The work from their tutorial program is heavier than the big kids are accustomed to, mostly the writing, which will require help from me at least for a few weeks. Though some of the reading is no cake walk either, even for my bookworms. Kevin is plowing through Physiologus .
Math, grammar and religious instruction are the parents responsibility at home. There is a recommended grammar book, Easy Grammar Plus, so that the writing tutor can reinforce the lessons in class. Since math will only happen three days a week, we will go through the summer to complete the courses. Alex and Monica will be using good, old, reliable Saxon and Kevin will use Teaching Textbooks , (thanks for the tip Elizabeth!)
For their religious instruction, we will celebrate feast days and attend Mass three times a week. We get excellent instruction at Mass from our priest and, of course, the Mass itself. The studies I am anxious to do with them are intense and we will pursue them in the summers: Understanding the Scriptures and Introduction to Catholicism: A Complete Course. Kevin J. is currently using the Church History text from the same publisher and we're thrilled with it.
Last week the three older children began attending classes. They will be attending a homeschool tutorial two days a week, the other three days they will do their assignments at home.
The curriculum is based on the classical model, relying heavily on great literature and Socratic discussion in class. All age levels will be studying the middle ages this year. It encompasses history, geography, literature, writing, science, Latin and scola (choir). They begin the day with Mass.
The program is a good fit for my children and the tutors are excellent, devout Catholics with a passion for the subject they are teaching. Because it is facilitated by a large homeschooling family, they have made it as family friendly as possible. Parents are encouraged to drop in often. There is a toddler/nursing room available. Every accommodation they can reasonably make for an individual student's needs is made.
Monica enjoyed every minute of it. Her class is quite girl heavy. When I was in her class observing on the first day, the tutor instructed the students to take out their colored pencils or crayons to do map work. There was a collective gasp of delight among all the girls at the chance to use their new coloring things.
Kevin and Alex are enjoying the subject matter and already have friends but they still think that wearing a button up shirt and dress pants is going to do them in. I have given them my personal guarantee that it won't kill them. (I'm not sure what the big deal is, they have always dressed up for Mass on Sundays.)
The hardest part for me is getting us all up, the animal chores done, and lunches made early enough to get out the door on time.
We'll all get the hang of it. What an exciting opportunity for the children! How grateful we are that they can have this type of education.
... when you finish sweeping the floors and some big, giant soccer player walks in wearing his cleats and tracks mud all over. Or when you pull a Tupperware out of the cupboard and find it full of little ponies. Or when you reach in the bread basket and pull out a squirt gun. Thats just in the space of five minutes.
One day my house will be orderly, charming, freshly clean all the time. And I will sadly look through my kitchen for signs of children and long for them back.