. It’s old, but it’s good. She started it about a month ago, and it’s working really well. So we’ll stick with that.

For math, we have a good solid plan for. Our plan: do it everyday. It may not seem like much, but it should do the trick.

Now here’s where I get overly enthusiastic.

Social studies. She really should have civics; as an adult I see the importance of it. Then world geography is important. We are more global now than we have ever been, so it is more important for emerging adults to know about the world and cultures. And economics. Seriously, how many of us would have benefited greatly if we had gone into adulthood knowing a bit more about personal economics. Then I found this great curriculum that teaches basic life skills. It’s actually called Discovering Life Skills. It teaches all those little things that most of us had to learn the hard way.

You see why it is wonderful that Jojo is so patient with me. I get like this every year. She let it run its course, and that’s about when we put things away.

We settled on:
·         Finding a science curriculum that she can work with. She hates science, and I think it’s only because it’s never been presented to her in the right way.
·         Limit social studies to one at a time. She may be able to do multiple ones this year, but not all at once.
·         Start some sort of test prep. Her eligibility to get TOPS (Louisiana’s general scholarship) is based solely on her ACT scores. The better she does, the more she gets.
·         Pick a foreign language and find a systematic curriculum to use. I think we’re about settled on German.
I have my homework for this weekend laid out. By Monday, I’m hoping we have a solid plan of action and that I still have the enthusiasm to push through until it’s not as exhausting.

1 comment:

  1. For ACT prep, the library has classes each semester. The Kings have used that and recommeneded it. For science, I've liked REAL Science for kids - mostly b/c the kids can do much of it on their own. I've not actually gotten to the high school ones, but the younger and middle school ones break concepts down into bite size pieces and I like that. I can let you see the Chemistry and Physics ones I have...