It’s that time of year again where all the little kiddos head back to school. Except mine, who head back to the kitchen table for home school. This year I’ve had several people ask me what program we use, what we like and dislike about it and so forth. We use St. Thomas Aquinas Academy and, although we’re still only a little way into our home school journey, really like it. It gives me the balance between flexibility and structure that I like. I have an advisor to check in with, a curriculum tailored to my specific situation, and a test at the beginning of each year to get a sense of where he is and where he should be academically. On the other hand, the choices of texts and the tone of support is one that leaves plenty of room to adjust, to go off on tangents or slow down and speed up depending on what I need. It also uses texts and programs I love. One thing I really like about the school is the assignment they give me at the beginning of the year. I was filling out this year’s and thought that really, whatever program you use, and in fact whether you home school or not, it’s a great exercise. Basically, you sit down and write out neatly your list of reasons for homeschooling. Then you list your goals for the year for each child. This will help you stay committed to your decision through the year and give you a place to check back and see how you’re doing. It also will help you stay focused on what really matters and let go of other things. I don’t think home schooling is for everyone but I think this exercise would be useful regardless of your schooling choices. I could see it being a helpful starting place for talking to a child’s teacher for example, or making rules as parents. I’ve been interested to compare this years list of reasons and priorities with last years. Some are the same, some have evolved, and some I’ve added after another year of experience. Having just finished my homework this afternoon I thought I would share.
Why am I homeschooling?
– To keep my children’s innocence.
– To have an opportunity to teach the Faith.
– To taylor courses to the individual needs, strengths, weaknesses, and interests of my children
– To catch mistakes and correct them quickly that might be missed in a larger classroom, and to be able to adjust pace when necessary in a way that might not be possible with more students.
– To find personal joy, pride and fulfillment in teaching my children and watching them learn new skills through me.
– So we can sleep in, play outside, explore interesting tangents, and take adventures whenever we like.
– To savour their childhood.
Goals for JD
– To improve composition and penmanship
– To continue progress in math and reading
– To begin preparation for first communion
Goals for Fierce Bad
– To learn how he learns
– To discover his interests, academic strengths and weaknesses
– To work on pencil grip and penmanship
– To lay phonics foundations and see if he has an interest in beginning to learn to read
This year I added one more section, Goals for Me
– To maintain focus and momentum throughout the school year
– To be patient
– To limit screen time
– To work on healthy eating and presenting a wider variety of foods at breakfast and lunch.
– To read and learn more about developing teaching skills
– To do prep work on evenings or weekends for a more organized week
Here’s hoping we all have a productive school year, regardless of where school is.