As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reflections On Our School Year

This week, on a homeschool yahoo group of which I am a member, someone posed the question, " How many years have you been homeschooling...and how many years do you have to go?" 

My answer?  I am completing my 21st year of homeschooling with 7 years remaining.  

Can you believe that the 7 years remaining sounds like a very short time to me?  And that I kind of dread the day when it is all over?

I have been reflecting on our current year, this 21st year of my homeschool adventure, this first year that I have had only one student with none waiting in the wings, Bekah's 5th grade year. 

The question has caused me to reflect, along with the fact that I have spent a good deal of time over the past week or so organizing and recording the year's work and Bekah's portfolio in preparation for our annual review.  Add to those things the fact that I always panic ponder at year's end, considering what we have accomplished, what needs improvement, what we are going to do next year. 


 

My challenges this past year...


Well, umthose who remain in our homeschool (ie., the teacher and the only student) areahemdawdlersWhat?  You didn't hear me?  Okay...we're dawdlers.  Yes, dawdlers.  And when both of the people involved are, well, you know...let's just say that neither of us likes to hurry.  Let's just say that our school time can run late in the afternoon.  Let's just say that Ron has arrived home from work on several many occasions to find us still reading or mapping, or the kitchen table still covered with school books and papers.  And a few days ago, Ron asked me if we were not sometimes finished with school by Memorial Day. Well, yes, every. single. year. (Until this one.)

Then there was the mid-year switch to a different track in science.  Because science is not my favorite subject, I often leave it for last in our day's schedule, which means that there were too many days when we didn't get to it at all.  (See preceding paragraph.)  Somewhere along the line, I could see that we had a lot of material left to cover in our Astronomy textbook if we were going to complete it this year.  But I also realized that we had covered many science topics in our study of world geography—landforms, glaciers, earth science, habitats, flora and fauna from every continent—and we had done some some study with birds and with gardening, I decided to record everything as General Science and come back to Astronomy another time. 

 

This year's strengths...


As I look back, they were many. 

For the first time, Bekah was the focus of our homeschool.  Because of the wide age range of my children, I have tended to focus our studies on the older ones' needs, and the youngers have tagged along.  For example, during Kati's last four years of school, we did a comprehensive overview of history.  So while she was learning about the Civil War and reading To Kill a Mockingbird and Up From Slavery and watching Ken Burns' eleven-hour documentary on the Civil War, Bekah was playing with Civil War paper dolls and reading Pink and Say and a biography of Clara Barton.  And when I chose hymns or artists or composers for our Morning Time, I selected ones that Kati had not yet learned.  But this year, Bekah's own needs and interests set the course for our studies.  

It was a year of exciting learning!  As I have told you before, we "traveled the world" one continent at a time.  We have read biographies of missionaries.  We have cooked ethnic meals and eaten in ethnic restaurants.  We have mapped rivers and lakes and mountains and countries.  We have discovered new animals.  We have sung Geography Songs.  We have been fascinated by the West Edmonton Mall (the largest in the world, it even has skating rinks and hotels).  We have learned to recognize world landmarks.  We have listened to music from different countries.  We have watched a video of the Changing of the Guard.  And we have read, read, read. 

Cooking Swedish meatballs


On the arts front, Bekah has continued to make strides in her piano playing.  She has also developed an interest in drama, directing many home and extended family performances, and she was thrilled to attend two local theatrical productions. 

In full costume, playing Irving Berlin's "Sisters" at her spring recital

Although I have named dawdling as one of our challenges, I consider our ability to be flexible as one of our strengths.  We have been able to linger where there was interest (as in our "travels" through Europe), because we are able to adjust our schedule (as in our decision to study Australia during the beginning of the summer when we have usually finished our "formal" studies) to meet the needs and desires of only the two of us. 


Most importantly, as I reflect, I thank the Lord for the privilege of teaching my own, for this time of bonding and spreading the banquet table of learning and pointing her toward Him.  



And I think that these seven years will fly by.


7 comments:

  1. It sounds like you have made an honest assessment of strengths and weakness....Mostly, I'm amazed by the wide range of subject matter and experiences you have provided and shared.

    May God continue to strengthen you and enrich YOU for the coming 7 years. Keep up the great work!

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  2. Beautifully written assessment of your year!

    Every classroom, every teacher has strengths and weaknesses....we are still finishing up our math....but your dear Bekah is growing and learning and delighting in learning. Her work is geared toward her! How I wish every child could learn this way!

    I have taught for 18 years, with 11 years to go...I already know I will miss it, but I am hopeful that I can delight in my grandkids learning!

    Well done, Friend. You have given of yourself to your children and you are blessed!

    Deanna

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  3. Oh yes they will. I always get a little excited when I read that a student's interests dictated the lessons and the amount of time spent on the lesson. The joy of lingering is a delight and never happens in a public school system nor in college for that matter.

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  4. Beautiful assessment indeed. What a blessing.

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  5. This was so sweet. I only had one child and for 13 years I was a teacher. DD was in my class of fourth graders and then I taught her at home for eighth grade. They were precious times that we both remember fondly. This past year she taught her own three at home and they have all thrived as a result...the kids and the parents!

    Kudos to you! 21 years is quite a career!

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  6. I had a terrible time getting my son to do his schoolwork the last couple of years because he was more interested in his computer (I was not surprised when he decided upon computer science as a career).

    That was the reason we decided to have him take his senior year of school at the community college. It not only helped him get the necessary lab science courses but gave him the equally necessary "kick in the pants" to do his work.

    Which is also why I am still amazed he ended up being an award winning science student... who knew? :)

    I'm glad we stuck with homeschooling all those years, though. Don't you often see a difference in the "out of the box" thinking of homeschool kids?

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  7. What I have read here is "Savoring",each and every moment that you and Beka have shared. What better way to travel the world than with a mother and daughter combo!
    If you only knew the admiration and respect that I have for parents, especially mothers who take the time to invest in their children through homeschooling.
    Yes these next seven years will fly, so dear friend continue to linger, and savor each moment,as the dividends will continue to be more than you can imagine. I am sure you have reaped many dividends so far with your other children. I have seen some of these dividends in Kati through reading her blog.You have done a wonderful job!!!!!

    Hugs,
    Sue

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