Still Enjoying summer; Pondering Fall.

Even though I’m still enjoying  summer with my boys, I know the weeks are flying by and I must begin thinking about our fall schedule.  I’m resisting though,  because I want to   have  experienced an old fashioned summer break before I do my planning.  We have not taken a vacation like so many families do because of lack of funds, and  we’ve only gone to the beach once.  We have had quite a few swim days though, and have been enjoying having friends over for lunch and summer fun.

Each year  I write up a “schedule”,  and post it on our bulletin board. Perhaps  I should call it a routine,  to be more accurate, but we  refer to it during the day in order to stay on task. Eventually, we settle into a groove and this  plan becomes the new “normal”  for our days,  and we do not need to refer to it as much.

This summer as I contemplate the next school year,  I can tell I’m changing a bit.  I’m not sure if it is because I am getting older,  or because my boys are growing so fast, but I’m re-thinking my homeschooling goals.

I’m really enjoying this season of our lives,  and my boys are such a delight for my husband and I.  I know that times could get harder,  and I won’t be smug,  because the teen years often bring new challenges for parents,   but 10 and 12 have sure been  a pleasure for us.  My boys are changing, becoming more self-governed and independent,  but are still so sweet and kind…funny and pleasant to be with.  We feel so blessed. I don’t want these days to end.

Since we began homeschooling 8 years ago,  we’ve been fairly consistent and attentive to finishing our books.  We’ve gone through all the A Beka history books so far, finished most of our math pages, completed several grammar programs, completed a few worldview courses and read a fair amount of books.  We did not have a grueling schedule for sure, and compared to a classical program, we probably did not accomplish as much….but for us…for our family we completed our goals for the most part.

This next year, I want to  spend less time on the books and focus  on practical life skills, training,  and just enjoying family life together before it slips away.  My oldest will be taking highschool subjects in a few years,  and I’m realizing that the years of childhood fun are leaving.  In a way, I want to extend some of those years and I have chosen this next year to do this.

For our family homeschooling has become a lifestyle and we really do learn new things every day together. We all love history, politics, and theology and talk about these things around the dinner table each night.  We are passionate about these subjects so learning comes naturally to us all. Because of this, the learning will continue, but some of the books will wait until the next school year.

We will continue our math program, Teaching Textbooks.  Math has been a struggle for my oldest son…and for me too.  Teaching textbooks has been an answer to our prayers because every single problem has a solution we can view on the computer.  We can watch the explanation as many times as we need to in order to understand the concept. I love this program and am happy to begin math again.

We are going to begin Andrew Pudewa’s program, “Institute for Excellence in Writing.” I’m excited about this because we can all learn to write together, and we have even invited another family to join us.  I’ve been praying about  another family  joining us because our family tends to try harder when we have some accountability.  We will be more diligent in completing our  writing projects if we know we will have to read them aloud to other students. Many of our friends are enrolled in expensive writing classes,  or they are in public school at home programs,  and they do not have a need to co-op with another family for writing.  We are blessed to have found such a nice family to learn with.

I’m really excited about our new piano teacher.  He is a music student, who is a devoted Christian and is teaching for a very low fee.  He’s been classically trained for many years and is a serious teacher and member of the music associations.  We had to quit piano a few years ago,  because it just got too expensive for our family.  Now, because of this music students generosity the doors are open for us again!  Yippee!

So far this is all I know for sure about our subjects for this next year. I’m considering a hands on type of geography program, and/ or   a computer learning program.  We began Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science last year,  and we may continue to  work through this program.

What I want to spend time on next year cannot be found in any of our hundreds of books.  Next year I want to:

Play more board games….like Scrabble with my family.

Start the morning going for a walk or bike ride.

Learn to mow and edge, and care for our yard and garden.

Clean and organize the garage and set up a workbench.

Go visit our local nursing homes and minister to the old folks

Work through the Contenders of the faith books with Dad and complete many of the skill building projects.

Take more time to listen, talk, laugh, chase, and enjoy…every day.

Paint our bathroom.

Rip up the carpet in the boys room and put down wood.

Read Created For Work & Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Shultz

Learn how to use synthesizers and computer to compose music with Dad

Build a small deck in our yard with Dad.

Learn some car maintenance and repair with Dad.

Begin using our grain mill again and make bread from scratch.

Focus on making memories and be willing to leave our schedule behind in order to go on an outing, practice hospitality, or play a game.

Go bowling, play tennis, basketball, and other physical activities knowing that physical exercise is of value.

This is what I have in mind so far and am praying about. Our world is insecure and changing so rapidly….this life seems so short and when you are homeschooling you realize that there are not enough years to teach everything.   I’m praying still and listening to the Lord, because I want to be in the center of His will.  Perhaps he has put all of this on my heart, or maybe it’s just me, so I’ll keep walking by faith, hoping this is the right direction for our family.

I’m delighted that my dear  husband is in agreement with my thoughts for next year and He said he will work with the boys on many of these projects.  I’m so grateful to have such a good hands on Dad to travel this homeschool journey with me.  Well, that’s all for now, I’m going to get back to summer and  pray and ponder along the way. Thanks for reading the ramblings of a homeschool mom.  ~Anne

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