homeschool 2017-2018

Two of our four kids are taking their last float over to the neighbourhood island as I write this. Summer temperatures are expected to drop in two days. Finally. Temps have exceeded normal all summer. A rain shower once a month does not quell fire risk. Fires in our neighbourhood, and obviously, all throughout this beautiful province have compelled me to write an evacuation to-do list.

The recent cooling, from 35+ to 25+, is curiously well-timed to tame our summer aspirations and move us to thoughts of the formal learning season. Always after my husband’s mid-September birthday, we begin a new study year.

To my surprise, I heard our third daughter ask if we can start studies. Our eldest daughter started her final high school year the day after Labour Day. And our second daughter began an on-line science class a few weeks before that. When our youngest, an eight year old boy, blurted that he wanted to do studies, then realized he said what he was thinking out loud, he didn’t deny his thought, rather confirmed his original statement: “Yeah, I really do want to start studies.”

Then I knew we were ready.

Last fall, our oldest took a foray into high school. Her first year at a brick n’ mortar school since grade 2. Though I am most certainly a homeschool advocate, and have oodles of high school stories that didn’t encourage me to consider her quest, I have since learned that she is a homeschooled kiddo looking to spread her wings. To do her independent sociological experiment. Yet, as soon as she enters the system, she wants out. She’s decided to jam her last two years into one so she can get on with the next independent adulting phase. For this kid who I chose to unschool for, it is a huge surprise that she’s focusing her teenage years on academics. Oh, but also dance classes, choir, and a part time job at a grocery bakery. This kid has her parent’s work ethic.

Our third daughter, 12 years, will be on-line too, for the first time. Well, she’s on-line every day trying to build her slime business. But this is her first on-line class. She will be exploring the world of Bravewriter. (I am excited about Julie Bogart spending more time in our home.) This third daughter wants more free time in her schedule, so she has chosen choir, swim lessons and musical theatre as her extracurriculars, no dance or gymnastics this year. And a side of part time employment: the doctor’s call room laundry. We start ’em young.

Our youngest will enter the world of Minecraft School. Yes, Minecraft School. If I understand correctly, he will produce Minecraft projects based on “I Survived” history book readings, or a huge variety of other topics. And when he’s not Minecrafting, there’s soccer, swim lessons, and musical theatre. I’ll find a more advanced book on chess–he’s been killing it with his dad lately. Good thing dad’s no longer betting. Too expensive.

Our second daughter, 14 years, continues catering for the public and hospital emerg. Plum cinnamon scones for breakfast this morning; she was awake with the birds. She began her second kitchen job with a local bakery supplier. She and her sister keep me uber driving for their part time roster of dance classes. This daughter is also TAing a younger class, and is also singing in a choir. And as said before, eager to do an on line science class that is live, graded and tested.

Of course, in this season, we explore all sorts of other more traditional topics — if I wrote them all, you might get dizzy. Or for sure, my word count would go through the roof and

a. you would stop reading, or…

b. you might think I was fibbing (unless you knew me, then you would know, I am totally for real. Latin is not dead in this house.)

In summary, we engage all sorts of subjects in Charlotte Mason style with a classical education variety (aka Susan Weise Bauer content), but oversee this educational stuff with an unschooled mental space.

Let me also add the catchphrases: a ‘delight directed’, ‘enchanted learning’, ‘following their passions’ approach….or whatever phrase you want to add that says I want them to learn, to enjoy learning, to have a free childhood with lots of mental stimulation to equip them to do their life ‘thang’.

The seasons have begun to change. Though I still do yoga and meditate on the patio, I am spending fewer hours landscaping each morning, more time in the homeschool room, and in the kitchen doing chemistry experiments, the Great Room reading poetry and discussing art.

Each season brings its new fruits. This one, the joy of exploring interests, driving, science experiments, driving, math games, Latin and French study, driving, dance classes, driving, story writing, pencil drawing, pastels and oils, driving….

Okay, word count…

Welcome to the new homeschool year!