Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Year In Review

I can hardly believe that the school year is almost over - four more days to go! This year we've seen some firsts with our homeschooling. It actually started at the end of last year's schooling. I told our son that he was getting to a point in his education where we really needed to choose a curriculum that we could stick with through high school so that we wouldn't miss anything important. I think he very much appreciated being included in that decision. We chose AOP's LifePacs for Language Arts, History & Geography, and Science, Horizons Math, Horizons Health, and Ariel Ministries' Come & See for Bible (I'll be sharing more about this at a later date).

With that decision I knew that I was going to have to keep better records. So another first was that this past school year I used forms to keep track of everything. The reason that this was my first year of using forms even though we've been homeschooling for eight years now is because our state doesn't require any sort of record keeping, although they do suggest it. Each year we do have to send in a form stating our intent to homeschool for the year, but that's it.

I wanted to be able to have everything planned out, see our schedule, and be able to show our son his grades. I'm very glad that I decided to do this! It really helped both of us stay motivated and not feel overwhelmed by things.

The forms that I use can be found at DonnaYoung.org. This is a fabulous site with free forms for homeschooling and just about anything else you can think of. If you're thinking about using forms for your schooling, if you need to use forms but don't relish the idea of making your own, or if you just like looking at free stuff, this site is for you! In addition to the forms she also has instructions and suggestions for using them.

Another first for us was that we made it through our math curriculum this year without any, what's the word I'm looking for? Let's use fussing! Four or five years ago we had a very bad experience with a math curriculum and it's taken our son this long to get over it. I can actually say with confidence that our son isn't math-phobic anymore!

This year was also the first time that we took a regular school year to go through the curriculum. Previously our son would speed through things as fast as he could because he just loves learning. Two years ago I calculated how long it would have taken him to get through twelfth grade at the rate he was going and he would have been done at thirteen. My husband and I didn't feel that that was either healthy or necessary so we helped him slow things down a bit and really begin to enjoy the journey.

While we're both looking forward to having lots of fun this summer, we're both looking forward to next school year, too. It's a real blessing to know that our decision to homeschool was really the right thing to do!

Visit Living Waters Homeschool
Visit UnderTheShadowOfHisWing
Visit LAKrueger's Books

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Importance Of Routine

One thing that I've learned over our years of homeschooling is the importance of routine. Routine is good for anybody, but it is especially important for gifted kids (and adults). Every year at this time, when we're about done with our regular school year and looking at our precious weeks of summer, I start thinking about our routine.

During the school year we have two learning sessions per day - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. One summer we just threw caution to the wind and played and lazed all day. After a couple of weeks I knew I was in trouble, so I tried implementing some sort of schedule for our days. It was so-so. Then when school started again that fall it took a good month to get back into the swing of things. This year I have a plan.

For our summer program we are going to maintain our two learning sessions, but instead of our regular school stuff, we'll be having fun, fun, fun! That's the plan anyway. I even have it charted out for the whole summer! There's art, bubblology (the science of bubbles), learning about pendulums, making a worm farm, even tie-dye. I'm hoping that by keeping to our regularly scheduled times when September rolls around again we can ease on in to school without too much fuss. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

While in my dreams summer is a peaceful, relaxing time, in reality it is the time for me to get all my ducks in a row for next schoolyear. Fortunately I have some of them lined up already, but there are still a few that need to be taken care of. I'm hoping that between all the fun and relaxing I'll be able to get those things done so that I won't have to worry about them in September. Here's hoping!

Visit Living Waters Homeschool
Visit UnderTheShadowOfHisWing
Visit LAKrueger's Books