Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The school year "ends" this week

It's May 22 and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  We are very nearly "finished" with school for this academic year.  The weather out here in the mountain wilderness has been unusually warm this entire month - maybe even a bit longer - so we've not been quite as regimented about school for several weeks now.  Had we kept our noses to the grindstone we'd probably have completed all our courses a week ago.  I'm not complaining in any way; May 31 has been my goal all year, so we'll easily make that.  Plus, for the most part, I enjoy our school days (the girls too).  It will just be nice to know that the formal coursework is out of the way for one more year.  I am planning to keep some sort of school happening over the summer.  We were terrible about that last year, but we had valid excuses: a big family trip to Europe and then the whole process of buying/selling real estate that lead to our move to this house.  2011 was a busy summer indeed.  There is not a European trip in the works this year - or any other extended vacation.  We're looking forward to quality time here on our own property - and in the mountains.

First day of school pictures.  See the 6 fingers for 6th grade?

Once I officially claim each of the girls as passing to the next grade we'll have students going into 1st, 2nd and 7th grades.  In all ways we are reminded that time flies, huh?  I've home schooled for Kindergarten the past 2 years in a row and that comes to an end now.  Kind of sad.  Kindergarten was fun for me and the younger girls. They learned so much, but in such a low-key way.  I have most especially enjoyed working on phonics with my kindergartners.  Reading is such a joy and I was thrilled to be the person to get them started.  I'm hopeful that my constant state of book-in-hand will inspire them to keep it up.  There is so much to be learned throughout life and being an avid reader is a great way to do just that.  A side note: my book club just chose a hefty book for our summer reading (The Cypresses Believe in God) and I'm anxious to delve into it.  Long books are some of my favorites.  The longer the better, when it's a well-written book and a good story, right?

And the first grader, who very appropriately started the year with no teeth in front :)

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we are planning to stick with our same curriculum next school year.  We'll have some decisions to make about sacrament preparation, as our middle daughter should be ready for confession and communion and our oldest ready to be confirmed.  At this point I imagine we'll do some prep at home, combined with the classes at our parish.  We're confident that the parish catechists do an excellent job, but we'll also want it to be a family affair.

There is something about endings that cause us to pause and reflect.  In this case it's the end of the school year and I've been reflecting about our decision to home school.  I have an analogy that makes sense to me and I hope it translates in the telling... To a much less important degree, it's sort of like us being adoptive parents.  As newlyweds, we imagined ourselves being parents, but we didn't imagine it happening via adoption.  But once we honestly assessed our situation, we decided we needed to take an alternate route to parenthood.  Pursuing adoption was unknown and terrifying, but we took the leap and thank God we did.  Again, this home school thing is not on the same scale, but when the girls were little and we planned/imagined their education, it didn't involve schooling at home.  However, 2 years ago it became obvious that we needed to go a different route, so we took another leap of faith and it's been a good thing.  These are major life events that have taught us that just because a path in life is unknown (and looks difficult) doesn't mean that it needs to be avoided.

And finally, the kindergartner.  The "k" was harder than the number grades!

I should end this rambling post with a disclaimer: we have not become home schooling hard-liners.  Will we always educate our daughters at home?  We don't know.  We firmly believe that a traditional school can be a wonderful place and a great solution for any family.  But for our family, right now, staying at home seems best.  We have found a curriculum we like, we have support from lots of other families, our girls are good students, we have nice space in our home for schooling, etc.  In short, the lack of a better option "forced" us into home schooling, but we have been blessed by a great many factors that have allowed it to be a success for us.

No comments:

Post a Comment