I have spent the last two weeks reflecting on our school year and trying to decide where to go from here. Last month I pulled the boys out of the charter school they were in. The school was becoming a source of stress for me, and although it provided us with a good deal of funds to help pay for classes and curriculum, it was no longer worth it for us. The money came with too many restrictions and far too much testing, and neither the boys or I was interested in it any more.
What this means is we are enjoying a great deal of freedom with a lot less money. This is not a bad thing, actually I feel quite liberated, and the lack of money is causing me to reflect on what I want to accomplish with the boys and what my goals are.
The one thing I have figured out is that my youngest is a very creative learner who seems to grow and learn with no curriculum. He is a self-starter who does so much everyday that I really do not see a need to plan his school days. He will be unschooling for the rest of this year and most likely for the next few years, until it no longer works for him.
So what are some of the projects that my youngest son is working on? He is working on numerous scratch projects right now, and he is designing a line of characters that he is making with 3D Printing. He is writing several stories, one of them he is writing on the computer, so he is teaching himself how to type at the same time. He is composing songs on the piano, and he writes lyrics all day long. He recently discovered the Johnny Dixon series, so we are reading those together, and he is designing his own board game with his Grandma. He also works on math with DreamBox Learning, and he likes to watch history documentaries.
Now my oldest son is a completely different learner than my youngest. He isn’t so intense and creative. He is more intellectual and laid back. I have to nudge him a little, but with a small nudge he can accomplish so much. It is an interesting dynamic though because if I push too hard he shuts down, but if I push too little he doesn’t meet his potential.
This is my seventh year homeschooling him, and you would think I would have this all figured out by now, but I don’t. By the time I figure everything out he will probably be going off to college.
Anyway I am trying to encourage him to discover his interests while at the same time keeping him academically challenged. It is a balance that he and I are still trying to figure out, and we are also trying to figure out what to work on this year. He would never like to unschool, but at the same time he doesn’t want too much structure. He’s not very fond of most curriculum, but he grows bored and gets worried if we don’t follow some sort of plan with some academic books.
So what do I do with all this info? I am not sure yet. I am trying to come up with a plan, but I haven’t got anything concrete. I have some ideas, and I am going to spend the next few weeks making some final decisions. Then we will start our year. It will be his eighth grade year, and we will work from mid-January 2012 to December 2013. It will be a new adventure, and it will be challenging and exciting. I can’t wait!