Tuesday, August 21, 2018

What's New For Our School

I have a confession to make.  I am still planning out our school year.  At first I felt really bad about that, but then the more I thought about it, the more I became okay with it.  It is okay that I don't know exactly what every moment of our school will look like yet this year because I am still thinking it through.  I really feel like God is calling me to do something different with our school this year and that He isn't going to show me exactly what that looks like all at once.
What's New For Our School, A Glimpse of Normal
I think every school year brings us something a little different.  It isn't a bad thing that every year is different for us.  It just means that we are learning what works for us and what doesn't work for us.  Part of this process is praying over our school and then listening for what God is telling us to do with it.  This summer I have really felt God calling me to bring our homeschool back home.  What does that mean?  For many years we have participated in homeschool groups and last year we participated in a co-op.  These are great things and resources, but when I really look at them, they haven't worked for us for the last few years.  The groups and co-ops have given us great opportunities, but they add stress to our school trying to prepare for teaching in them and meeting their schedules.  Also it became tough for us since we do have two completely different grades in our school to make sure that both of my kids were getting everything out of it that they could.  The co-op we were part of last year was great, but required lots of extra behind the scenes work for the classes that my kids took outside of the home and they changed up the program a lot for this year.  So it just doesn't work for us.  This doesn't mean that we won't still take some lessons outside of our home - I still can't teach piano or gymnastics - but it does mean we will take these when they fit in our schedule and work for us.  So bringing our homeschool back home doesn't mean that we won't be out doing activities, field trips, and lessons, it just means that we will make sure these things are purposeful and fit us before we jump into them.

Another change we are making this year is to focus less on the textbooks and more on the learning.  This doesn't mean that we won't be using some textbooks because we do need them for certain subjects.  It means that we will be reading books on specific topics to learn about them, digging deeper for certain subjects, and not just learning the basics, but learning specifics.  We will still study history, science, language arts, and so on.  I am just planning on learning about the topics in these areas a little differently.  I plan to use videos, books, audio books, research, and such to learn about them.  I tried really hard to plan out things like I have in the past using textbooks like I have and it really just felt like I was trying to be too much like a typical school.  It didn't feel right and this year it felt very rigid and stiff.  American History is the history for CJ this year.  I want him to learn about it all from our founding to today.  I plan for him to learn about Christopher Columbus which he could do from a textbook, but will that page long blurb about Columbus be enough for him to know or would he benefit more from reading about Columbus and how he failed several times before he found America and America wasn't even what he was looking for.  Missy wants to learn about Indians this year.  A typical textbook would only teach her about a handful of tribes, but if we look for other resources we could find about every tribe that lived/lives in America.  I just want to dig a little deeper this year and not just cover the surface of subjects.  As I plan this out and figure out more of it, I hope to share more.

A final change for us this year is that we will be focusing more on life skills and trade skills.  CJ is a sophomore this year and Missy is in fifth grade.  We need to be looking ahead and planning for after high school especially for CJ.  We want to begin preparing him for life on his own because eventually he will move out of our home which is such a sad yet happy thing to think about.  Life skills for him means making sure he knows how to cook, basic chores to keep a house clean, how to do laundry, how to sew on buttons, budgeting, planning, and preparing for the future.  Missy is really interested in learning cooking, baking, and sewing right now.  So I want to teach both of them these things so that they are prepared and know how to do them.  These are life skills they need to know and I don't want to send them out of my house not knowing them.  Trade skills are skills my children need to know to work.  They both have expressed some interest in a few different careers so I want them to explore those careers more and see what it takes to get there.  We are looking at some possible internship opportunities for CJ so that he can learn more about the direction he is looking at for his future.  We would love for him to try out what he is thinking about so that he knows if that is what he wants to pursue.  The same is true for Missy too although she is too young for internships right now, but we can still do some career exploration and research.

So while I may not have all my plans down on paper just yet (I am working on it this week), I do have directions I feel led to go in.  I want to truly make our school ours this year, that along with not getting caught in the trap of comparison is my goal this year.  Changes and new are good things and I am excited to see what we will learn this year.
P.S. Our Homeschool Review Crew is hosting a Back to School blog hop this week.  Keep coming back this week for encouragement and ideas.  Check out these blogs along with clicking on the pictures further down for more reading.
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning Annette @ A Net in Time Ashley @ Gift of Chaos Betty @ Let’s Get Real Brenda @ Counting Pinecones Carol @ Home Sweet Life Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

2 comments:

  1. Hands on learning is so much more engaging than textbooks. I agree, life skills are important. Cooking is one of my favorite things to teach because we all enjoy eating what we make.

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  2. Life skills are so important. I plan on taking time each day to focus on something with our teen - cleaning, coooking, banking, etc. Plus it will help me stay focusing on housework. :)

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