Break is over, Christmas is mostly packed away, just the nativities remain up to remind us of the splendor of the season. Kevin J. is back at Christendom in the final leg of his journey there. We miss him.Alex is home doing some IT training, fencing, helping me homeschool, and discerning his next step.
As every mother knows, getting the homeschooling train up to speed is much easier in the fall than it is in the January re-start. After partying for weeks, we are all tired and sluggish and sleep in much too late. January is dark and cold. Sometimes we're snowed in. Though not much this winter so far. We went into debt to buy good snow tires for each vehicle so naturally, it's been a mild winter. You're welcome.
I have learned not to change course drastically in January, but a few tweaks and fresh checklists help us get going again. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth encouragement and a few new books, our schooling is gathering steam. My hope is that my checklists will keep it so till late spring when all the big events happen. Those little boxes neatly checked off should keep us on track.
(Thus endeth the train metaphors.)
when you're in kindergarten, play dough still counts as school
St. Augustine's Homeschool Enrichment Program is a rigorous liberal arts program our middle and high school children attend twice a week. The students do their assignments, and their math and science, at home the other three days of the school week. St. A. has been such a blessing to our family. We are looking forward to a fabulous and fruitful school year!
Dominic 5th grade
Regina 8th grade
Blaise 10th grade
Monica 12th grade
Since there is no storage or locker space at Old St. Pat's, the St. A. students book bags are hefty, they build strong muscles!
Normally by Labor day I am ready for our school year, down to every detail, even the fall baby years. This year our summer began and ended with my father's serious heart troubles. He had open heart surgery last week and though his recovery is going well, he is still at great risk and won't be home from the hospital for a few days yet.
When one of my parents has a health problem, it isn't just the worry and the need to help them, but the care and medical needs of my two younger sisters must be attended to as well. Summer has been filled with plenty of fun and good stuff, but helping my parents and worrying about them ('cause that is so productive you know) has rather consumed my time.
So... I am not ready. I have most of the books, but few supplies and my tech department is still working on computers for the math programs and writing papers. (I hate a line up for the computer to do math.) I'll get at least a 'start up' week roughed out and hopefully into full swing next week. St. A.'s begins next week and I have learned it's hard to start before that anyway because the kids tend to make a flurry of social plans in their last week of freedom. LOL
End of summer fun: beautiful face painting done at Old St. Pat's Labor Day Festival.
Praying that it all comes together as well as possible and that God blesses us with a fruitful school year. Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
We have not been able to get to a conference in a few years. Kevin and I attended one day of theIHM Michigan conference this year and it was a great motivational boost! I have been schooling for a hundred and sixteen years now and I still have to contain my excitement when I walk into that vendor hall and see tables and tables of books! Best homeschool mom date night ever! We run into many old and new friends.
And the speakers! Many of the speakers are like old friends. Some of them actually are old friends. Every time, I come away with new ideas and inspiration, even if I've heard their talks before. Love these people!
My Saint Augustine's kids are finishing their last finals. My Christendom guys have finals next week. The Advent concert has been sung. Tomorrow is the last play practice of this year. That means Christmas prep can begin in earnest.
They sang the Schubert Mass in G. Hard stuff for teenagers. This is the only schola concert picture I have so far, you can see Blaise in the back. The tall one. :)
We have a schedule for schooling, a schedule for chores, a schedule for
food prep and a schedule for outside activities. They are pretty too,
all color coded. :) I simplified and prioritized. Prayer, school,
food, chores, outside fun/enrichment. Each schedule is working well so
far. The parts come together to make a very nice whole.
Organizing music and loading the schola binders while Regina preps work for the little girls
homemade explorers flash cards for early American history, a group effort
Monica and Regina drew works of art, the rest of us drew stick figures
I miss my big boys so much. I keep thinking those were golden days when they were all young and under my roof. I like the men they have become and I wouldn't want my grown men hanging around not making their own lives. They are finishing their education and formation at an amazing college. The boys and the college have expanded our world. And we are gifted with all new golden days here at home. We are humming along nicely.
Rebecca takes Alex pictures for me so I know he is alive and well :) Occasionally the boys even call!
Our first day at home with only the two little girls was pleasantly productive and quiet. The girls like to linger over a hands-on project and enjoy the details of my homeschool plans. The boys tend to have a more linear, check-the-box approach to school work and we have been boy heavy in our homeschool for a long time. The dynamics are shifting with the predominance of girls learning at home.
(You can see I have not figured out what to do with Lydia's hair as it grows out.)
Regina (7th) is our lone middle schooler this year. At St. Augustine's, the Middle and Lower Schools cover American History in the Modern History year. St. A.'s will also teach Literature, Composition, Taxonomy, Latin and, Schola. This is the grade St. A.'s students transition from one day a week in Lower School to two days a week in Middle School. They've hit the big time. :)
Dominic (5th) will begin Lower School!!!! His St. A.'s year will cover American History (which includes a great deal of literature and geography), Latin, Bible, Life Science (loads of hands-on activities) and, of course, Schola. I think he has had his backpack ready to go for months now!
Dominic is on the young end of the age range for Lower School and still struggles with fluency in his reading. This will be a challenge for us, so he and I will be working closely together to accomplish the work.
Come to think of it, this is Maria's (3rd) curriculum as well. She won't be doing Latin with Dom, and she will be in Seton Math 3 but everything else will be together. Dominic and Maria are nearly at the same level in most areas so grouping them makes sense and neither of them likes to work alone.
Schooling less independent students isn't always very linear. Moms attention gets diverted to a broken washer, a sick child or untangling an insurance problem requiring valuable time on the phone. Although I love my lists and checking the boxes, I do endeavor to let our interests go down a rabbit trail when a child indicates a desire. I have even enjoyed a little deviation from the plans on occasion. My main goal for this year is consistency but to use the inevitable real life distractions as a teaching tool when possible as well. And not to begrudge those rabbit trails. :)