Sunday, August 23, 2015

I'm Making an Education Plan--for Myself

Where I live, we need to register as home educators with a willing school and submit a yearly educational plan for each student.

It occurred to me today that I could, and maybe should, make my own educational plan. So, I've begun. :)

I've done lists of goals before although never had anything in place to actually go back and check the goals after a few weeks, much less several months. I haven't decided yet where I'll put this plan, perhaps with my son's plan so that I see it every time I check his plan or perhaps in its own binder.

I make all kinds of goals, from eating healthier to decluttering to things like getting x number of lessons done for my French website. But it's always about accomplishing things and never a plan for just learning things I want to learn.

What have I got on my plan so far?

English Language Arts: Read or listen to at least one novel/book per month. (I have a list of books from our province plus a number of classic books in my bookshelves, books I have yet to read.) I'll be doing a lot with my son's English course, but I do need to have this reading of at least one book per month to stay ahead of him and have things to talk about for our reading workshop "book talks." (Here's one link about book talks.)

French Language Arts: We speak French at home and I have to write emails and such. But I don't ever read in French nor even watch TV or watch movies in French (anymore; when the kids were little, we alternated between watching movies in French and in English) to expand my vocabulary (and even just being used to other accents and regional colloquialisms). I want to read or listen to at least one classic book this year--I'm thinking along the lines of Jules Verne or Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo comes to mind as a good one, especially since I could play it at lunchtime with my son eating with me and it could double for covering both of our education plans). Also, I'm completely unfamiliar with francophone music; my goal is to discover at least one artist/band that I like. (I'm assuming there's got to be something I'll like. My husband has started listening to a band whose music sounds entirely like easy listening/Abba-esque stuff out of the 60s/70s, actually, somewhat like the stuff I find boring on the German station. It just has a certain sound to it that I associate with my childhood--specifically, my friend's grandparents' music. I'd like something more modern.) I do want to put actually reading things--be it online sites or books or what have you--because while I feel my grammar is strong, I'm noticing how other people who didn't used to make mistakes are making mistakes even though their written grammar/spelling used to be top knotch.

German Language Studies: I grew up learning a very limited German vocabulary and hearing my grandfather mutter certain things under his breath. It inspired me to take 3 years of German (one course per year) when I was in university and then I took a semester of conversational German after graduating. But it's been years. And I've been recently inspired to revive this language in my life and even in my family a bit; I've actually been using various little phrases with my family for a few months now, some of them becoming just commonplace and I don't even think it before I say it. My grandfather's first language was German; at least two of his wife's (my grandma's) grandparents had German as their first language. My kids have learned French as part of my husband's heritage as a French Canadian; I wish now I had mastered German better when they were younger and made German more a part of their lives. But I'm babbling. My plan for this is to actually complete a boxed German language learning program I was given several years back. I've started it more than once and never completed it; this year, the goal is to actually do it all. I will also supplement with German radio (either the local program that runs for an hour daily or an online station I can find). I'd also like to see about an online forum where I can have written and/or oral conversations.

Spanish Language Studies: You might be thinking me crazy to be adding a 4th language in here, but my son will be doing an online Spanish course this year. Since he prefers working with me--and as a means of testing him and pushing him a bit to really master it--I'd like to kind of follow what he's doing and learn what he's learning.

This is as far as I've gotten. I've been trying to think about things learned in school or university and just general interests (like in Accepted--what would I want to have as a course?) and not sure what else I'd like to add on. I'm thinking of things like Food Studies--I could learn more recipes for gluten-free cooking. Math? Nah (although I love math). Science? Hm. History--now there's something I could set some goals for. I feel like there's a lot of history that I don't know that I would like to know more about or that would be useful. I'll have to narrow that one down. Music? Maybe. Art? I have Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain kit that I kind of started and never finished; that could be fun. Physical education--that's probably a natural thing with just trying to be healthier, fitter. Health could fit into that (what sort of specific things do I need to learn about health? maybe nutrition). Typing: I never did master the numbers. When I'm going strong with something, I can type upwards of 100 wpm, but not if I have to do numbers and symbols! Religious studies--all kinds of stuff that interest me there. I'm sure Khan Academy has various things I could spend time watching. Perhaps just some time each week for "delighted-directed studies"?

Okay, that's enough thinking for now. Have you ever done up a learning plan for yourself?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Another school year almost here

Maybe you're reading this and you've already started your school year; I know some areas have school years that have begun and some people just follow their own schedule.

Me, I'm so very glad we don't have to start just yet. lol

We've had a busy summer. My husband even commented the other day that other than my daughter and I heading to Orlando for Dance the World, we haven't done anything big (no trips as a family), but we haven't gone more than 2-3 days at a time without having something going on. And it's true. I'm writing this the day my cousin and family have ended their visit with us. I actually have a week ahead of us where there is nothing (yet) going on until the weekend. Well, that and my daughter's work schedule. And while I wanted some calmer times, I kind of feel like, "What? What am I supposed to do with that time?"

I know one thing I will be doing: Figuring out what we'll be doing this year for homeschooling. Well, for the first week or two, at least. ;)

I have a few things kind of figured out. I have vague things figured out. I don't have specifics figured out.

My daughter will be going to high school for her grade 12 year. Yes, I'm now one of those homeschooling mothers who is going, "My baby's first day of school!" And she's 17. That still requires some of my attention since the school has already done something with her course selection and removed from her schedule the course that's the most important to her. And it involves going in with her on registration day to take care of this, that and the other. I'm excited for her, though, because this school just seems awesome, the program kind of a mix of high school and university. I think she'll have a great year.

My son's program is the one I really need to figure out. I admit that it stresses me a bit: we've hit high school credits. And this isn't like in many places in the United States where I get to just decide what is to be done to earn those credits: I have to cover the learning outcomes (and there are a lot of them) as given by our provincial government (and the school we're with has him do a final exam for each core subject). I can decide how we go about them, but that's a large process in itself, especially trying to find interesting resources to learn from rather than just relying on textbooks. Math will still be a text, but everything else... I have some research to do the next few weeks, for sure. All while trying to get things ready to open up my @Home French beginner French course.

We do have the basic subjects worked out (sort of):
*The required courses: English, math, science, social studies, physical education, Career and Life Management (has to be taken at some point during the high school years; figured we'd get it out of the way this year)
*Options (or electives, depending on where you live): music, Spanish, foods (and this will only take up to a month after which point he can continue with the next foods course OR he'll pick one of the othe Career and Technology Studies courses; I have a list somewhere of potential candidates).
*Not for credit: Here and there, add in things like Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens (although, this does kind of fit in with one of the CALM units), logic, religion...

I'm not sure what I've written before and perhaps this is just repeating myself, but it helps me think to write, so I'll write. :D

For English, I'm not taking the usual read-this-and-answer-these-questions approach. I'm going to incorporate what I can of the reading workshop and writing workshop approach. This means mini-lessons on various things, but also just lots of reading and writing without evaluating every single thing. And lots of discussion and sharing. I know a lot of homeschoolers just find things they can have their kids do independently at the high school level, but not only is my son not like that (despite being a huge introvert, he'd much rather work with me or someone else than on his own), I am a trained teacher. I like being "part of the action", so to speak, when it comes to learning. Even with him unschooling, I was finding things, guiding what I could, asking him things... This time, there's specific stuff he has to cover; I don't want to just leave him to it. I'm actually quite looking forward to these next three years, despite the added stress of having to meet someone else's objectives in a way.

And with that... It's just hitting me really hard right now that this will be my daughter's last high school year and iff things go as planned with my son, in twos year from now, I'll be posting my last "Another school year almost here" type of post. (And then, what will I do? lol)