Monday, September 19, 2011

an update from chrysalis academy

*Chrysalis Academy is the name of our little homeschool.

School pictures will come... i think. 
With a couple of weeks under our belts, i figured i'd maybe give a very rough outline of what school looks like for us this year.  It's sure a different sort of year - with my big girl choosing to go online for her grade 10 year. 
It was a funny moment of decision last spring... we got in our van & drove out to meet with the "high school counselor" at our school board.  As we got back in the van after asking questions, taking notes and reviewing some options, we both heaved a sigh, "Well, it's probably pretty obvious what we should do eh, ro?" i said as we pulled away - thinking that it would be a good idea to continue what we're doing - supplementing with the occasional class (in various sciences etc...) as needed. 
"Yeh - i guess it's all online for me next year!  i want my Alberta diploma for sure." she stated confidently. 
i was a little surprised - we had been in the same meeting, and had come out with different conclusions. 
But i looked at my big girl... sitting poised and beautiful in the seat next to me - and felt a supreme comfort in the fact that she knows what she's about.  If she wanted to pursue her traditional diploma this way - who was i to say that wouldn't be best? 
"Well..." i continued - on this new footing, "if you're going online anyway - would you like to just go to school next year?"
"Um, NO!!  Are you trying to get rid of me?" She laughed, "i don't want to deal with all that drama - i just want to do the work at home..."
And she has proved me right, my big girl... owning her school work and creeping up to her brand new computer after our morning bible and prayers (o, and she stays for Mr. Popper's Penguins, our current read-aloud, too i've noticed...) and scanning, printing, typing - problem solving, listening to lectures and answering questions.  It feels strange - not having her answer to me.. i miss her in our discussions... and she does find herself pretty busy.... but she can do this... i know she can.
Then there's my softie girl - entering grade 8 this year.  She asked if she could do a class online this year too - just to see if she likes it.  We chose LA for her - and were pleasantly surprised to find out that her cousin is in her class.  So far so good :)
Sloanie is using Saxon Math, a mish mash for science - (various books to study, starting with one on the human body).  For Social, we're doing it as a group again, we're using the Story of the World volume 3 (continuing on from volume 2 last year) - "Early Modern Times".  It's mostly a reading/ discussion based type approach that we're using, but i like that :)  & the small fry seem to like it too.   We're also reading and discussing poetry (using a children's anthology right now) and our Latin and Greek flash cards -(we use those every year). 
PJ is in grade 6 this year - she's pretty nevous because it's a provincial achievement test year (grades 3, 6 & 9 in our province).  She'll probably use Exambank (online practice tests) - to get comfortable with the procedure.   She's also using Saxon Math this year.  For science, she's using Exploring Creation with Astronomy (i used this last year with Charter & Mollen - & we're still plugging away at it... i liked it so much, Peyton is starting it this year too). For LA, she's using Bob Jones - a new addition to our homeschool this year... so far?  Love it.  (As an aside, i spent $120 on teacher's manuals that i'm pretty sure i'll never, ever use... bummer.  At this age, i think the readers & work books, along with the answer keys are plenty).
Charter is in grade 4 this year, so it's his first year using Saxon.  He used Jump math last year - and the transition to Saxon has been seamless.  Love that.  He's also using Bob Jones for LA.  Their readers (both of the ones we got - for grades 4 & 6) are fantastic.   We're gonna finish up Exploring Creation with Astronomy before hopefully borrowing another from the Young Explorer's series from a friend for him & Mollen to tackle.  We didn't purchase the writing program (which is separate with Bob Jones) - so Peyton and Charter both have to be assigned writing from me daily.  THIS is one website i hope to use to help out with that...
Miss Moo is in grade 2.  She loves reading, so i'm just feeding her books off our shelf right now.  Her LA program is English for the Thoughtful child (volume 2 - she did volume 1 last year) & it's comprehensive enough that i don't think i'll need to supplement it with much of anything.  She's also still using Jump Math.  i was surprised that so many of my friends who have used Jump really didn't like it... it worked really, really well for us - so just goes to show you there are no hard & fast rules with homeschool... there's often trial & error - & unfortunately $$ wasted & curriculum unused.  i'm glad we finally found a primary math program that i really like, since there was never one i loved before (we had tried quite a few: Bob Jones, Mathsmart, Horizons among the first i can think of off the top of my head)... We'll follow this pattern until it no longer works for us: Jump for grades 1-3, Saxon for grades 4-9 & then online for whoever wants to attend University :) hehe. 
Then there are the little boys... Gagey is only 3, so he still doesn't have too much of an attention span.  He has fun playing, learning - a little starfall, a little letter of the week  :)... i'm trying to teach him & Ephraim to sit still during our morning bible time... So far... with extremely limited success.
Ephraim.  We are hoping that he will attend the University of Potty Training this year.  i'm not holding my breath, but wouldn't that be awesome?

Add to this bubbling stew - violin, various sports and recreation, volunteering and friends - and there you go, a rough outline of our school year 2011/2012. 
Mostly, the above is just gravy... the heart and soul of homeschooling remains the same as it has ever been since the beginning for me... i want to build relationships; relationships with my children, relationships among my children, relationships between my children and my Father... 
& it right now - Chrysalis Academy - is the best place for us to do that.


Andrea Leder said...

I can't tell you how relieved I was to read that you'll never use your teacher's manuals for BJU. I bought the reading and the writing and grammar for all the kids and I think I have more books than they do!! An entire shelf of massive, coil bound books that made me cry during my first week :( Thanks for this post. I feel a little awkward asking everyone what they use but find it so helpful as I make my own decisions. I still have a print out of your 'our day' post. I'm feeding off of yours and Jess' experience!!

Lisa said...

how do you find the time? Ugh, i'm struggling with getting the basics done, and our out of house stuff and chores. I guess its just gonna take some time to get used to things and get a routine going. We are so going for coffee after my mom leaves!!! lol

paige said...

Andrea - aren't those binders insane??!! i couldn't believe it when i saw them :P What a waste.

Lisa - we don't have that much out of house stuff - & violin is nice & close. We start at 8am - & are done our bible, history, latin, poetry, prayer etc... all by 9am. Sloan & Cai are pretty independent, so that leaves me with Pey, Charts & Mollen to juggle. It certainly feels like it's getting easier as my students are getting bigger! Ephraim & Gagey are a couple of monkeys & they're probably my biggest challenge at the moment, but they make up for it in cuteness.

Sara L said...

oh I loved hearing all this! I too hated Jump math. But... I think it totally depends on the learning style of the student. My eldest caused me to hate it, while my next one flew through it and did great with it. But I was soured... no more jump for me. We've moved to Teaching Textbooks (so far.. love love *love* it!!)for my busy son and Saxon math for my keener. We're doing Writing Tales which I also love. And New Practice Readers for science/readers. Um, oh, and we're doing astronamy too, same book! Do you do the work book also? Maybe you said... We're working on Story of the World, ancient history. You can get the CD's of the book from the library, and we listen to them in the van. Cheating, I know :) But we're doing a few other things along with that too. A bit more to tell... children bickering, must run.

Mindy said...

I finally got around to reading this - I'm a little bit behind. It's so interesting to read about what other homeschoolers do...thanks for sharing a glimpse into your world. I bought "Exploring Creation with Anatomy" this year, and we'll hit it the first time on Friday, but it looks like it'll be fun. I wish you & your brood a wonderful year of school!


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