Friday, January 10, 2014

No Snow Days for Homeschoolers

While the entire Midwest has been locked down with bitter subzero temperatures and locally fifteen inches of snow, we have hunkered down, settled in, and found the joy and beauty hidden in the winter.  Schools are now called off an entire five days. That is of course except for the homeschool crews.
Let me first discuss the irony of the public school being called off.  It turns out that there is a special rule that has not been used in this area for an unknown length of time.  It says that if a school is not able to be in session for five or more days due to an act of God, then the school days do not have to be made up at the end of the year. So God is taken out of our public school except in moments of when an act of God appears.  What do we need to do as a homeschooler.  Technically there is not way that the state can hold me more accountable than the public system. WHAT the heck am I talking about?  I don't report to the state. I just thought it was ironic that they refer to God instead of calling it natural disaster or something.
Our schoolhouse has a beautiful view.  There seems to be a bit of tranquility in a warm room that is surrounded by white snow. The view of the birds at the feeder from the reading nook makes it a bit hard to focus on our reading. SO, what does a homeschooler do with a moment like that?  I took out our bird identification book and we tried to better develop our skills of observation as well as reading about the birds we discover.  I am so happy with the decision to place a carpet in the schoolhouse instead of a wood floor. It really makes it feel more comfortable when we are playing games and doing puzzle work on the floor.
To be totally honest the girls did get some snow days but only because with the -20 temperatures the room was just not warm for two days.  Thank goodness for our electronic devices that have a variety of books and flash card games to keep them in the groove just a bit.
We are gearing up for another semester with the new co-op.  This next semester Grace will be having private piano lessons, advanced sign language, legos machines and a Narnia class.  She will also participate in an extracurricular service project called Libraries for Africa.  I know this is important but am a bit concerned about the fact that the items sent will not be received by those it is intended for.  I know this as my husband works with a senator in some water projects in Africa.  They have found it is best to take items directly to those who need it.  Still, she is not aware of this and I will not burst her bubble.  Reading is important to her and she cannot imagine a child being without a book to find comfort.  Then again, she does not know hunger, thirst and suffering.  I am not sure that a book can give comfort amidst the other issues. 
Faith will be taking an Art around the World class, American Girl (Felicity), French II, and Math Lab.  She was not too fond of the AMG class but I was not too fond of another semester of French. We compromised. 
I am only teaching two classes and of course volunteering throughout the day.  First hour it will be my job to man the sign in desk.  I will teach a Jr. Math Lab and GYM class then volunteer as the second adult in the Math Lab class.  I hope that goes well since Faith is in that class.  She seems to be happy about it.  The next semester is only four weeks away. 
We continue to use 100% self directed ABeka curriculum.  I have not complaints about the program.  I am amazed at the number of people who do not seem to understand the program.  There is a support page and some of the questions baffle me.  I am not sure that people have taken the time to really delve into their curriculum so that they could see how well it all fits together and what to do.  I mean, there are questions about how to handle it when you are teaching multiple levels.  I try to be open minded.  I believe that each family will have their own style and that we all will have our similarities. Still, some of the questions that I see from others cause me to think about if homeschooling is the right choice.  First, and foremost, the adult needs to be on a learning curve all the time and able to determine the intend of a lesson plan and creative enough to make it fit their school's needs.   Some questions are so basic that I wonder how they ever thought they could do this.
To me the first step is to learn about the laws of your state. Two days ago somebody asked about how to test their first grader for the year but had not clue if their state required it.  HOW in the world does a person seek support online but not know to search homeschool laws?  I mean, HSLDA has it available regardless if a person is a member or not.  Then each state has a section about it online as well.  I want to support homeschool freedom for all but some days I wonder.  Then again, there will those who will likely think or feel the same about me and so I return to the old adage that you cannot judge a person or know how to walk in their shoes.  When I read a post that even causes me to create thoughts of doubt I turn to the Lord to guide me away.  I do understand how others do not "get it" when they hear that I homeschool some of my grandchildren.
It seems that it is getting late and I need to do some school before the girls are ready for a nap. Some days I find meals blend in to each other.  Today is one of those days, thank goodness that brunch is pizza leftovers.