Friday, September 7, 2018

HMJ: Week 2 Miscellany

Week 2 of the homeschooling year is behind us and as I look back at our Monday-off school week, I can honestly say we are finding our rhythm already!  I didn't expect that blessing until later this month.  Miscellany

School Weeks
We normally have Wednesdays off to spend with hubby (he works weekends) but the Monday holiday threw a wrench in that.  My daughter confessed she did not like doing school 4 days in a row, even though she knew it was necessary.  We both really enjoy that mid-week break!  

Isn't it all technically "Home"work?
With all of Brooke's 'class' choices (and subsequent curriculum) this year (and after week 1) I was beginning to think I would be sitting by her side until well into the afternoon, dishing lessons and waiting for her to complete work.  However, the gears switched this week to a pleasant pace: she asked for "homework".

Go ahead and laugh, we did... homework is all schoolwork when you homeschool!!  But I think you know what I mean.

Most of her friends are public/private schooled.  She finds their homework stories fascinating along with the idea of having a lesson and then taking the corresponding work and completing it later... after other classes on different subjects... on your own!  It's funny the things homeschoolers find interesting! 

To be honest, I was actually relieved when she requested this switch-up.  It means I can 'teach' the things requiring my input and then step back to take care of other daily tidbits while she works on her own on all course work, not just the few self-paced classes she has.  I also feel this is realistic in prepping her for college.  Implementing her request meant I was able to actually stay up on some household chores and my dishes even got washed throughout the day!!!!! AND I am excited to be able to pop on my computer to tippy-tap away at content and newsletter miscellany!  Something I feared I wouldn't have time for once the school year was in full-swing.

So far this new set-up works well for her.  She has only needed me once or twice to clarify directions.  I'm proud of her drive.

Musical Chairs, or simply, changed-up curriculum.
We switched Geometry curriculum halfway through the week.  I think this was the earliest switch-out of material in the history of our homeschooling!

I was really disappointed in the Alpha Omega Geometry pack I purchased in August.  Upon reviews I read, I thought it would be clearer than the Abeka we had used for Algebra 1 and 2, but it wasn't.  Instead I found it to be convoluted and further complicated by multiple trick questions in each lesson.  These trick questions in the midst of trying to learn and understand new material only created unnecessary difficulty.  In my opinion, while trying to grasp new information, it is best to be concise.  Taking twists and turns to challenge understanding should come later when knowledge is more firmly in place so students don't become insecure about their knowledge base when challenges to it's integrity hit without a firm foundation. 

I really wanted to like Alpha Omega, we had so enjoyed their history curriculum before.  However, when my normally advanced student couldn't get above a low-to-mid B (and even got one D) on assignments... I knew something had to be done. Besides, I reasoned, in college you have the opportunity to switch to different instructors (i.e. interpretation of material) or drop classes in the first few weeks of school, so changing ours was not off-base with what she could expect after high school!

I already had Abeka's Geometry on hand.  I had purchased it for Brenden when he hit that stage.  I didn't really get to use it beyond the first few lessons with Brenden, his dyslexia and their word-heavy text didn't jive.  I should have considered that before switching for Brooke.  But now, I can honestly say, I am really liking the Abeka Geometry.  Brooke doesn't have the challenges Brenden did so, as we walk through the text, it is absolutely graspable and enjoyable.  We both like how hands-on it is and have already learned more in 3 days with Abeka than we did in 5 with Alpha Omega.

Math: Just Push Play
We are still on video mode for Pre-Calculus.  I have Alpha Omega for this class as well and it is one of the few math classes I did NOT have in high school so I am not as confident.  Looking through the workbook and realizing how my step-dad's cancer and our subsequent trips to help him this past year have jimmied our learning curve around and made us ill-prepared for this subject - we opted for some review before diving in.

We found Michel van Biezen with ilectureonline. His tutorials (or "lectures" as he calls them) for PreCalculus start with an Algebra 2 review and are extremely helpful.  I do believe we will be more than ready to jump into our text after finishing his first set.  I'm hoping the Alpha Omega PreCalc won't be as complicated as Geometry was (I've run some practice problems in the first workbook and it does seem to be more comprehensible).

Parlez-vous fran├žais?
French has been switched up as well.  Not because of text complications, rather, because teaching from a text when you have not had the language is an uphill trek!  As previously mentioned, Brooke has taken French via Duolingo and Mango for the last two years.  I've played around with the apps to a minor degree.

Brooke's practice has her vocabulary at a higher plane than mine, however, her comprehension and understanding of structure is just as premature as my own.  So we decided to step back from the text for just a bit and submerge ourselves in videos on YouTube in order to flesh out the semantics (Frencheezi, Alexa, and AIB are some of our faves).  We will return to the text when we have a better grasp of pronunciation and structure.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Bring a #2 Pencil - Wait, this is homeschool, that's optional!Brooke took her first big test of the school year this week.  I went easy on her and let her do it open-book.  It was in Geography.  I really like our curriculum in this course(BJU).  I never got to finish it with Brenden and didn't have it for Ashley.  I like the extension projects, since Brooke is a 'workbook please' kind of girl, they really helps us dive deep!

Extra! Extra!
Extracurriculars are swinging into motion:
  • Brooke was accepted on the Serve Team at youth group for another year (like Student Council but for church youth!)
  • She is attending her private school friend's soccer games to show support.
  • Signing up for first aid class, college fair, fall retreat, and a Fall Ball over the course of the next 30 days!
Brenden and Brooke at the Fall Ball last year.
  • She is challenging herself with various technical skill classes on (aka LinkedInLearning) and she has decided to call it "Computer Club"!!
  • We are hoping to start an Arts and Crafts Club as well.
  • We will be going to a fundraising banquet for Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF)/Christian Youth in Action next Friday where she and her summer mission team will be presenting on their work over the last few months.

Some parting thoughts...
I love homeschooling.  There are times when I feel maybe I am not up to snuff on the more advanced teaching in high school.  But then I realize how much God has equipped me to do what He called me to do and how valuable this time is with my kids. 

I'm sure someone out there could teach pre-calculus or composition better than I... but no one can love my daughter the way I do, give her the grace I give her, or understand her the way I do.  I may not always be the most patient mama... but I know a good many teachers in the system who are no better (and some are worse) than me. 

At the end of the day having perfect qualifications isn't what matters most - following what God has called me to do is, and I trust my daughter in His hands more than mine or anyone elses'.

How was your first week of September?  I pray you have a good weekend and a most blessed school week next week!


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