Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Plan

The Plan for next year is to homeschool Middle again.

I think.

Trying to pin him down to a position on the matter has not been easy. And I, being the Enlightened Parent that I am, care about his position. There's nothing worse than trying to homeschool someone who'd rather be somewhere else. Homeschooling is a privilege, and a service I am happy to provide for willing children. But it's not a prison sentence, and it's not the only quality show in town. Schools, both public and parochial, have plenty to offer as well.

So, by this age, I tend to leave a large part of the decision making to the child in question. It's a big responsibility, and a big decision, as he keeps reminding me. I can give him information; I can even give him my own opinion and preference. But ultimately, I want it to be his choice.

It's been hard for him to decide because with both choices there is much to gain and much to lose. But that's part of life, as I mentioned recently. Homeschooling will enable him to sleep later, put in shorter more focused academic hours doing subjects he has helped choose, give him the freedom he enjoys to structure his days the way he wants, and allow him to spend more time at martial arts and with his other homeschooling friends. On the other hand, going to school would enable him to spend more time with his school friends and eat in the cafeteria. I can think of a bunch of other good reasons why he might want to go to school, but those were his only two when I asked just now.

Which is probably why we're homeschooling again next year.

Our evaluation went really well today. I think we both came away feeling like he had done some really good work this year, even with the freespirited approach I took with him after leaving the cyberschool. We went to lunch together afterward and talked about The Decision and pieced together a list of things he'd like to study next year if he's home.

It looks something like this:

Math - Geometry. He's almost finished with Algebra I, and the Teen will be in Sophmore Geometry next year, so they can help each other. Plus, Geometry is fun.

Science - Psychology. Whatever he wants, I've got it or I know where to find it. I've had two years of undergraduate work and 5 years of graduate work studying and teaching the subject, and there are so many different subfields to explore - neuroanatomy, biopsychology, social psychology, sensation / perception, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, learning theory... We can overlap with experimental design and statistical analysis, research paper writing, even history and literature. Very exciting.

History - I'm insisting he needs more American History; he insists that it must be post-Civil War. Deal. (That part's more interesting for me too.)

English - Reading is never a problem for him. He cranks through a novel or two a week when he's trying to avoid his other work. But we both know he needs more writing in his life, so we agreed on a completed writing project every two weeks. I also want him to learn more about using software like Powerpoint and Publisher, so I'm going to insist on more of these types of projects as well. We have a good grammar and vocabulary curriculum we're using, and of course, we diagram sentences. I love diagramming sentences.

Music - He's still working on learning to read music and play the piano, even though it isn't His Thing. That's okay. His evaluator encouraged him to Offer It Up.

Art - I want to actually do the projects I chose for last year and never got around to trying. We have some great art books and lots of art materials. We just need to make it a priority for a change.

Phys-ed / Health. Gee, I wonder... :-) He calculated the number of hours he actually spent in martial arts classes last year (not counting when he was just there hanging out). It came to 11 hours per week. And he won 7 trophies in his first year competing. Good kid.

Home-ec - Thanks to Little, he's had to learn to cook. Because when Little asks for help with a recipe, I often send him to Middle, who then has to get involved. I'm sneaky like that. And of course, the laundry and gardening and housework and bugeting and shopping and bill-paying are all part of the homeschooling experience around here from a very young age.

Enrichment - He's asked for more field trips to places like D.C. With friends. I am happy to oblige, and we have no lack of travel companions to choose from. Giving more of the planning responsibilities to them will improve their self-confidence and decision-making skills - very important at this stage of development - so that will be one of my goals. Also, having him follow up with a writing or art project afterward.

Wow - I just read over this and it sounds really exciting! The trick, of course, is to actually do all this cool stuff. But with some good pre-planning (starting tonight) this could be a great homeschooling year for us both.

Off to re-organize the bookshelves...



It's Not Like a Cat said...

I want to go to school at your house! :) It sounds great!

GLK said...

I want to go to YOUR school!!! Can I come?

Maurice Reeves said...

Why post-Civil-War? That's a pretty broad target. Would you stick with Reconstruction through to WWI or more than that?

Kath said...

True - I guess I have that goal in mind because the cyberschool takes two years to cover American History - pre-1865 and post-1865. He really didn't like the first part and didn't want to go over that again, so I told him we'd focus on the second part. The nice thing is, we still have the curriculum materials from when the Teen took it, and we can get the book (The History of US) from the library.

Having said that, if we don't get through the whole thing, that's okay. One nice thing is we can go more in-depth if he finds a topic he really likes. It seems like inventions and technology are always a hit with him.

Anonymous said...

So, not only do I want to go to your school, I SERIOUSLY thought I should send Lucie to your school (if you would have her). I cant blame Ethan for staying put another year!

Kath said...

LOL - you KNOW I'd love to have Lucie. I need that girl-energy in my life. Send her over anytime!


Maurice Reeves said...

I am happy to have Owen and McKenna head to your school as well. :)

Kath said...

Aw, you guys are great. I wish my own kids were as enthusiastic as you are! We need to get them all together to play at the pool or the creek sometime soon.