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  1. #1

    Default Roll Call, 6/13 - Homeschool reflection time!

    It is the time of year where some of us reflect on how homeschooling has progressed in the last year or few months and contemplate how we want it to be going forward. With that in mind, I thought this week, regardless of where you are in your homeschool journey, you could share your reflections here. Sometimes reading an insight or experience someone else has may spark some ideas for another!

    So here are some questions you could possibly answer. Feel free to add other topics as well! Answers can relate to academics, social life, interpersonal skills--the topics are wide open.

    *How do you feel the last year or few months progressed for your homeschooling? What went well, what did not?

    *What were some highlights? What are some moments that you are less than proud of (and willing to share!)?

    *What changes (if any) are you making for the future? Why?

    *What is one bit of advice you would give to someone just starting out? (This can be for parents of preschoolers all the way up to parents of high school age students.)
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    *How do you feel the last year or few months progressed for your homeschooling? What went well, what did not?
    I'm happy with where we are with school-y things. It doesn't look much like school but I'm fine with that. When I try to tie us to a schedule of things to do for school, no one is happy and my very opinionated and out spoken son let's me know in no uncertain terms lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    *What were some highlights?
    DS graduated from speech therapy! He has been in therapy since just before his second birthday for childhood apraxia of speech. His speech isn't perfect but it is understandable and age appropriate. A huge leap for a child who never babbled and cooed as an infant and didn't speak his first words until almost three!

    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    What are some moments that you are less than proud of (and willing to share!)?
    School didn't happen every week day, or even every week sometimes. I'm fine with it at this point in my homeschooling mom "career" (almost 20 years...were has the time gone?!?) But when my oldest kids were littles, it would have been something that bothered me. I can see now though that school doesn't have to be a rigid daily routine for my kids to learn. I'm a lot more comfortable with "teachable moments" now.

    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    *What changes (if any) are you making for the future? Why?
    Not much. What we are doing is working. Don't fix it if it isn't broken! lol

    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    *What is one bit of advice you would give to someone just starting out? (This can be for parents of preschoolers all the way up to parents of high school age students.)
    My number one piece of advice for any new homeschooler, regardless of the age of their kids is Relax!... I've got more to say here but it is difficult with a 6 year old in my lap (who is really getting too big to sit in anyone's lap lol) I'll elaborate later. ;-)

  4. #3

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    *How do you feel the last year or few months progressed for your homeschooling? What went well, what did not?

    Most things are going well this year. Math is good (but not looking forward to DD finishing up Beast Academy this year because then I have to find something else). We have been more consistent with science as RSO Physics is way more interesting than RSO Chem, and we are also doing space, which has involved watching lots of interesting documentaries. Language arts always goes well because DD would read all day if she could, and after 3 years of gently getting her into writing, she is happy to do it most days now. Foreign language and music are fine.

    Volunteering has been our favorite thing we have added in this year. It takes up about 4.5 hours of one school day per week but is well loved.

    The only things I am aiming to get better on for the rest of the year are field trips and art. Field trips we have done about three every 10 week period so far. So maybe that is ok. I always have visions of like a field trip every week, but I guess we are not far off one every two weeks.

    *What were some highlights? What are some moments that you are less than proud of (and willing to share!)?

    Highlight = volunteering.

    Can't think of any less than proud of moments.

    *What changes (if any) are you making for the future? Why?

    Can't think of any right now.

    *What is one bit of advice you would give to someone just starting out? (This can be for parents of preschoolers all the way up to parents of high school age students.)

    Don't buy lots of curricula straight up. Take time to try out free samples and placement tests and see what works before buying things. Also, for pre-middle school, not having curricula for some things and just doing interest-based studies on things is a great way to learn.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    Roll Call, 6/13  - Homeschool reflection time!
    2018-2019 Homeschool

    What went well, what did not. . . .
    We had a great routine this year. Especially in regards to English and study skills. The kids enjoyed our various activities and I felt like we made progress. DS made strides in autonomy and initiative. Overall, I'd say it was our best year yet, a nice balance between freedom and accomplishment.

    Highlights and challenges (fails) . . . .
    The highlight was hands down the ecology / nature study class we took. Getting into the mountains a day a week - out of our routine - it was absolutely restorative. Challenges - what to do with DD for school - she's bright, but not ready for an intense amount of work.

    I don't typically mention this, because this is a secular site, and I do consider myself a secular homeschooler, but, my kids attend a local Hebrew school (5 hrs a week). DS in particular loved class this year - lively debate (which is highly encourage and accepted in Judaism), quality projects, good friendships. DD does wonderful with Hebrew, she begins the year long process preparing for her Bat Mitzvah this year, she is excited and I think she will do really well.

    Changes. . . .
    DS starts high school this fall. So I feel like we are taking our wonderful routine and throwing it to the birds *sigh*. The change is not exactly one I'm looking to make, it is just part of the evolution of homeschool. DS should end the year with a credit in math (algebra), history (Jewish studies - via class, home, and one-on-one teaching with a Rabbi who is a family friend), science (biology), 2 in English (lit studies, and composition), health, and PE (swimming).

    DD will start BYL (minus the science) - it will be the first year of using this program for us. I think the amount of reading along with the hands on projects will be a nice fit for her. Now, keeping her on track

    Advice. . . .
    A couple of things. There is no perfect or 'right' curriculum. What works for one kid, won't work for another. Sometimes a curriculum you don't connect with on a personal level will work wonders for your kiddo. When starting out - pick the basics. Start with reading and math. Then add writing followed by all the other subjects. If it takes 6 months to do that, that is ok.

    This past week I was child free. I accomplish a lot, including some power relaxation! Look at this magic. . .
    IMG_0074.jpeg


    We picked up DD from Girl Scout Camp this past Friday and made a quick stop by the Taos Gorge - the Rio Grande is 600 feet down
    IMG_0078.jpeg
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

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    RTB – Are those empty laundry baskets? Jealous! We have laundry in a range of stages scattered around our house. I would love a period (even half a day) where it is just all done and I don't have to think about it.

    The Hebrew school your children attend sounds great. I really liked learning little things about Jewish occasions when we lived in the US and they did little projects/read books about them at my daughter's inclusive preschool (it operated on the grounds of a Unitarian Universalist church and was not run by them, but the preschool incorporated little things about all beliefs into the learning). I really love diversity and discussion/debate and celebration of different beliefs and cultures, but we often don't get that here in NZ. Its like around 48% various Christians, 42% no religion, 4% not declared, and the remainder is "other" religions. It's like growing up in a culture vacuum.

    So, I know you did not intend this to be a discussion of religion in any way, but I for one don't mind the little things you put on here about what you are doing related to such things as it is interesting and educational.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  7. #6

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    We have spent the past few months slack-schooling.

    It has always been a mixed bag ever since we started. As DS has gotten older, I have been letting him have more say in his education.

    When I was done with teaching my college classes for the summer, I sat down an evaluate what was working and not working at home. This time I am taking more of DS' input on what he wants. I asked him what method he likes to learn from the most and the least. I also asked him what he wanted to learn and gave him ideas on different directions we could take with his learning.

    We sat down and ranked all the topics and methods of learning. I discovered:

    Least favorite method: worksheets
    Most favorite method: videos and audiobooks

    Everything else was somewhere in-between. So for everything except Spanish, we will be using mostly or exclusively videos. Also, for literature he really likes audio books and will listen to them for hours. I plan to capitalize on that too.

    He didn't pick any topics to learn except for video gaming and Disney so I will be working those into lessons.

    He is becoming more willing to do activities outside the home, but no rigidly organized ones. So we go to the pool, the tween time at the library, and other loosely organized activities.

    I have decided that I am going to continue being more laid back. DS has definite opinions about learning. He likes doing it on his own terms, but he does like learning. I am happy to work with that.

    So I am not purchasing any curriculum for next year. All I need are videos and a notebook and some science and art supplies.

    My plan, subject to change:
    Math: Khan Academy videos only. He doesn't like the quizzes, so he will do a couple of problems on paper.
    Literature: Audio books! We will just keep reading (or listening) and talking about books. On a normal day he listens to about a book a week, for enjoyment. I will probably add some classics in there.
    Writing: Selecting a topic a week on anything he wants. So we work through one per week. Right now we are working on developing paragraphs, but I hope to move into essays sometime during the year.
    Reading will be things as he comes across them. He likes playing RPGs and board games, which he will read extensively for as well as for science and history.
    Science, art and history: We will continue with videos, small projects and experiments. Nothing terribly organized.
    PE will consist of a variety of activities, but mostly swimming. But he has started disc/frisbee golf and bowling.
    Spanish: This is the most organized program I have. This will consist of worksheets, but also we watch videos, use Tiny Cards app for vocabulary and board games. I found a curriculum through En Vivo. They have a program for middle school which I like.

    Advise for new homeschoolers: Don't feel like you have to follow a system. Do what works. Sometimes what works is letting it go with nothing at all and letting kids do their own thing for a while. I am still amazed at what my kid learns with little guidance from me but with access to information.
    A mama, who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.
    I also share free and low-cost educational resources at
    http://chooseourownadventures.blogspot.com

  8. #7

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    *How do you feel the last year or few months progressed for your homeschooling? What went well, what did not?

    We had some struggles with behavior and a move. At one point I was ready to give in but we are slowly moving past it. I'm not a very schedule-oriented person and two of my girls have inherited that trait so it is difficult sometimes. DD3 is very self-regulated which makes it easy but I sometimes worry dh and I focus more on the other two. I suppose that's an issue with anyone with multiple kids.

    *What were some highlights? What are some moments that you are less than proud of (and willing to share!)?

    Two of my girls have really found their passion this past year. Its really nice to see them both so excited about something. DD1 has been doing some amazing art and it working on creating a portfolio. She's come up with a couple of ideas for large pieces that she's hoping to work on throughout the summer. We'll see how it works out. DD2 took a speaker's league class last year and now she's wanting a debating class. She's looking into what a communication degree entails and reading up on historical speeches and debates.

    *What changes (if any) are you making for the future? Why?

    I'm going to make a monthly goal list that is realistic and make sure we are hitting goals before doing our fun things. (Our goal is to hike through the Grand Canyon with our Girl Scout troop year after next. So we need to do hiking and backpacking.)

    *What is one bit of advice you would give to someone just starting out? (This can be for parents of preschoolers all the way up to parents of high school age students.)

    For littles I'd say just relax. Get out and go places and just have fun with them. Experience a bunch of different things and see what sparks their imagination. For older kids I'd recommend doing some things you did when they were younger and they "outgrew". We used to go to the science center and then they complained that it was boring so we stopped. We went back recently and they had a blast and want to go back.

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    This kind of stuff is a treasure trove of info, gang! I wish more would pipe up, though. We tend to have a lot of lurkers......
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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Roll Call, 6/13  - Homeschool reflection time!