Friday, January 18, 2013

Considering ALL the Options: Beginning to Plan for Homeschooling High School

It has not quite been a month since I published this post, but there has been more than a month's worth of thinking, praying, and consulting going on as I think about high school for Ben next year.  So, I decided that I'll need a couple more posts to flesh out this process and how it will play out for us. Maybe it will help others as they consider homeschooling through high school.  If nothing else, maybe someone will say, "that lady is nuts, and I will definitely not do what she is doing."  And if this process helps clarify for other families what not to do...well, I can honestly say I'm glad to have helped.

That the two words "high school" pop up in my mind so much more often lately is really difficult to process sometimes.  This is where we started -- preschool:

 Ben 4 1/2 years old

I'm pretty sure I'll always be asking, "Where has the time gone?" In the meantime I have to face reality: creating a 4 year plan that will meet Ben's needs for whatever direction God has for him.

Ben has the dream of attending the Air Force Academy -- quite a goal, don't you think?  One resource I consulted said that the college prep necessary for the AFA is similar to those requirements necessary for schools like Harvard, Princeton & Yale.  Nothing like reaching for the stars, my son!

Academic requirements for the AFA are (Harvard course requirements are in parentheses):

four years of English (4)
four years of math, with coursework through pre-calculus and a strong background in algebra and trigonometry (4)
four years of lab science (4)
three years of social studies (3)
two years of a modern foreign language (4)
one year of computer study

With these requirements in mind, I've got a list of ways we might accomplish these basic academic goals.  I've told Ben we'll look into all of them to discern what avenues to explore to accomplish his goals:

  1. Local homeschool co-ops (there is one high school co-op in the local area)
  2. Online virutal classes (we have a public charter school plus there are online homeschool classes as well)
  3. Classical Conversations Challenge program
  4. Selective private school course work
  5. Selective public school course work
  6. Dual-credit coursework 
I'm trying to be open minded about all these options -- but it is hard because (I'll admit) I have some preconceived notions on what will work with our lifestyle and Ben's needs.

Ben would LOVE to finish a basic flight school before he graduates -- and I think that is an awesome goal to work towards (although between saving for driver's ed and ground school I wonder which he would chose).

I'm also hoping that Dave and I can help Ben craft an acceptable "Plan B."  Since there are many ways one can accomplish the goal of becoming an AF pilot, we hope to explore those opportunities over the next year or so. 

So, the plan is to create a four year plan of required courses. Add in come electives.  Seek out multiple ways to complete this goal.  Visit and or observe these learning situations.

And always remain flexible.

I've had all these ideas for the second half of 8th grade percolating in my brain since the summer.  My plan was confirmed -- the whole "be flexible"  and look at all your options thing -- while watch Susan Wise Bauer's video blog "When you've taught your kids at home for seventeen years." I've always held her recommendations in high esteem and this personal, thoughtful and honest vblog just proves that she deserves that esteem.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I can see again! {Being Thrifty}

Honestly, I never, ever thought I would be happy to have my bifocals back.

I had not been able to wear them for 48 hours.  Thankfully, I still had my last pair of glasses so that I could at least function and drive.

Glasses 2

I'll tell you what happened:  Luke and I were cooking pasta for lunch (it was his week to be my assistant cook); afterwards I noticed a fog on my lens that wouldn't go away.  Upon closer examination, I noticed tiny little scratches on the lenses where the fogging was most noticeable.

{Insert some internet researching and I discovered ...} the anti-reflective coating had begun to crack and peel off.  My glasses were just barely 9 months old, and I had not purchase a warranty for this pair.  I was trying out a local wholesale club's vision department and decided that I didn't need the extra $40+ dollar expense of insurance. Murphy's law in action, doncha think?

Not only did I discover what my lens problem was, but I also discovered how to fix it!  Returning from Michaels with a bottle of  Armour Etch (cream is all they had - cost was $8 after using the 40% coupon), I applied it to my lenses  for 5 minutes on each side.  When the timer went off, I rinsed the glasses with cold water and -- Magic! -- I had clear lenses again!

I was so excited -- but mostly relieved that I did not need to get new lenses!  I had to get used to a little bit of reflection again, but that only took a day or two. This small investment/ huge payoff saved me close to $300 and I've been wearing these glasses daily for four or so months. 

If you'd like to see a YouTube video demonstrating the process, here it is:

I followed exactly what she did, except after applying the cream, I just let my glasses sit -- I didn't keep moving the cream around.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Making Music

Luke is taking music lessons at the elementary school this year.  He wanted to play trumpet, and has been faithful to practice nearly everyday. 

He was very excited for the first Beginning Band concert at the beginning of December.  The group – 4th grade students from all the elementary schools  in town – have been practicing weekly in addition to their instrument specific group lessons.  It has been a new experience for us to hop over to the elementary school, work around school delays (because of weather), and even to pick up a friend at the school’s after school care program and drive he and Luke to their band practice. We’ve gotten a glimpse at public education this year.

Anyway, here is one of the songs that I recorded:

I’m so excited to see what is to come this year!