June thoughts on homeschooling

It’s the second day of official summer, and it’s 47 degrees and raining. I can’t decide if that means it’s still winter, or it’s already next winter.

June is usually when I do much of my school planning. I begin by looking back the year (you can find my thoughts on our specific curriculum choices in the 2018-9 tab above, or on the sidebar). Here’s the bird’s eye view:

What went well:

Phoebe playing Copeland, her cello
  1. We all survived the year. You think I’m kidding, but depression is no joke. I am SO grateful for our mental health team (two good therapists, a responsive doctor and an army of people supporting and praying for us every day).
  2. Music lessons. We have three teachers who are a good match for the three kids, everyone playing an instrument (or two) that they are excited about. A long time ago we decided that playing an instrument would be part of our kids’ education. We knew they’d resent us now for making them practice, or resent us later for letting them quit, so we opted for resentment+music. Today, it feels like we chose well.
  3. Learning testing. It took 9 months, but with the help of a great psychologist, we got a better understanding of P’s learning challenges and how to work with her many strengths.
  4. Poetry tea. (Almost) every Thursday, the girls and I went out to a coffee shop to drink tea and read/write poetry. Two years ago, I never seemed to get around to reading poetry with the kids, but because we pinned it to a little treat, it happened almost every week and man, was it fun!
  5. More ownership of their learning. I could put this in both categories (what worked, and what didn’t) but I think the benefits outweighed the downsides. My sophomore really owned their learning and managed their own time.
  6. Cooking as low-pressure reading. While we do have power struggles over whose turn it is to use the kitchen, following recipes has been a useful (and tasty) tool to show the benefits of careful reading.
Momo made a cake for Jonah’s 19th (!!!) birthday

What didn’t work well:

  1. Time management: This was a year of struggle over screen-time creep. I felt like every time I turned around, the kids “needed” more time on their phones/computers. Some of them did better than others, but it’s something I’m going to have to be more vigilant about next year. Our online classes make limiting this tricky.
  2. I don’t know what to call this. I love watching my older kids grow up and embrace their passions and opportunities, but I still have an eleven year-old who is home. I would love to give her the same warm, fuzzy, everyone-on-the-couch-in-our-pajamas school experience the older kids had, but that’s not what it looks like. And it makes me sad.

All right. I’m off to plan for next year: more counseling, more poetry, more tea, more music, less YouTube, more pajamas.

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