Yes, you got that right….back to school!
But wait – only one is going back to an institutional school – homeschooling is continuing for the other. Let’s explain.
The older son is 8th grade, which in this diocese is confirmation year. Going through sacramental prep via school rather than parish school of religion just makes a lot more sense, particularly since the Catholic school he’s going to is very good. It’s a school I’d had my eye on when we first moved here, but we decided we could do just as well at a parish school for lower tuition, and at that time, we probably did.
But after homeschooling for two years, we were ready for a change, and one of his friends had transferred over to this other school (run by Nashville Dominicans) last year and the family spoke very highly of their experience.
So here we are!
I do miss him – and chafe at the restrictions on our time – but that’s okay. We had our time, and who knows what high school will bring. I don’t know if we will homeschool all of high school – that would certainly not be my preference – but homeschooling at least 9th grade is looking more and more likely.
Also – as long time readers might now, I’m not anti-school. I’m for lots of different kinds of schools, available to all kids of all interests in abilities. I didn’t start homeschooling because I wanted to shrink my kids’ worlds – I wanted to help them expand their visions beyond the increasingly thick walls of contemporary American schooling – public or private. School – working with others, competing with others, being inspired by great teachers – can be a great thing, when that’s what’s happening. My older son was ready to jump back into experiencing learning with other kids in this very positive environment, and I think it will be a good year.
But the almost 10-year old is staying “home” – if you want to call it that. He’ll have piano lessons at a local college, a musician class at same, homeschool science class at the museum, homeschool class at the zoo, and a couple of different art classes. Plus basketball when that starts up, plus Cub Scouts, plus tennis – he’s expressed interest, and I will take him out and try not to do too much damage to either of us. He has a broad range of interests, pursues them passionately, and does not want to sit in a classroom filling out worksheets on “my community” and such.
Other than that, his “curriculum” will probably be about the following:
1) Math – continuing with Beast Academy We’re spending this week reviewing 3C and 3D, then will pick up 4A where we left off in the spring. I also have various other mathy-books like this one: Challenge Math by Zaccarro.
2. Handwriting; Cursive, using Writing our Catholic Faith – the series used in their former Catholic school.
3. Keyboarding, perhaps starting with this Keyboarding without Tears.
5: Literature: he reads a lot, but he’ll have a “school” book or reading going at all times as well – we’ll be exploring some Shakespeare or poetry or he’ll be reading an extra novel. Etc.
6. Low-key Latin.
Other than that, we’ll be led by his interests (MayaReptilesMayaReptiles), world events, the calendar, our travels and the liturgical year. What I’m mostly trying to do is give him tools – the handwriting, keyboarding and logic – so he can express himself clearly, both in terms of mechanics and content.
So…what have we done the past couple of days?
1. Prayer, natch.
2. Piano practice – he hasn’t had any formal lessons since music camp this summer, so he needs to get back in the groove before they start next week.
3. Reviewing math.
4. Exploring a couple of nature-related books from this library – this book, for example, on animal architecture, is beautiful and fascinating. Even if you’re not homeschooling anyone and don’t care much about animals – you’ll be intrigued.
5. He read this short bio of Mozart. He bucked a bit at the end, saying, “I don’t need to read any more, we learned all about Mozart at music camp” – but I had an un-un-schooling moment and lo and behold, he learned some things he hadn’t known. We also used it to talk a bit of geography.
6. Zoo trip yesterday. During which he searched in vain for a zoo employee to ask about what he said was a new animal on exhibit – a Caiman lizard.
That’s it so far….very slowly getting back in the groove.