Dearest Homeschooling Readers,
I get messages and emails wanting advice on homeschooling. You'd think I would have it figured out by now. What I do know is that every single year has a different glitch. New babies, moving, remodeling, teen angst, sick family, you name it we've homeschooled through it. So here's my mea culpa. I published posts that I wrote in June and July where I listed all the curriculum picks for us this year.
It's now mid-August, and most of that has been dumped to the side already. I'll leave the posts up, (because hey- that was the plan) and we'll use it someday. At least I have the experience to know right away and not mid-semester. (pats self on back)
I drastically overestimated the amount of quiet time we would have for school this year.
Last Spring when catalogs were strewn about the house Declan asked to do the BookShark Eastern Hemisphere year, and I lovingly ignored him.
He said, "Remember when Reilly and Kat did that cool year where they read books from the other side of the world and did all that map work?" (He was in kindergarten then)
Narrator: She did indeed remember using Sonlight that year and then later reselling that core.
Me: Yep. That was fun. Here look at this thing...
Fast forward to a few days ago. We did a soft start where we attempted a few subjects and here's the thing: classical ed done right requires a lot of teaching time/quiet student study time.
That is going to be a challenge here. Although the setting is picturesque, (yes, we still love our storybook house!) the student and teacher are willing, our elder care is ramping up and is full of the interruptions that thus far rival any toddler I've ever had. My father in law has transitioned to hospice care at our home which makes things both easier and harder for me. We have many more interruptions as all appts now take place in my house.
And so our plan evolves again. Luckily for us, BookShark exists, and I didn't have to re-buy Sonlight and their included Bible program. ;)
I did think about going half speed with what we planned. Honestly, that didn't excite either of us. We're all or nothing people. If we need an easy year, it may as well be interesting. Plus, this is the last year (age wise) that he could do this core.
New system: Math, Latin (light), LA with me in the (earlyish) morning, Bookshark History/Geography/Readers (skipping the read-aloud list and most of the extra history reading) near me the rest of the day. I'll pop in and out as needed in between medical visits. I'm keeping my R&S spelling and the very excellent Mennonite Safety/Nutrition text that should only take us the first trimester to get through. Then we'll do something with experiments.
Much more doable. Kat and Reilly will be around to lend a hand too. I'll switch my writing time to the evening when more adults are home, and we'll see how this goes.
Initial thoughts upon opening our box. I like Bookshark more than Sonlight. The IG seems to have balanced out the 4 day week nicely instead of squishing the five days down to four. It (instructor's guide) has some color and in this level at least the maps really pop. I'm probably one of the few people that actually liked the early 2000's world book disk that Sonlight used to include. There is a book now for that though and the couple chapters I read last night are pretty good nonfiction reading. It's small in size so not intimidating for the 10-13-year-olds using this core.
The best though? Is inside the Eastern Hemisphere Notebook. Each chapter includes something called Choose Your Adventure. It then explains multiple intelligence to the kids giving them eight choices for their project. They might want to create a country card, a famous person card, a nature card etc. The rubrics for exactly what needs to be included on that 5x8 card are clearly listed which I can tell you will save tons of time arguing with students about what "is enough"
Also, in general, American kids do not know enough about the Eastern Hemisphere. Learning about China, North and South Korea, Russia is basically essential to understanding current events today. I'm looking forward to this year instead of dreading how we'll ever fit everything in.
(I know that people have differing opinions on the theory of multiple intelligence and the wiseness of altering your educational plan to accommodate it so please don't spam me with arguments.)
I'll put an Instagram story up of some of the best pages. I'll probably be sharing most of our school year that way.
As much as I would love to have executed my fully planned classical year, that just isn't feasible. Hitting the big three will have to do and anything else that gets accomplished is "gravy." If we can I still want to get through Famous Men of Greece at bedtime and the Greek Alphabet book (maybe as handwriting) I'm saving MP 7th grade Lit into limbo, we'll do it eventually but I want to start with the basics so that we get a sense of completion and I don't start freaking out about all I need to be doing. Cause I will. I take my kids education seriously, and I don't want to sub it out. I will let many other things slide in order to home educate.
A couple other things before you ask. I have no idea what we'll do next year, that's a problem for future me. Also, book reviews are going to be fewer for a bit as I figure out when reading fits in. Ideally, we're talking two maybe three a week and I'll be choosier so you'll know if I spent the time typing I liked it.
I'm a planner so any switcharoo annoys me at this late stage, but I also realize that accepting our circumstances is important too. Mentally beginning the year knowing our workload is doable is key to me.
Plus- box day again!
Painfully honestly yours,