Monday, October 7, 2013

Homeschool So Far

Since it's been a month I thought I'd give an update on how it's going with Mary. In a word: WONDERFUL. Maybe that's because my expectations were low; I thought the attitude/performance/disposition would be the same as with public school except that I could help control her failing grades. However, it has been so, so, so much better than that in every respect. Really, I can't even talk about it without gushing and raving about what a dedicated, creative, pleasant 8th-grader Mary is and how much I enjoy learning along with her.

Her homeschool box.

We generally start school around 11:00 a.m. because as you know, the girl likes to sleep. That gives me time to run errands and get myself ready for the day so it works out fine. She has 7 subjects: English, Latin, Physical Science, World Geography, Math, Life Skills (which is our on-site home ec: laundry, cooking, organizing, etc., as well as a myriad of other topics such as social pleasantries and child care), and Personal Development (which includes reading the scriptures because, hey, if I get to choose what's important then this tops my list).

She comes down in her pjs wrapped in a blanket and plonks down on the couch. We go over the agenda. She nearly always chooses to start with the scriptures so the two of us take turns reading and discussing, which has been a lovely way to start the school day. After that she has been happy to start in on her mythology unit or today, Latin, because we got to borrow some great textbooks. We were both energized by that!

We owned the bottom book on the left (Wheelock's Latin) but get to borrow the accompanying workbook, and a very student-friendly text, Cambridge Latin Course, which is amazing. So grateful to my generous friend Jen for letting us use them.

Mary told me, "I hope you know, and I know this will take longer than a year, but when I'm fluent in Latin that's all I'm going to speak."

She reads Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" on her own and does her assignments; for example, she wrote a poem on one of the chapters and wrote a letter from Psyche to her sister regarding her relationship to Cupid. She is studying Jason and the Golden Fleece this week with the aid of some resources on and has a project due next week. She loves to make charts and have me quiz her. 

She does a spelling pre-test, notecards, and test every week and to my great surprise, she submits to that and she seems to really enjoy it. She does grammar exercises online but she doesn't care for that at all!

When it comes to science, math, and geography she's very good-natured but not passionate. At least not at this point but I think geography is going to get interesting. She's got a great black-market text from National Geographic (they ONLY sell to schools, not homeschoolers) and she's looking forward to making folders for every continent. You probably won't be shocked to know that the first continent she wants to cover is Antarctica. That's right, the one with no humans--just animals. 

She works for four or five hours a day, often ending before the twins get home from elementary school. I asked her today if she missed going to public school. " Not at all," was her reply. 

Truth be told, I thought that having her home would be a tremendous sacrifice for me. I didn't dread losing my free time but I was keenly aware of it, I'll admit. With four not-close-in-age kids I waited a lot of years to finally get a break, you know. However, I am so pleased to be wrong about it being painful. In fact, my time with her is truly my favorite part of my whole day. She is funny, interesting, kind, and sweet and I'm rediscovering that; for a very long time our interactions were mainly sour and unpleasant. What a gift it is to recapture that relationship at age 13, when her world is changing and she could have so easily slipped away. Have you ever felt that wave of giddiness and joy when you look at your child? It feels like falling in love. I felt that for each of my babies but I'm getting to experience it again as I get to know my beautiful, talented, teen-age daughter, Mary.

And her work is outstanding--she has straight As, no lie. She's earned it.

So that is how homeschooling is going so far.


The Hardy's said...

Oh I am so Glad and Happy for you and Mare! You are Super-Mom in my book. I'm thinking I might want you to homeschool my kiddos when they reach her age. LOL

Rebecca and Co. said...

Aw, Kim, you are too sweet. I'm no supermom, that's for sure. I just have a great daughter who makes this look easy. :)I'm sure your boys would be a dream to teach. My boys...well, I'm not ready to go down that road yet. Ha.

Silver Strands said...

WOW. What a great report! But was it so hard for you to set everything up? I admit to being envious - what sweet moments you must have. And I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Mary becomes fluent in Latin :)