Joining the guilt-free learning notes linkup, because the longer I go without doing any reflecting whatsoever, the less fun I am to be around.
I’m not feeling too bad yet about how our school year is going, even though there are indicators that would seem to point towards a terminal case of mis-organization. I continue to simply forget entirely about entire books that are supposed to be part of the daily – or, at least, once-weekly – routine around here. We’ve had our share of craziness in the past few months and so I blame that vaguely ominous-sounding but really-mostly-fine situation, as it were, for my System Amnesia. I actually have an awesome new approach to not forgetting things, and it’s called the Bullet Journal, and I bought a lot of washi tape to make sure it sticks, HAHAHA ADHESIVE HUMOR NEVER FAILS, so there’s that.
We are doing some ambitious things this year, but mostly so that I can set the standards high enough to give myself room for when we don’t meet them. I’ve decided to just stick the kids at least a grade ahead in almost every subject we’re studying, as long as I don’t observe any genuine stress over this decision.
Really, Wordly Wise Grade 8 is not any more tedious than Wordly Wise Grade 7. It’s just slightly harder words. No more work. I define “geniuine stress over this decision” as follows: if the fit you are pitching is significantly worse than your standard I-don’t-want-to-do-that-assignment fit, I will consider whether it is something about the subject matter itself rather than an issue of leaving math for after lunchtime (for example).
AND…if the child is working ahead of grade level, and it’s a two-migraine week, Mom does not have to feel quite so bad about getting behind, because we are still ahead, so to speak.
I dislike the idea that as children mature intellectually to the point where they can engage in more complex subject matter, it requires an exponential growth in homework/projects/tasks. (I have learned from one of my summer partial-reads that this thing I just described is a logarithmic scale. My 9th grade teacher taught us logarithms backwards and I’ve feared them since that day.)
Anyway – you know what I mean, if you have a middle schooler. Now that we’re in pre-AP honors college-bound US history instead of your basic advanced honors pre-college-bound pre-pre-AP history, we write three times the number of reports to guarantee three times the amount of learning, because the trek to college starts now and probably already started and you’re probably already behind.
I just refuse. I can’t even with this.
At the same time, it is very important to me and to my husband that our children not miss out on opportunities as a result of our choosing to homeschool them.
What?! That makes no sense. That is completely not achievable. Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something. Homeschooling is about opting out, and opting out means missed opportunities.
Okay, yeah, that’s true, Italics Voice. Homeschooling is a choice, and every choice means a road not taken, and I HOPE YOU RECOGNIZE THAT LITERARY ALLUSION BECAUSE THIS WILL BE ON THE SAT AND MAKE SURE TO ATTEND AT LEAST NINE OF ELEVEN SATURDAY AFTERNOON PRE-PREP PSAT-PREP TREE-SAP-STREP CLASSES IN ORDER TO RECEIVE FULL CREDIT.
It drives me crazy, how much pressure we put on kids. So we’re trying – hope we succeed – this grand experiment to see if we can achieve similar outcomes with a different sort of lifestyle. Schoolwork that takes up a few hours of the day instead of 12 hours a day, and room for other stuff.
Now, the news that I’m not forcing the children to participate in any activities or putting pressure on them will come as a shock to the actual children, who are being forced to participate in several academic competitions this year. More on that later, maybe. Short version: the competitions keep me honest about these goals we’re supposedly setting, and preparing for the competitions is something we do instead of workbooks, etc., and not in addition to workbooks, etc., and we try not to spend too much time on them, and besides, wouldn’t you want to build a trebuchet, if you could? That kind of thing will never happen, in this family, without an external deadline and an entry fee.
So – there’s that, my first attempt in a while to make sense about homeschooling. Thanks for the link-up, Melanie!