A Brief Gnome Moment …

Time to put on your foil hats, everyone! I’m planning for school for next year. How is it that I’m homeschooling an 8th grader, 2-7th graders and a 1st grader? Why, oh why, can’t I just be normal and send them to school like everyone else? I’m thinking my use of “normal” in the previous sentence is enough of an explanation. The older I get, the more I see, I’m not, I never was, “normal.”

So … I’ve been agonizing for weeks over how to make school “fun.” Agonizing over WHY I chose classical education. Agonizing over every crazy detail. Some prodding from the folks at the Well Trained Mind helped me quite a lot. I went back and reread The Well Trained Mind. I ventured over to the “High School/Self-Education” boards at that website. http://www.welltrainedmind.com
Rereading The Well Trained Mind calmed me and took me back to my original intentions. Visiting the high school board on that site was intimidating as hell. BUT, I felt that way when I first started homeschooling – I can learn this language too, right?

What is my ultimate goal? I want to raise boys who can think for themselves. I want to raise boys who can admit they don’t know the answer AND know where to find an answer. I want to raise boys who are not ashamed of being smart. I want to raise boys whose identity is not tied to their material possessions/pursuits. I want to raise interesting, smart, mostly nice people. So far, brother-bashing aside, it seems to be working. I’m recharged and ready to plug ahead for the next round. And, when I say “I,” I mean “we” – Mike is in agreement here.

So what’s up for next year (sorry to bore you non-homeschool folks, but it is MY blog lol)? For Latin, which I’ve decided will be the boys’ official language for high school (though they will continue to study Spanish) we’re going to go with Henle Latin. I think they might actually have some fun with it this year after all their Latin grammar last year. I’ve picked up a copy of Harry Potter I in Latin for some translation work. For Spanish, we’ll continue with Rosetta Stone and our friends that speak Spanish. We’re making a huge shift to Math U See (kills me to buy something spelled this way) for (can you guess?) math. I think for the older boys having a “video” teacher and me for back up explanations AND the whole see, build, write approach will serve them well for the last of the basic maths.

History? I’m so excited to do The Story of the World and the activity book with Andy this year. We’ll all be studying the ancients. I think the older boys will have blast doing some of the projects with Andy. The older boys … a little trickier. I’m really leaning toward using pandiapress’s History Odyssey. It’s a package that continues to use our same spines, but includes the extra reading and it has a “study guide” which gives the kids their assignments. A little pressure lifted for me. I’m sure I could do the same thing, but I’m tired of spending hours and hours and hours doing it (and we can afford a little more than we could when we started). I’m planning to bump Dan up to 9th grade for history so he and the twins are not working on the exact same things everyday – huge point of contention here last year. Everyone wish Danny luck. 😉

Grammar and Writing? We’re sticking with Rod and Staff. It’s religious and definitely not the Catholic-version of religious, but it’s so thorough and so easy to implement we’ll endure it. (Don’t tell the kids but I think diagramming sentences is fun!!!!)

Art? I was excited to come home from vacation to a new Rainbow Resource catalog. It’s the yellow pages that every homeschool mom reads cover to cover. I found Exploring Art Media. I think it will be a lot of fun to get away from straight drawing and use some color and even explore some 3D art. With Andy, I’ll be using Drawing with Children. I love that book – it’s not for moms who don’t like to do art with their kids, but if you do like it, VERY fun.

I have assorted other stuff lined up for vocabulary, spelling and religion. I’m still torn on science – with science, now I know WHY they call it middle school – they’re stuck between “fun” science and real science until their math catches up. Arrrggghhh. At least Andy will be having fun! 😉 I’m using REAL science for him.

So, I still have to work out science and (da dum) reading lists. If anyone has books that they remember LOVING in 7th or 8th grade, please post a comment. I have tons of books I remember loving, but they are really “girl” books. Mike doesn’t remember much about middle school (have I mentioned that Mike is REALLY old lately?). Any help you can offer would be appreciated. Classics, non classics, anything … The only book I really remember is Forever by Judy Blume. Aaackkk. To this day I think I would die if I ever met a person named “Ralph” just because of that book. Sadly, I never finished the book. Sarah Thayer’s mom caught us with it and it was banished – not only from our little group but from the whole school. 😉

So, if you know how Forever ends (I shudder to think ‘Ralph’ is at least in his 50’s and probably a Viagra addict) or if you have books recommendations for middle school, please let me know.

Posted on Saturday, July 1, 2006, 01:32 AM (UTC -4)

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