Thursday, August 22, 2013

A staggered start



You would think that after 6 years of homeschooling under my belt, I would have this gig all figured out. Not so. Every year has consisted of different circumstances, schedules and temperaments.

I want this to be *the* year that we take the 'schooling' part of school a little more seriously. I've got my plate full now, as Owen has joined the ranks and will begin doing regular work, just like his older brother and sister. Jordan is now an eighth grader, and I've got a lot of ground to cover. Rylan is in second grade, and not quite where I had hoped she would be. So, this is the year for change.

I know from past experience that doing the full schedule on the first day is a huge mistake. The kids need to transition out of their lazy days just as much as I need to. It was surprisingly easy to put homeschool out of my mind for June and July. As much as I had planned on schooling through the summer, my heart was just not in it, and with Jordan gone and our general summer activity busyness in the way, schoolwork was just not going to happen.

So here we are. It is August (and it's almost over !?!?), and our school year is well underway. I thought about school in short snippets here and there, and one of the decisions I made was that we would do a staggered start. Each week, as August progressed, I would add another kid to the schedule. And as each day passed by, we would add another item or two to the work load.

I began with Jordan, and after three weeks, he is running at almost full tilt. The only exception is World History. Neither of us are really grooving on History Odyssey. We cannot seem to move beyond ancient history!! After six years of homeschooling, we have left all the world history beyond ancient history virtually untouched, with the exception of what we read about in the yearly Core Knowledge books. I think that of all of the school subjects, history is my absolute favorite, and so I don't know why I am struggling with this. I need to figure out what my issue is with History Odyssey is, and fix it. Quickly.

We are using Homeschool Schedtrak again this year to track our hours, and Jordan has logged over 40 for this month already, so I think we are off to an excellent start. Please don't roll your eyes or secretly hate me when I tell you this, but Jordan has remarked, on numerous occasions over these past few weeks, that he is really enjoying the work - especially Physics, and looks forward to checking off his schedule as he goes. I am only making note of it here because I understand how fleeting and remarkable it is for a 13 yr. old to say something like this in the first place, and I need it here to remind me of the good times. I know that hard and difficult times are to be expected. I just want to be prepared. Now, I am not going to lie, there is a dangling carrot for motivation here. A completed schoolwork checklist = Minecraft, so that is truly what is pushing him here, at the moment.

Rylan's turn came up, and, just as I expected, she was less than thrilled. We are working at about half the desired work load right now. I think it is going to take a while to get her into a comfortable routine. The one highlight came last week, when upon the completion of a math lesson, she remarked in an astounded and pleased voice that she was excited to be doing 'real math' at this point, 'just like Jordan'. Not sure why solving the same sort of problems all of a sudden feels like the real thing, but there you have it. Another happy customer, so I'll file it away in the Good Times folder, for later use to remind me why it was a good idea to homeschool in the first place.

Owen is officially known to the school district now, as I just added his name to the Notice of Intent to Homeschool letter we have to send to the local district each fall. Owen loves his big yellow pencils and putting stickers on things. I no longer think he will be a lefty, he is most definitely a righty. I am a little disappointed...I thought that would have been kind of cool. We have only started up two things at this point - Reading Eggs and Explode the Code, so we will just continue to work on adding stuff as we go.

It has been a very good start - our best ever, to date. I think that it has also helped us that the extra stuff doesn't really start up until next month. Jordan has joined our homeschool Lego NXT group, and will meet twice a week until the month of November, when they go to competition. The group just started up meetings this past week, and he is enjoying it. He is also doing Boy Scouts, of course. And that's it! I think that not going to karate five days a week will make a huge difference for him. I'm still sad about that, but in the big picture, it's a good thing. Rylan wrapped up her summer tumbling session a week ago, and is enjoying not having anything to do at the moment. And I hope she does, because in another week's time, she will be a busy, busy girl. She will have three nights of dance in a row - jazz, tumbling and ballet, plus violin, and then Girl Scouts starts up in October, along with extra Nutcracker practices. I am glad we are not starting up scouts in September - I still need to get my feet on solid ground before I take on seven little Brownies!

So that's it! Things have been quiet here on the blog as I got stuff rolling - not much down time as of late. I have been keeping up with how fellow homeschoolers - both local and on the blogosphere have been ramping things up, making changes here and there - always good to self-evaluate and know that we are all in the same boat, just carrying different cargo...


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