Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another School Year Begun

It has been forever since I updated this blog!

Life keeping up with and homeschooling 3 boys, moving across the country, settling into a new house, new area, new church, adding chickens to our crew... it's been too much.
We are now happily settled into Washington state and LOVE it here!

Last year we had a really unique school year because of all the major changes that were going on as well as the challenge of having a 1 year old to take care of. We learned a lot but in a much less traditional way.

This year I was really happy to try and get back to a more normal school year. This summer I read through several books and my favorite by far was The Self-Propelled Advantage.

Joanne Calderwood did a great job challenging me to let the boys have more control of their own education. I had always liked that idea in theory but had a hard time executing it in practice. It was well worth the read and gave me so many ideas on how to tackle this new school year. We're still working it through day-by-day, learning how to do it best as we go, but this is the general idea.

Both of the boys have a journal notebook that contains a calendar for the next few months, a list of books I'm recommending for them this school year, a page to write the books they've finished onto, a list of goals for the entire year then broken down into semesters and a blank weekly page with a column for each subject each day where they can write what they've accomplished. We've divided our school year into 4 9-week semesters and have divided their year-long goals down to fit that time so they know what they need to accomplish each week.

During the summer the boys and I sat down and talked about what curriculum choices we've made in the past and what they did and did not like about each of them. We chose new books for this year with the idea to finish each during the school year to a level of excellence in understanding. I check in with them and encourage them along the way but they are the ones responsible to decide what they would like to learn, when they would like to learn it and where. They no longer have to wait on me when I'm cleaning up a giant mess our now-2 year old has made. They can freely move onto another subject. It's been so freeing for all of us!

In case you are curious, the curriculum we chose for this year are:
Math: Each boy will finish a certain grade on the Khan Academy website
Science: Josh is doing Apologia's General Science and Jeremiah is doing Apologia's Chemistry and Physics
History: They decided to re-read The Story of the World, Volume 1 since they don't remember much from when we read it several years ago and would like to.
Language: They're going to be writing on our homeschool blog and finishing a Language workbook for their grade level as well as reading a set amount of time each day.
Jeremiah will be working on cursive and they are both working on several other pursuits I've chosen to not group in with structured school time like computer programming, perfecting the art of playing video games, cooking/baking, and taking on more responsibility with regular household chores.

Nathaniel has started a very easy pre-preschool as well, but that's another blog post for another day.
I hope this is at least a little helpful. We're only in our 2nd week of school so we're definitely still figuring it out. We're constantly finding what works best for each year and each boy. My goal is to always do what works best for them to love what they're learning.