And how did we manage this feat in our family? I must admit it's because my resolve crumbled, and I rejoined Classical Conversations. That's it. I can't deny it or take too much credit. Homeschoolers can hate on it as much as they want, but it saved our year. I will never be a CC Kool-aid drinker. There are things about it that I will never like (ahem...TIN WHISTLE, I'm staring you down hard). Christian businesses always make me nervous. And I do not in any way, shape,or form think that CC is the only way to do things. But it's worked for us. I can actually feel really good about our year instead of feeling defeated because I didn't meet every goal or check every box.
So I'm sharing what we did this year and what I learned in case anyone cares...or even if you don't care. I just want to write it down to see it one place. =)
- We did CC as our curriculum. For Foundations, we did the memory work, read books from my collection or the library on the weekly topics, did copywork or coloring sheets from our books or memory work, did field trips relevant to our studies (science museums, history museums, art museums, etc), watched movies/doctumentaries/animated TV shows that were relevant to our topics. That was it for history and science. And...it was enough. Part of me still wants to pull out one of my Apologia sciences for next year, but it would be extra. It's taken me years to feel okay with knowing that this is really enough.
- I learned that I have one kid with lots of natural ability but needs someone pushing pushing pushing to make him do everything. I also learned that I have a kid that has to work a little harder at things, but she's the one that sets her eyes on a prize and works until she gets what she wants. Her persistence is kind of scary. I already knew these things, but it especially stood out this year.
- I still don't care if my 5 year learns anything in class. He's 5. I'll care more in 1st grade. Probably.
- Challenge A (7th grade for us)...I admit, I had no idea what I was doing. If I could do the year over again, I would do so many things differently. I didn't get how much memorization was still involved with Challenge A. I wish I had joined the online CC site for Challenge because I think it would have given me a better idea of how to help my son. I spent way too much time trying to understand Lost Tools of Writing. Actually, I didn't spend nearly enough time trying to understand LTW, but I wish I would have realized much earlier that I could teach the writing concepts my own way. LTW in Challenge isn't my favorite. It just isn't. But my son can write a paper because I know how to write, and I can teach him what I know. I wish I had been more confidant in the beginning to teach my way.
- I need the accountability of having to be somewhere every week. I just do. I wish I could be one of those people that doesn't need the push, but my son gets his need for "motivation" from me. I can't even deny it. So CC made me get up and go every week. I think that was the most important part of our success this year. Even when my husband lost his job just as school was starting, we had to keep doing the next thing. When we had to move, we still kept doing the next thing. Sure we were in a hotel room for the first two weeks of CC in January while we waited for our new home to be ready. We still got work done. I don't think...no, I know that wouldn't have happened if it had been up to me to keep things going. I would have melted in a puddle by Christmas.
- I learned how to make CC work for me instead of trying to make everything fit CC. The first time I did this, I was a newbie homeschooler with all these ideals and unrealistic expectations. It burned me out. Now that I've been able to use my oldest as an ongoing, personal, homeschool guinea pig, I'm much more confidant in what really needs to be done. I don't care what everyone else is doing. We're doing our thing and it's working.
- Oh, and it's awesome that even though we moved to a different state over the holidays, I was able to switch to a new group without missing a beat. The kids were able to pick up right where they left off without me being the only person providing continuity. I can't even express how much it meant to me and my kids to be able to switch to a new group and continue. Everything else had to be dropped, but this one thing was able to be consistent.
Basically, I had every reason for this year to epically fail. But it didn't. I thank God that He directed me to change direction this year. He knew what was coming, and He put me in a support system that would keep me moving. Praise.