Category Archives: #education

Friday. Finally.

This was the last week for the kids’ homeschooling classes, so it was a busy week finishing up all the homework that was due and/or overdue on the part of one young man in our home. Val finished up everything pretty much on her own. Joel and I had a nice, exhausting day finishing up his work. Not that I did his work for him, mind you, just sat upon him, more or less, to keep him focused and making progress.

Wednesday, the very last day for the year, kept me busy with a used book sale I had organized. It was quite enjoyable, but as usual on Wednesday, I ended the day pretty much used up physically and emotionally.

Yesterday, I started the process of digging out from under all the things I had postponed while trying to finish up the year.

Ho hum. Not too terribly exciting, I know. But things are always hoppin’ around here and I guess I kind of like the idea that I am SUPER BUSY and always have lots of things to accomplish. Because I still have many things to do and ideas to implement and hobbies to start and emails to write and places to go and books to read. I like being busy, but I hate being so busy that I don’t have any time to just hang out and do something I really want to do.

So, I guess the moral is. Busy good, if busy with stuff I want to be busy with. Busy not good, if I’m just having to do a bunch of stuff I do not want to do.

Thank you for listening.

Planning for Next Year

Yes, we will still be homeschooling next year, and I am hoping to have a more active role in teaching the older kids. They have been going to an extension program for all of their classes this year, so I have had little ability or opportunity to be involved with what they have been learning. Next year, they will go to the same program, but for far fewer classes.

I have been enjoying surfing the internet looking at math programs and trying to figure out which one would work best for Val and which would work best for Joel. I don’t think the same program will fill the bill, even though they will both be learning Algebra II next year.

Think I know where that economic stimulus check is going to go — buying curriculum for next year!

Fine Arts Night

Last night, my daughter’s hard work in chorus saw fruition as they performed at the Fine Arts Night program. Students played the violin, piano, electric guitar, harp, flute and several students sang, beautifully. Student artwork was displayed around the room – wow, can some of these students create some beautiful stuff or what. I was proud to be associated with an organization that is dedicated to preserving and displaying beauty in a time when a lot of what we hear and see is not beautiful.

Fussing About Education for THIS Year

Having to post a bit of a rant here. I’m sure I’ve mentioned the AMP (Absent-Minded Professor) here? My 13-year-old son? He has one class, Composition, that he doesn’t really enjoy much. That mystifies me because he truly loves to write. I have TWO kids in this program, and between them they have NINE teachers. THREE of the teachers changed partway through the year. TWO of the teachers are shared by both kids. ONE teacher is shared during the same hour. ONE teacher is shared but on a different day. Got all that? Every teacher has their own method of communicating. Some email the parents AND the students. Some email the parents only. There is no standard method of communication. So, I have NINE teachers to keep track of. Here’s the problem. More than ONE of the AMP’s teachers tells him different things at different times. The AMP does not take notes and never has any written documentation to take back to the teacher to say hey here’s what you said last time.

VickiVonVicki overheard AMP’s composition teacher talking the other day about how AMP isn’t going to make it next year if he doesn’t start engaging with what he’s doing. And AMP’s history teacher told me the other day that AMP is drifting off to sleep during class. AMP says he only looks like he is sleeping but he is actually taking notes, which he showed me today.

My irritation relates to two things: 1. changing assignments, and 2. issues staying unresolved so long that “proof” papers have been discarded or lost.

AMP had a quarterly reading project due at the end of third quarter. The syllabus was unclear and I made him do it the first week of third quarter. At that time, he had a long list of possibilities for the assignment. He did one of the possibilities: “Write a two-page summary of the book.” He turned it in. The teacher gave it back and said it wasn’t due but he could turn it in later. Which he did. Here are the comments on the paper: “AMP, This is a summary of the book, which I don’t need. The assignment was to give me a paper on the themes of the book or the way the character grows throughout the book, in 3-5 pages. I need a new draft, edited and with the changes. It is due in 2 weeks.” On the syllabus, however, here is the assignment: “Write either a prologue, afterward, or alternate ending.” The original full-page list of possibilities, handed out in late December, has been lost or possibly thrown away.

I find sorting all of this out very very confusing and frustrating. The kid did the assignment ages ago; we no longer have the library book obviously; and I think the two weeks is coming up right pronto, but there are no dates to look at.

I like this teacher, but what I’m making up about his attitude toward AMP is that he thinks AMP is a slacker, and should know how to do these things right the first time. His notes often say things like “We went over this in class.” “I already told you this.”

On his last grade report, he says he did not receive a bibliography assignment, and consequently the AMP only received a C+ in the class. He suggested that if AMP could show him the graded bibliography, the grade could be brought up from a zero to whatever he received on the assignment.

AMP is severely challenged to get THIS week’s assignment turned in THIS week. To ask him to come up with something he did or may have done 6 weeks ago is out of the question. This grade does not reflect the abilities or efforts of this child.

And that is my biggest frustration with this program that AMP and VVV have been in this year.

Musing about Educational Options for Next Year

We used to say that we would take each child’s needs into account each year and do whatever was best for each child, educationally. One year, Kids 1-4 were in public school until fourth quarter, when we withdrew ActionJackson. This was when TheLittleGuy was a newborn, but this was clearly the best thing for ActionJackson.

This past year I have had two children VickiVonVicki (age 15) and The Absent-Minded Professor (age 13) in a homeschool co-op type thing, but it’s more like school “light.” They go to class two days a week and then work on assignments the other three days. (Theoretically.) ActionJackson (age 12) and WebkinQueen (age 9) have been home full-time along with TheLittleGuy. There have been both pros and cons, but a RILLY RILLY BIG CON has been all the driving I have had to do.

A typical week had me driving the kids 12 miles Monday morning to their classes, working the morning at a part-time job, then hanging around until 2 to drive VVV and her friends another 9 miles to practice. Drive 9 more miles home, then leave shortly thereafter back to class location to pick up AMP from Spanish. Total Monday driving time: 2 hours. Tuesday total driving time: about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Wednesday: 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Thursday: about 1 1/2 hours unless we had a game in Timbuktu — add an additional 2 hours. Friday: about 1 to 1/2 hours plus another 2-4 (yes, driving) if we had a game. Did you get all that? Let’s add it all up: Some weeks I drove as many as 12-14 hours JUST driving the kids here and there.

After basketball season ended, I began to regain some semblance of sanity, slowly. And I started thinking that maybe it’s not worth it for me to drive the kids to these classes twice a week. Maybe I should actually homeschool them at home. I began to look into Sonlight Curriculum.

What I have loved about their classes is the strong emphasis on a Christian worldview. But I don’t think this has been the very best setting for the AbsentMindedProfessor. He finds the classes relatively boring, and has a very very hard time getting his work done and turned in all in one fell swoop. I have been a super duper micro-manager this year helping him get his work done and into his backpack.

The schedule for next year is finally posted on the internet. There are two locations for this program and we have gone to the northernmost one, even though the other one is much closer to home. This decision was made due to social considerations.

The closer location has a great schedule next year. VVV would get to take a Christian worldview class from a teacher I GREATLY respect, and AMP could take Spanish III at this location (but not the other). Also, the closer location’s meeting days do not conflict with basketball practice days, which would be a great bonus. Another bonus: AMP’s composition class would be taught by another teacher from whom I would LOVE for him to learn. Cons include having to get to know a whole new group of kids, and missing friends from the northern location. Plus, at either location, it is a relatively expensive program.

I’m leaning toward putting them back into the program but at the closer location. I know VVV wants to be home full-time, and AMP wants to go back to the farther location, but I would like to have them closer and go on Tues and Thurs rather than Mon and Wed.

Those are my musings for today. VVV and AMP read my blog — no decisions have been made kids. These are just my thoughts right now.