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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

2017-2018 School Year

A few weeks ago the children started school again.  We didn't get a really long summer break this year because of that whole William-being-born-living-in-America-for-three-months thing, but between packing, traveling, and getting over jet lag, we got about six weeks which was enough.

Or it will have to be enough because this year we have to (again) school hard and school fast.  We'll most likely be leaving at the beginning of May, which means that I have just a little over seven months to squeeze an entire school year of learning in.  This isn't a problem for some subjects (grammar, reading, math, spelling, Latin) because they have ongoing lessons that aren't tied to a specific grade level or can easily be doubled up.  But it is a big problem for other subjects (science, history, writing), because there a set number of lessons that have to be finished, especially in the case of history.  Because if you don't make it to the end of one book, the beginning of the next isn't going to make much sense.

So this means that there's going to be a reasonable amount of doubling up lessons.  It turns out that I have an annoying conscience about completing schoolwork.  Leaving subject matter unfinished gives me secret anxiety attacks about that little gap in their knowledge that will make them miss just enough questions on some test that will then lead to not getting in to college, etc, etc, etc.  I know that's not really going to happen, but it doesn't keep me from feeling that it just maybe one day might be a problem so we'd better make extra sure.  I think that maybe homeschooling is more stressful than traditional schooling because every gap in your child's ability and knowledge is 100% your fault.  Excuse me for a second while I go get a paper bag.

So, this school year.

Kathleen is in sixth grade.  If she were going to school in North Carolina, where I grew up, that would be middle school.  I am so glad she's not in middle school.  Not for her, but for me.

This year she is continuing science, writing, vocabulary, math, logic, Latin, Russian, handwriting, piano, singing, history, and grammar.  And new (because sixth grade means electives! That I choose!) is music theory and video editing.  I'm finally getting to the fun part of homeschooling, where you get to make your own curriculum.  Kathleen is really excited about video editing, and has a teacher that will be working with her remotely.  Yeah for the internet!

This year I'm trying something new - that first child is always the guinea pig - and I've signed her up for three courses online through the Well-Trained Mind Academy.  We'll see how they go.  If anything, they will move some of the burden off my shoulders and get her used to the idea of having someone else grade her work.  I'm just afraid that they will be less strict than I am.  There was already some breathless reports of getting graded on only completion.  Heresy.

Sophia is in fourth grade.  I remember when that was so old.  She is doing pretty much everything that Kathleen is doing, minus music theory.  Almost everything she does (excepting grammar, some writing, and some spelling) is done independently.  I check her work every morning and go over corrections with her, but she's in charge of getting the rest done.  And I have to add, Ritalin is the best thing ever.  It has made all of the difference in the world for Sophia.

Edwin is in second grade.  He still does most of his work with me, completing math, history, spelling, and writing worksheets independently.  It's great to see the difference between his ability at the beginning of this school year versus last school year.  Last year he could hardly write a sentence independently and now he writes pages-long stories in his free time.

Joseph is in kindergarten.  He's working on learning how to read, about halfway done.  I don't start anything other than reading until first grade, something that Joseph is quite happy with.  More time for him to play.

And Eleanor and William are in independent play preschool.  They are working on keeping themselves entertained and out of my hair while I'm schooling.  William does a better job than Eleanor as he is asleep more than she is.  Right about the time they have mastered this skill, they'll have to start school.  But not yet.

And that is our school year.  Sometimes I daydream about the eventual time when I won't have babies underfoot and most of my children are running their own school independently and I'll be able to get back to some of the things I enjoyed doing before I started the full-time job as mom/teacher/cook/household manager.  That time, however, is a long long way away.  And plus, I don't have any free time for daydreaming.

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