This has been such an amazing week 🙂 It seems like forever since I felt this way, although certainly we were getting there last term. This term, however, has been truly wonderful so far. We are always a happier family when we are working hard and even more so if what we are learning is interesting to us all. This post will be a little different to my usual precious moments posts, although it will be littered with photos from our week. I really wanted to document the changes which have been slowly happening since the beginning of the year.
Over the past year T14 has been growing ever more independent and focused on his future, whilst the girls, who have always been so similar, have developed in completely different directions and are now really very, very different from each other. And it has taken this poor mum a few months to catch up, catch on and then have the confidence to change things about.
Over the past year I have tried many different ways to help my children enjoy their learning, from unschooling to project based, to unit studies. In fact I was exhausted by the end of last year from trying so hard and getting nowhere! I took a break over the winter to do some focused praying and bit by bit I can feel the guidance of God nudging me towards certain choices and away from other ones.
This term we have found the perfect balance, and it has meant letting go of a lot of my desires for our homeschool and allowing my children to be in the driving seats of their futures. Basically the children are following their passions with me helping out with resources. Apart from the one hour morning meeting and the half an hour bible study (both of which I will be posting about soon), they have full say in what they do or don’t do. I am blessed with very enthusiastic learners, especially when following their own path. It really is a joy to watch.
Right now, T is spending his time focusing on IGCSEs. Just this week he began his Chemistry IGCSE with Echo Education during his delight led learning. It cost a lot but is well worth it. He knows exactly what he has to do, it is a course chock full of experiments which he loves and is marked by a tutor. He has already finished his first unit and sent off the work to be marked. I have a half hour writing slot which is essential practice for T who finds this so much harder than his sisters. He asked that his writing time was used for answering his Psychology GCSE, instantly making it more meaningful for him. Together we decided that he needed to cover eight maths lessons a week and if he is not on track to do so he must use some of his project based learning time to complete it. During his project based learning time he is completing an electrical project on the teen nook (once it is up), making a bass guitar and he will watch the same Foundations for Teens Christian course as his sister but won’t do any of the work attached to it. The videos are only between 10-20 minutes long and really are excellent. He will also use this time to go mountain biking, which is a great antidote to hormones and prevents him becoming overwhelmed by his academic work. This week has been a fabulous week for him and I am practically completely hands off except for an hour of morning meeting.
My Writer/ Musician and Philosopher
C13 and I have been in huge discussions about which direction she wishes to take her life. I have always struggled a bit with her strengths because they would be my weaknesses and sometimes it is hard figuring out how to help her dreams come true. She is also the child who needs the most freedom yet finds that freedom hard to cope with. I have found that making sure my expectations for her are high is the most effective way to get the best out of her. Last term she completed level one and most of level two of music theory, which has given her a great start in reading music and helped her to see what she can achieve when she works hard and puts her mind to it. This term both she and I are very excited about the resources we have sourced. She literally skips around the house repeating ‘I love my school’, ‘I love my school’!!
C13 will be doing half an hour bible the same as her siblings, followed by 45 minutes of maths. Morning meeting is for the next hour, after which follows all her delight learning.
She is currently finishing off her music theory level two and has done the first four lessons of HereToHelpLearning Write a Six Chapter Book course. This is a curriculum we are reviewing and it is BRILLIANT! C13 enjoys it so much. Once she finishes the Music Theory course, she will begin a Public Speaking course. For her half an hour of writing, she will be finishing Cover Story. In the afternoon she will be focusing her project on African music. I’m not going to share too much more because as part of their project, the girls will be writing fortnightly posts for this blog, the first focusing on details of their individual projects.
C would like to pursue Religious Studies & Philosophy, Drama, Music and English for Alevel. These are tricky for us as homeschoolers to prepare her for, but I think we have cracked it and found a way to help her to be accepted on these courses when she joins a sixth form college. She will be doing Religious Studies GCSE next summer with both her older siblings and the next year she will take both English Language and English Literature IGCSEs. This will hopefully prepare her for the RS & Philosophy Alevel, and English A Level.
We have found out that the equivelent for a GCSE in music is Grade five in two instruments and Grade Five in music theory. The plans is for C13 to continue with her singing (first instrument), begin learning the piano (second instrument) and in a couple of years time take her grade five theory. These three Grade Five certificates should be enough to allow her a place to study A-Level music. Thanks to Leah, her singing teacher, we have sourced teachers who will help her achieve these goals. With regards to Drama, she will be joining the local amateur dramatics who put on plays throughout the year, and by all accounts are very rigorous and expect high things from their youth. Sorted!
L13 is my artistic child. As art GCSE is hard for us to do because of the course work, we will be endeavoring to put together a portfolio of work which will allow her access onto a Level Two Art and Design course at a nearby college. This course, worth four GCSEs, will allow her access to a Level Three extended diploma in Art and Design. This diploma is the equivalent to Alevels and gives her access to study art at university should that option appeal (it doesn’t at the moment). She also wishes to start a small business on Etsy and sell her jewellery creations. She has begun wire wrapping alongside her polymer creations and I can see this is an area of skill for her:
With these goals in mind, we have chosen courses which will help her reach her goals. She will be doing Bible study with her siblings and watching the same video course, 45 minutes of maths and an hour of morning meeting with the rest of the family. The rest of the time will be spent focusing on her goals. We have found three courses which she will do one lesson each off a week. The first course, Drawing with Realism, will hopefully improve her drawing (which she considers her weakest area). The second course is a mixed media course written by a fellow homeschooler and is really fantastic, called Springtime Splendor. I suspect she will thoroughly enjoy this one! The final one is studying the great artists, one which I felt would be a great addition to her portfolio.
During her writing time she will be finishing off Cover Story, after which she will spend the entire afternoon on her project based learning. This term her project will focus on African Jewellery. Again I will not be writing any more about this project as she will writing a post every couple of weeks explaining what she is doing and showing her progress. As far as beginning her Etsy business, we will be asking a blogging friend to mentor her, who has a very successful Etsy shop, in addition to doing a Starting a Micro-business for Teens course (which she has actually pretty much finished).
It looks to be a very busy term for my older children, not to mention a very satisfactory one.