This is the official 10th year that I’ve homeschooled, not counting Kindergarten and a year or two of super-excited, can’t wait to get started preschool.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been blogging (I could go look….), but being able to journal about our adventures is a way for me to recall all the fun things we’ve done. It is a way for me to process our plans. It is a way for me to share with my distant family our daily/ weekly/ monthly adventures. Of course, I don’t share with you the Monday morning whines that I get from my kids nearly 99.9% of the school year. I don’t share when Luke and I break down in tears because writing is hard. I haven’t written about how. may. times. I have to ask the boys to put away their school books, binders, markers, Math U See blocks after they are used. I mostly share the happy parts. But please, don’t think I’m a saint, nor that my children are saints-to-be. I lose my patience like every other mom, I blow my top (I wish I didn’t…), and we argue about socks on the floor, laundry that seems to creep out bedroom doors and chores that don’t get done. We are a normal family, trying to learn together in an environment that honors our differences and honors God as well.
On to our year.
It took a long to figure out which level of Classical Conversations Ben would be enrolled in this year. He and I had agreed that 3 is the magic number (Yes, please click on the link and go watch School House Rock’s skip counting song. I’ll wait). Just a week before our first seminar, his tutor confirmed that there would be a total of three students in Challenge I, so I could finally purchase books for him! Thank you Amazon Prime Two-Day Shipping!
I like a gradual start to the school year….adding in subjects as each week passes. Ben didn’t get to take advantage of that this year; I had wanted him to have two weeks to prep for school (doing about 30 or so minutes of work a day). Instead I threw his first American literature book at him and told him to get going.
Since Challenge started this week, I used this week as the jumping off point for Luke and Levi’s school year. I’m not always really creative with First Day of School Celebrations, but as a family we do all love homemade donuts, so that is what we made to celebrate.
Everyone helped out: Ben made the dough and chilled it, Luke and Levi were responsible for cooking and sugaring them. And we all ate them!
Levi (3rd grade) and Luke (6th grade)
Ben (10th grade)
A gradual start to the school year is really a great idea! Luke and Levi (and even Ben and I) are trying to remember to get up on time (hard to do!) so we can have a productive day. Our day is starting with Bible, Memory Work, Math and Literature. We’ve started reading The Phantom Tollbooth and using an online literature guide/ lapbook (found at Homeschool Share). Levi was pretty grumpy about reading it (we had just finished a really interesting missionary story about David Livingstone) – until we started it. Ah, yes, the happy whines of “read more!” at the end of a chapter.
Now, I’ll admit that adding in the lapbook was a little more than I had planned to do this week – however the allegorical story is a perfectly fun way to begin some language arts studies and character building discussions.
Challenge I: Ben is having a great start to his year. We have put off the start of his Spanish course for a week so that the rest of the Challenge I’s coursework can get a solid start. What I’ve loved is that Ben knows this year how to get his work done – and I am so grateful and happy to see him manage his responsibilities so well (so far!). This is a busy season with Cross Country every afternoon, so managing time right now pays off for the rest of the school year.
Biology: Ben is completing the physical science experiments in seminar, but for his credit work, he is completing Biology at home. We are using the “At Your Own Pace” course from the Virtual Homeschool Group to help us complete the work in a timely, methodological fashion. I purchased all the lab supplies so that Ben can complete them here at home – basically doing all the labs that are done in the Challenge II program. However, we’re going to take a week off every couple modules to work exclusively on the labs and lab reports, which really helps us manage his limited time during XC. In addition, I found this great set of typed out On Your Own questions at Deanna’s Corner blog for him to use through the course. I also have the Apologia Biology app ($4.99) with all the vocabulary on it for review – I just have to remember to tell Ben so he can use it!
All in all, a great first week for everyone!