homeschool planning / self-directed learning

and what does she do…my twelve year old

Probably too many extracurricular activities. Presently choir, dance, youth group, piano, drama classes x 2. But she’s studied violin, done soccer camps, baseball with the boys, gymnastics, sailing and kayaking camps. And then there’s our families activities of travelling, canoeing, hiking and cross country skiing. We’ve been hitting extra curriculars hard as we recently moved communities.

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Oh, and there’s studies. Somewhere between mid-September to early May, we’ll do formal studies.

Presently, she’s learning fractions and decimals in the Math-U-See program. She doesn’t struggle with math, but she doesn’t love it. She’s self-directed in almost everything; in other words, I am available for consultation, but she doesn’t need me reading directions and explaining most things. She knows that we begin studies at nine. And she reliably is there. More reliably than me.

She writes a blog, alongside other writing activities, some Pinterest inspired, some personal letters, and many presently from her program called Jump In (from Apologia Press). Once a week she completes a page of Editor in Chief, a grammar intensive workbook. No one loves this book, because it’s a ‘rewrite the paragraph in correct grammar’ book, but it certainly reinforces correct grammar.

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She journals. I don’t peek. I’m not concerned with grammar and spelling, or scanning her thoughts; rather, that she comes to understand her own thoughts and her own self.

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She does memory work. Train that brain, baby. Bible verses, poems like Mother Teresa’s ‘Anyway’, and Latin prayers.

She learns languages. Or I will be more specific. She’s exposed to languages. How does one learn a language unless they’re required to use it in everyday? My only second language offerings come in the form of one low german sentence I remember my Mennonite grandma using when I was small.

We have studied Spanish, are presently using ‘Ecoutez Parlez’ for French, which I highly recommend, and Latina Christiana, learning English derivatives in Latin which increase vocabulary and word recognition. A month of conversational Swahili, Mampruli and Italian on our travels to Kenya, Ghana and Italy were better starts to true language acquisition than any verb conjugating I could teach at home.

She reads and discusses early American history. Today we looked at the ratification of the constitution. These literary offerings are through the Sonlight curriculum. Can’t say enough about this cohesive and engaging program. If you follow at your own comfortable pace, this is an ideal approach to world and American history. Once a week, I have her pull out her history notebook and I offer ten dates, names or questions about our previous week’s reading and have her write everything she remembers about them.

She studies science, primarily physics this year, with occasional afternoons of Apologia’s ‘Swimming Creatures’. I have found that full engagement in science requires hands-on activities with curious questions to boot the process. The National Geographic chemistry and physics kits I found at a homeschool convention provide just that.

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In her spare time, and yes she does have spare time, she plays piano, films her sister’s rainbow loom youtube channel or creates music videos, writes stories, crafts, cooks and bakes, hangs with the neighbor dogs, reads (her recent fav I Am Malala) and brings me cappuccinos in bed.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together

Vincent Van Gogh


2 thoughts on “and what does she do…my twelve year old

    • Thanks kiddo. I’d say you’re pretty luck yourself travelling around the world. Wouldn’t it be neat if we could all live a thousand lives and experience it all?

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