Saturday, January 19, 2019

HMJ: #homeschoollife

Wow!  Has it really been over a month since I last logged an entry for the Homeschool Mother's Journal!!??  I suppose it is a sign of my life for the last 30+ days and, from what I have seen out in the blog sphere, I am not alone!  So many families had grandiose intentions of homeschooling focus TO the week of Christmas and jumping right in after New Years and then, many, like myself, saw those good plans just sort of slip to the way-side. 


Every December I kick myself for not intentionally scheduling next to ZERO for the curriculum.  And ever January I think we will jump right back in.  After so many years, about the only thing I have learned AND walked out, is to give myself grace in this process.

So, this December, we crammed in the necessities to be done before the second week of the month was out.  And January... well, instead of starting the first week as planned, we started on the 7th with a partial schedule which just switched to full schedule this week.  Brooke had her Sweet 16 in the middle of it all!  More on that in a moment.

The BIG reveal I meant to post last Friday was in the epiphany I had concerning her THREE math classes she had insisted on and my non-math functioning mind!  Over our break I took a lot of time to pray and reconsider our schedule.  Most days this fall she was happy to be done BY 5pm and many of these days I was equally and exhaustively needed until 3 or later.  As my ONLY student now and a Junior in High School, I didn't feel this was acceptable.  I also had to come to terms with the fact that I am just not good at teaching Pre-calculus. 

Thank you Captain Obvious!

I managed Algebra 1 and 2 just fine.  I would read ahead, maybe grab some how-to vids and all-in-all, we managed.  I feel she could have done better than me as a high school teacher, but we fared reasonably well.  Geometry this year would be a cinch except she HATES the tedious work of Proofs, so that has been a challenge, otherwise I could manage that as well. 

But then Pre-calc. 

Concepts I barely grasped in Trig are now, even more so, alluding me in Pre-calc.  I watch the videos and I think I am ready to teach and then.... I'm not.  I've managed to get a problem right by chance... or by momentary understanding... but I can't seem to teach it to her learning ability and we both end up frustrated.  Not to mention all the TIME spent on prepping and teaching which feels wasted inside an endless cycle of mis-understanding.

She doesn't like to learn by videos.
She prefers one-on-one.
She did NOT want to take classes at the college until she is ready to start working on her degree (she insisted she wanted ONE college and ONE college alone... not a bunch of random experiences)


I made the judgment call to stick an ultimatum to her:  either she wait and take Pre-calc with the college next fall in order to get "all her maths in before graduation" OR she follow an online video.  (I considered teaching textbooks but I couldn't afford the fee OR the calculator right now.)  I also found a great Geometry program through Math Is Fun which I also recommended for this year so she could finish Geometry.  I appealed to her heart in letting her know how much I wanted to be able to teach these things but that I didn't feel it was fair to her to not really be 'learning' anything because of my methods.

She pondered, we discussed, and ultimately it was decided to try the college classes in the fall for Pre-Calc and beyond and she is going to look over Math Is Fun for the remainder of Geometry this year!  I could have heard the 'Hallelujah' chorus playing in the background!! 

Technically she can be done with math if she wants.  According to our state requirements, she had to take Algebra and Consumer Math.  She's almost done with CM and Algebra was knocked out freshman year.  According to college entry, 2 years math minimum and 3+ preferred.  She has hit that minimum as well and, if she finishes Geometry, preferred will be managed.  However, she is still convinced she wants to take ALL High School math possible before she collects her Diploma next year!

We also switched Literature curriculum.  I had her reading Charlotte Mason style: REAL living books.  But she has fought me all year on it... missing deadlines, complaining about difficulty, lamenting how she has no time for leisure reading, etc.  Tired of the fight, I spent the tail end of our break using an Abeka World Literature Book I happened to have and integrating it with her existing Grammar Comp program (also Abeka).  I hated to switch gears since I LOVE the living books style and she wasn't a fan of the idea of Literature Textbook.  However, after trucking through our first, and now second, weeks of school.... I am absolutely LOVING our new schedule... and so is she!

We have 3-4 lessons together on any given day and often finish before lunch when we don't get distracted with girl gabbing!  Then, she goes to do her assignments for those lessons along with some other OYO (On Your Own) work.  So far, except for 2 instances where she wasn't making the best use of her time, she has finished BY 3pm every day!!!  Perfect since she very badly wants to get a job ASAP.  Early finish = greater work availability. She is also loving the freedom to read leisure material again.

I felt all of these changes were realistic and appropriate.  As I begin to prepare for new ministry work as well, I am grateful for freed-up afternoons to get some work done!

The break was loooong, and we are just now finding routine again, but some seasons are like that.  The important thing we found: just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually, momentum will build and you are back on top!

Oh, and the Sweet 16?
My mom started a tradition with me of 16 roses for the Sweet 16.  I have carried it on with my girls.  My mother-in-law also wanted her to have Daisies (Brooke and my MIL fave) so I kinda got those (I think they are actually Poms or something like that)

She wanted to start the day by testing for her Permit.  In our state you cannot test without Driver's Ed until 16.  So, she scheduled 9am on the 9th!  She studied like crazy and sailed right through.  Out of all of my kids, she did it the fastest and almost tied her big sister for best score!  She's already making plans for July 9th's official driving test and full-fledged license (per the required 6 month wait)!!

Brooke felt compelled to One Word this year: Perspective.  She asked for a cake of seasons to reflect the constant changing in life and the Perspective necessary to manage each well.
We celebrated with just us on her big day, since weekdays aren't very conducive to big gatherings.  Her brother took her shoe shopping (absolute treat!)

Then, Saturday the 12th, we had her BASH.  She wanted an intimate gathering so didn't invite too many.  She was excited to share "The Resurrection of Gaven Stone" with her friends so we went with a Movie Night theme and, to top it off, she loves Paris.  As a result, the entirety was "Outdoor Movie Night in a Paris Park".  How do you think we did?

She is a phenomenal teen and I am so proud of her.  I can't believe we are finally HERE, at this stage, the rest is going to roll by so fast.  I pray to soak in as much as I can in the process.

Also, I couldn't help but include fave moments (other than the Sweet 16) since I last logged an HMJ entry :

Singing in the Christmas Program with Rush of Fools... such a great bunch of guys!

ALL my kiddos under one roof for Christmas. Highlights were games, Christmas Light walks and doing something fun for others on Christmas Eve.

How has your back-to-school after the holidays been?


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  1. Lovely update!! Glad you found a new schedule and ways to tackle those subjects that are working. Happy Birthday to Brooke! The cake is amazing, and the theme party looks like so much fun. Appreciate you linking up at Homeschool Highlights!

    1. Thank you Kym! And I always appreciate your link-up and the opportunity to "gather" with other homeschool families!