Friday, June 22, 2012

This school year is almost done

Well, the schooling aspect for my two is done. My 14yo is spending lots of time doing art on the computer. Minecraft skins, to be exact--somehow or other, she started making skins that others liked and an increasing number of people have been asking her to make them skins. It's not something she can make money with right now, but it sure is bolstering her idea and faith in herself that she really could develop her talents into something that will provide for her.

My 11yo is doing pretty much as he pleases, which has actually been a lot of reading lately. Thing is, he's back to comic books and has been for sometime. I placed a limit on it: I told him that reading comics was fine, but they didn't help improve his reading level. He added in that it didn't help his writing because then he tended to put in capitals where he wasn't supposed to. (Observant boy!) I agreed with him, so I"ve said that I would just like him to spend some time each day reading a higher level book. He started with Superfudge, managed to lose the book the other day, slipped down to Geronimo Stilton (he had asked if it was okay, I kind of shrugged and said, "Well, it's an easier reading level than Superfudge," so he said he would just read more of it :D) and we still can't find the darn Superfudge. It's here somewhere. And no, he's not hiding it because he asked about just moving onto the next book in the series, but I said it would be better to read them in order.

School is still "in" for the grade 12 student I homeschool. He has a couple more major exams to do, and then he's officially done. He is very ready to be done! His last exam is on the 28th, so the last day we see him (well, on a school basis) will be Wednesday. We'll take a little break from studying to have a mini-party. (Which reminds me that I need to finish figuring out a graduation gift for him! And make him a card!)

I normally have sat down and started working out the next school year by now. I haven't this time. Life has been so busy in so many ways. I can't even keep on top of my email. Sure, I used to let my inbox get cluttered, but this is really a matter of I get about 10-15 minutes on the computer where I take care of my email and that's it. That's not nearly enough!

For my daughter, everything is already in place: she is doing online courses for her first year of high school and has already registered for them: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Phys. Ed., Religion and German. We will be doing a bit of French on the side with some other girls close to her age. That is one thing I do feel guilty about when I look at her schooling: I did not do nearly enough reading and writing work with her in French. It's her first language, after all! Ah well. She's smart enough that if she needs to, or wants to, have a high level later on, she'll be able to do it in no time.

For my son... *blank* Not entirely blank, but in that moment, it was a blank moment. I've had various thoughts about next year.

*Since he's still 11, turning 12 in September, and some of the academic skills aren't "up to snuff" because I unschooled him more than Montessori'ed him (lol), I'm thinking of looking at next year like a year in upper elementary. He doesn't feel to me at the Erdkinder stage, but I know that can change rapidly. I'll have to keep my eye on it. He has lost 5-6 baby teeth in the past couple of months. I've started nicknaming him "Toothless." These are signs of him changing. I'll perhaps have to consider the possibility of mixing a bit of Elementary with a bit of Erdkinder. Or maybe start with a lot of Elementary and gradually work in some Erdkinder principles. We'll see. I'll probably blog more about this over the summer. Right now, I'm thinking of the Great Lessons' focus and the Key Lessons. Of course, I don't have a whole lot of information about the Key Lessons, but I think that's okay. I think I will have to assign myself some Montessori reading this summer to get myself a little better "retrained" and thinking Montessori-style. I will have so much more time to really focus on Montessori this coming fall because the grade 12 student will be gone, as will my 4.5yo niece (off to full-time kindergarten) and the little guy I babysit a couple of times a week. I feel like my kids have been jipped a bit over the past years due to how much time everybody else takes. Although it's not just been that: part of it is their evening activities leave me acting as chauffeur and adding to the things I need to do in a day, weekends are now spent trying to get done all the things around the house and errands that weren't getting done during the week, and I have not had the energy nor the time to plan and prepare the way I have in the past. The joy at the thought of being able to do this with them in the fall--a feeling of "it's never too late"--is now encompassing that sadness and guilt. It isn't too late. :)

Another thing I have to do over the summer is start preparing courses I will be starting in the fall: French (two  completely different levels), a twice-a-month science class for junior high-ish and then art/crafts classes. Yes, I am taking away some time from my schedule with my kids. Sort of. One of the French classes is Monday afternoons for 2 hours. The other French class is Thursday afternoons, when my daughter is already gone to a homeschool set of classes. The advanced French class, my daughter is in with 2 other girls--so, I may be working with her and not with my son, but my focus isn't just on other people. The science classes were something I thought to do as a means to make sure I have my son do hands-on science stuff. So those classes are as much for him as for helping replace my income. And the arts/crafts will be possibly only once a month, and my kids may or may not participate, depending on what the topic is, but I would love to have them decide some of the projects.

As I type this, I find my thoughts slipping into what I've read about Erdkinder--students creating businesses or being involved in businesses. I'm going to have to educate myself better about that level and see how I can perhaps lead both of my kids in this area. My 14yo, I can just kind of see now, could easily lead some art classes of her own, even some computer art workshops or something. I could get both involved in helping with the accounting and organizational aspect of different classes. I find myself chuckling and shaking my head right now because our government likes to talk in the curriculum about how they want to encourage entrepreneurship in students, yet they really do almost nothing to really encourage such a thing. The only thing I can think of is a sort of health course in high school talks briefly about starting your own business as an option of something to do after high school or to do as a career.

Just reminds me that much more of how my heart is in Montessori and while I may stray, I never go away completely. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012


My 14yo has this thing with tests. She wants to do them. She somehow feels like she's not doing what she's supposed to or is not going to be capable of doing them in high school unless she gets a lot of practice.

It came up yesterday. I was reminded that I have been meaning to give her some of the year-end tests done in our province. We haven't done enough of the math yet, but I decided I could give her something from the English test. I found the reading comprehension test from a couple of years back and "surprised" her with it this morning. She's had no practice, no guidance on anything related to taking these kinds of tests. I was curious to see how she would do.

Well, she met the criteria for excellence. Her reaction to seeing how many she had wrong? "It can still be excellence if I have that many wrong?" In her mind, I think, 100%, or almost, is required.

This all goes back, I know, to an inner insecurity that fears that she's not learning as much as others, doesn't know as much, can't do as much. I'm not sure where this stems from. I don't know if she was with others her age and something popped up school related that she didn't know about or if it's just her ingrained perfectionist tendencies (she comes by them honestly!). In any case, having this outside assessment, where the standards of achievement are determined by the government, saying that she's doing just fine... I think it was a good thing. Although she seems a little unconvinced by their determination that her score was excellent. ;)