Summer School

Not a week goes by without someone asking about online support for homeschooling high school — where are all the conversations we used to have back when the kids were younger?

I suspect they are happening in our own minds as we drive to endless rounds of activities — even my relatively antisocial teen seems to spend a surprising amount of time socializing, yet she still can’t drive.

We took a lot of time off of various studies during the fall and winter, and then the spring was so snowy and gray it took all of our energy to stay alive and not go Hunger Games on each other, so a little bit of summer study here and there is in order.

Violet has started precalculus, so that when theater and other things get too hectic she feels free to take some time off. She’s using Thinkwell — our first time using Thinkwell for math — and generally finds Ed Berger entertaining.

I have been sitting with her and knitting for most of the lectures and problem-solving — and I admit every once in a while I get too excited and say “but couldn’t you do it like this?” and grab a pencil and solve part of a problem myself. Let’s call that modeling enthusiasm and collaborative effort, shall we? Anyway, after last fall didn’t go so well I realized that it’s important not to mix up independence and isolation. So I sit in a comfy chair near the laptop and knit and check in periodically, and the whole process of catching up with math feels much warmer. Also, I really like watching her solve problems — as much as she doesn’t like math, she is pretty fluent with it, and I imagine even artistic unschoolish 14yos need an experience of feeling competent, logical, and rational at least once a day.

She’s also working on Chinese and drawing drawing drawing, and I keep trying to slip her new books so she isn’t *always* reading something she read three years ago.

Victoria, now 10, blew my mind last week when she told me she would be worried about going back to school because she thought she was “slow” and didn’t know as much as other kids. Lori Pickert touched on this aspect of homeschooling in a recent blog post, as if she had been reading V’s mind.

I really didn’t know how to respond to this. I don’t like to make a big deal out of test scores with the kids, but — girl, have you seen your test scores?!?! In any case we are keeping up with Singapore math and some history reading. We ditched the Sonlight history readings about the world wars — the light really seemed to go out of her eyes as we read day after day about trenches and fronts and artillery. I know some kids really dig that, but it was turning her off after many years of loving our history reading time, so I set the Usborne World Wars book aside.

We’re trying to get in the habit of compacting all this into two hours or less, so we have lots of time to enjoy the sunshine. Luckily (?). there hasn’t been a lot of sunshine so we’ve been able to approach that goal gradually. Then again, if there were more sunshine maybe I could get the kids to get up and dressed before noon.

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3 Comments

Filed under education, gifted education, homeschooling high school, Unschoolish

3 responses to “Summer School

  1. dude, i’m a mind reader!!!

  2. Linda

    I know what you mean about homeschooling high school. When we started homeschooling in 1st grade seems like all my homeschooling friends had tons of advice and pearls of wisdom to share with me. Now that we are beginning some high school courses (through http://www.time4learning.com/homeschool/high_school.html#high) fewer and fewer people are sharing their wisdom. I’m sure it is because some portion of homeschooled elementary and middle school students return to school for high school. I will tell you that I love the idea of being near my young teenager but not hovering in the chair next to her. Over the summer I have been canning quite a bit, and I can see her computer screen from the kitchen. I can glance in her, walk by to add clarification without hovering. By the time they are teenagers they need the independence, but they don’t need to be abandoned. Thanks for sharing that you sit nearby and knit, I might take that up as summer turns to fall and the chores of summer slow down! Hope homeschooling goes well for you and your family this year!

    • shaun

      Thanks — best wishes to you too! We have already canned our small crop of currants, as jelly, and that may be it for us. Homeschooling high school is a little more of a lonely path, but my older DD is so determined that I think we will be sticking to it.

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