The school year is officially finished. Today, I turned in the evaluations for Rachel and Emily and the required 5th grade testing scores for Rachel. They did well.
I don't know about you, but at the end of every school year I like to take some time to review how the year went and to spend time planning for next year.
This year was a weird year to me - it seemed so often like we weren't working as diligently as we should and yet the kids learned and grew both academically and spiritually.
Sarah, had been struggling with her reading and was getting frustrated. So we set it aside for a time. I know that may be shocking to many of you but in my 16 years of experience teaching my children, I have found that it works! By the end of the year it was all starting to come together for her. She was bored with her math this last year, so we are going to try Teaching Textbooks for her this next school year. She also wanted to improve her drawing skills and so she worked at it, asking Lindsay for help now and then, and we all could see a big improvement!
Rachel, who reads so well, struggles with her math, but I got smart this year and set aside what she had been using and tried a different workbook with more variety and then also did Teaching Textbooks for her and she started to take off! Why is it that we cling to the old thing that is not working? Lesson relearned for me!
She also grew in her ability to work on her own. This is a wonderful thing for students!
Emily doesn't love academics but before this past year started she realized that she hadn't been trying very hard and wanted to stretch herself this year, and she did! Biology, Advanced Literary Analysis, British Literature...this on top of doing some intermediate level sewing, creating Fraktur art, and working a summer/autumn job at a local adventure farm.
The longer I home educate my children, the less curriculum I use. Oh, I use a math curriculum and science books as well, but for real learning of history, and language arts and government etc., I use real books - living books. Ones that have been written by someone who loves the subject they are writing about. Books that can capture my children's attention and get them thinking. Then we do a lot of discussion, and processing and relating the information to our lives.
I believe this teaches them more than anything how to be life long learners.
This next year, I will be starting Kyle on a bit of formal education and am now responsible for Sarah to the state. But we will continue to learn together as we have always done. Always our goal is that of discipling our children, to love the Lord and to walk with Him always.
What a terrible thing it would be if we taught academics and college preparation and yet the hearts of our children were far from the Lord! So as this next year of learning starts, I hope to encourage you to focus on the eternal things, gain the hearts of your children first and foremost. The rest will all fall into place.