Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Year 2, Day 31: I Can't Keep Smiling!

Oh, boy!  I haven't been THIS excited in awhile!  Today the three younger kids and I went for most of the day to the local Classical Conversations community day (similar to a homeschool co op) to see the group "in action."  How do I put this? It's like God was confirming all these dreams and goals that I have had for years and years for our homeschool! I don't regret our journey so far because every homeschooler (unless they've done research before their kids reach school age and even then they change their education styles often) goes through these process of discovering how everyone learns the best and what they need and their philosophy of education evolves over time.  However, I WISH I had looked into Classical Conversations a whole lot sooner and had saved myself some anxieties, especially over Benaiah's schooling.

I'll try not to go into details, but I will say this that it's not for everyone that homeschools.  It's pretty rigorous, especially in the 7th-12th grade years.  It's not for those with learning disabilities, at least when you are doing it with a community.  The kids aren't meant to catch on to everything the first time around, and that's the point, but still, I think it would frustrate some.  But for us, (and I'm not bragging), I think we can handle it.  My favorite part is what they teach in the upper grades, which includes Latin, debate, the sciences of course, YOUR choice for math curriculum, and they use the Institute for Excellence in Writing for language arts.  It's an international Christian program which has developed some of it's own curriculum, but also uses outside curriculum like IEW.  You can also choose how deep you go in your history studies, so we can still use our current curriculum.  Anyway, it's not your typical education and it has elements I have wanted to teach the kids, but I'm not quite sure how.  I understand a lot of it, but I don't know how to communicate it.  This program has tons of training along with it, and paid "tutors" who spend one day a week with your student(s) that are trained by the program (for free!).  Also, my nieces, Everly and Nora are in it, AND since it is nationwide, everyone does the exact same thing during the year so the kids can quiz each other! And if we have to move, we can just pick another group and keep going.

So, for our day, the kids LOVED it!  After the first 30 minutes, Keturah says, "I want to come here next week!"  There are several girls her exact same age and a couple of guys and girls exactly Justin's age that like the same things he does, Star Wars, Minecraft, Pokemon AND a guy who loves that neon green color!  Everyone was super nice and helpful, too.  Abishai even had a total blast with 3 or 4 kids his age (the 4-6 year olds also have a "class" in the morning, so it was the 3 and under crowd)!  It is all day, and I won't have a babysitter for the afternoon for naptime because it's on a Tuesday, but we'll manage.  Keturah will go 9:30 to 3 and Justin will go from 8:30 to 3:30.  His class will require a lot of preparation, like 3 hrs a day, and then they discuss it in class.  Keturah will just do review work after they learn it in class, plus some language arts homework.  And me? Well, I get to sit in on class and "help."  Or become a paid tutor.  Or watch little guys, or do whatever.  Plus the work at home of course.  I'm going to have to do some major rethinking and revamping of our home schedule (i.e. keep the field trips to one a month!) to make sure we aren't missing things like handwriting (which has been sorely lacking in the last few years).

Ah, I guess you all might not understand my excitement and that's ok.  I know my fellow homeschoolers do!  And other teachers of course (nothing against them, I just can't stand the environment they are forced to teach in and what they are required to teach and how they are to teach it.)  I can't wait to learn Latin along with Justin, too!  Yup, I'm the weird geek/nerd whatever.  Knowledge is power, right?  The program is more expensive than other books and programs I have bought over the years, but still a fraction of what even Benaiah's school costs (and it's super cheap!)  Ah, if only my parents were here to see it!  Mom would have totally understood my excitement over Logic, Debate, and Latin!

And once again, as I have stated on Facebook and to friends multiple times already, there is nothing wrong with our current homeschool co op!  In fact, we've made some great friends, learned some great material, learned how to deal with other people in difficult moments (minor kid stuff, don't worry), learned how to stick to someone else's schedule, etc.  That group serves their families well and is super well organized and solid.  But I did know going into it that it wasn't my favorite way of educating my children.  We will continue to put our best effort into our studies for the rest of the year, of course.  We'll keep in touch with a lot of those families as well I'm sure.  I will recommend it to families that are looking for that type of group.  It has helped us transition this year as we get our feet back under us.  It's just not my preferred style.  And THAT my friends, is one of the benefits of homeschooling....if it isn't working for YOUR family, then you can change it up!  It will work for other families, and obviously it does because there are been many, many kids graduating high school from that group!

Ok, I was trying NOT to make this post all about this, but, since it is a humongous part of our lives, it's important to include, right?  The kids are exhausted from two full days of people time (my poor little introverts!  except Abishai, he'd go every day all day!)  Thankfully tomorrow and Thursday are pretty calm days.  We have some appointments on Friday afternoon and then it's Bible Bowl competition all day on Saturday, and Keturah's auditions for a speaking part on Sunday.  We'll have to hit the books pretty hard in the morning, but that's ok.  One of the benefits of being out for two days is that the house is NOT a wreak of toys and dishes everywhere! Phew!

Just a couple of pictures, because I was so intrigued with the day, that I just didn't think to take many pictures!

Justin got right into the class and did a show and tell of his drawings when the other kids did mini presentations as well.  This part is get them used to being in front of the class and as they get older, they will critique themselves and each other, as well as the teacher will help them improve their speaking skills.  You also see behind him their memory work of the week which all kids from 4 years old to 11 years old (6th grade) learn on the same day.  The older kids will go more in depth on the same day.  It's straight up memorization without a bunch of explanation at first, so that they have something to "hang" other ideas and concepts on later on.  They do most of their memory work to songs that come on a cd.  Keturah's going to love that part!

I know another kid started this, but Abishai finished putting all the cones in the middle of the hoop.  Then he said, "Mom, mom! (I think he said, "See!" too).!  

I know he also said, "All done!" when he finished!  Oh, at the beginning of their day, the CC group has a family do a presentation on themselves so you get to know each other better and then they lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge for the Christian flag.  Justin was embarrassed because he didn't know either one.  It just hasn't been a focus for us at home, so I haven't taught them either one of those.  Oh well, he'll catch on to it quickly.  No biggie.
So, hopefully it's an earlier bedtime for me tonight, if I can quiet my mind down a little.  And, I just went to a meeting with the CC director on a whim, just to find out more about CC so I could at least recommend it to others even if we didn't join.  It's always good to find out more information even if you might say no, thanks.  You just don't know what you might come across!

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