We are nearing the end of another school year–our fifth since Walt and I made the decision to educate Newt at home. Every year has been different, presenting its own particular challenges and triumphs. If I had to sum up this year in one word, that word would be change.
Around this time last year I started feeling like change was on the horizon. Newt was getting older and her needs, both socially and academically were changing. My needs were changing as well.
I felt it was necessary to add in some outside mentoring this year. Let’s be honest, I can only inspire Newt so far. She, quite naturally, has little incentive to push herself beyond her perceived limits for “just her mom.” And the few other leaders from 4H or church were ones that she had had for years. She had grown perhaps a bit too comforable in those relationships. She needed to be challenged.
And for the first time in my life as a mother, I am now trying to balance family and career. I needed to shift some of the homeschooling workload off my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong, the responsibility to ensure Newt is getting a good education is still firmly mine–I just needed to share the work.
It took much of the year, but a couple months ago we finally hit on the right mix and one that I think will carry over nicely to the fall.
For Newt’s at-home curriculum she is using Easy Peasy — All in One Homeschooling. This is a free, online curriculum that incorporates much of the classics-based learning we had enjoyed with Ambleside Online, but in a format that Newt can easily do on her own.
And does she ever. Many mornings lately, she’s been setting her alarm for 6:00 am so she can do all her schoolwork by 9:00. She then has the rest of the day to read, draw, play with her animals, or tell me she is bored. (Working on that.)
For math, she is doing Khan Academy at home, meeting with a weekly tutor, and taking an outside class.
The outside class, that is where the magic is happening. Once a week I drive Newt nearly 50 miles for classes at Village Home, a fabulous homeschool co-op. She is currently taking three classes there: The math class, a sewing/art class, and Hogwarts Academy (which has included potions/real chemistry in a lab, creating a scale architectural floor plan of Hogwarts, and playing Quidditch). They have all been very much worth the time and expense.
In the fall, I plan to register her for eight classes–two full days each week (and am crossing my fingers that I can carpool).
She is being challenged academically and beginning to make new social connections.
I am feeling the relief of not having to plan and execute everything, while still being certain that she is in good hands.
It has been a somewhat tumultuous year, but things are smoothing out. I think we’ve hit on the right combination–at least for now. But that’s the great and terrible thing about homeschooling: Adaptions can always be made because adaptions always need to be made.
I’m excited to see what next year will bring.
P.S. Just a reminder: All of the above refers to our own personal journey and should not be taken as commentary as “the right” way to do things. There is no one right way. It there was, this would be a lot simpler.