Back at it!

After our first “vacation” last week for Oldest Child’s birthday, we are now starting week 6 of the school year. We have, of course, changed gears for both math and language arts–because after 7+ years of homeschooling, I cannot possibly be expected to choose curriculum that will actually work for us. That’d be outrageous!

So yes. We switched math programs for the 8th grader on day . . . 2? . . . and then decided that it’s high time this writer mama take the reins and “create” a language arts program that suits us. We’ve never used a language arts curriculum for more than a single year before switching to something else, though there have been times we’ve gone back to one that was abandoned for Oldest Child in order to try it out for Younger Child. I knew when I was 8 years old that I wanted to be a writer and both of these little chickies are following in my footsteps, writing their own short stories and books, so constantly forcing them to underline predicates was slowly chipping away at their interest. Or not so slowly, as it were.

Alas. We jumped ship. We’re using more of a “writer’s workshop” style, with weekly writing assignments of varying types (week 1: pick a style of poetry, week 2: non-fiction writing, week 3: creative writing, week 4: back to non-fiction). Both kids were a little nervous about it, but so far they have risen to the challenge and done beautifully. Seeing them excited about what they’re working on and applying themselves to improving their work has been rewarding enough to make the trouble of buying and then selling unused curriculum well worth it.

We’ve also instituted Documentary Day on Fridays, which traditionally we take off from “sit down” schoolwork. The kids each have to pick a science and/or history documentary or program to watch–and that freedom has led to exploring interests they didn’t even know they had! I’m loving it because it makes our days off still feel at least somewhat educational.

I don’t know how it can possibly be week 6 already, but I have a feeling this bizarro year is going to fly by. Here’s to enjoying new adventures, exploring new interests, and embracing the freedom that we’ve stumbled upon this year!

The World Turned Upside Down

If you’re singing Hamilton now, you’re welcome.

It’s been a long time since I last blogged, but since 2020 has lasted approximately 750 years so far, I hope you’ll forgive my absence. Uh, we’ll just ignore the 10 months of 2019 that I also missed, because life happens. Anyway. Everything shut down here in NY by mid-March, and we finished up our school year and annual testing by the middle of April. You’d think that having 6,000 extra hours of free time each week would have led us to get started on the new school year like we usually do, but alas . . . not so much. Turns out it’s easier to chill and watch Netflix and let the kids play Minecraft for 3 hours every afternoon while they chat with their friends, because then you don’t feel quite so bad about them missing out on all of a homeschooler’s usual social opportunities. While we feel super fortunate to have already been in a position that our “daily life” didn’t change too much when things closed down, every homeschool blog in the universe has already explained how we’re always out and about with field trips and classes and co-ops, etc. So . . . it’s been weird.

For anyone new joining the magical world of homeschooling for the 2020-2021 school year, welcome! I’m sure things are going to be . . . well, weird . . . for everyone this coming year, but I’m looking forward to it! My kids are starting 5th and 8th grade, which were the beginning and end of middle school for me growing up, so it feels like an interesting year. And I’m already exploring a ton of interesting curriculum options for high school NEXT year, mostly to distract myself from figuring out WTF we’re doing this coming year. And yes, I’ve already bought all of our curriculum and planned to start the new year at least 17 times already, but if you haven’t figured it out from my other posts, that all means nothing. The important thing is, I have my trusty planner at the ready and have updated my color-coded schedule spreadsheet so that we can promptly ignore it as soon as we get started.

Got any questions about homeschooling? Pandemic schooling? Tolerating 3 hours of Minecraft with children on speaker-phone in the next room? Drop me a comment and I’ll answer them in the next post. Which will not be almost 18 months from now, I promise. Here’s Juno begging you to throw me a bone, here.

Juno peep