Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Break Isn't for Planning

Tonight I threw away the "List of Things to Work on Over Spring Break".

Not a thing had been checked off that list. Knowing how many activities we have planned with family and friends for the weekend, I figured it was a lost cause anyway. You know what? I don't really feel bothered by this. Usually I'm all about the list...looks like I'm learning something myself on this homeschooling adventure.

I had hoped to plan most of the rest of our school year out this week. We have 22 days of school remaining to meet our minimum 180 days. It seemed feasible that I could plan lessons for that in a week's time. But other things got in the way. JT had his yearly physical on Monday. Fortunately our primary care provider is fairly supportive of homeschooling. She always asks the probing questions revolving around socialization but seems happy with our answers. Tuesday evening we had a wonderful opportunity to hear Brian Greene speak at a local university. It was exciting to be in a room full of people who would choose to go listen to a theoretical physicist talk about string theory. I was also happy to see that my 10 yr old wasn't the only child in the audience. Wednesday the weather was gorgeous, so we spent the day outside.

By late last night, I actually made my way back into the classroom. I did throw together a short list on the white board. Here's what I have so far:

Story of the World review...giant timeline for the wall
more art
website learning; Khan Academy, NOVA videos, icivics, brainpop, happy scientist
math, EM finish Singapore 2B, JT work on Challenge Math and KCP Geometry
memorization, poem for EM, historical speech of choice, JT
music unit
JT, review of Latin and Greek roots
EM, review of spelling words, possible spelling bee format
Geography games
more computer programming, typing practice, Mindstorm
LOTS of reading
LOTS of outdoor activities...nature journals, bird watching
field trips, Hershey Gardens, hike with local homeschool group, day at the state park, museum
Get the fun box out!!!

I think that looks like a great outline to end the year. I don't want to get into too many new things this late in the game. There are far too many opportunities outside of the classroom when the weather is cooperating.

The PAGE conference went fairly well. We had a small group of parents attend the panel discussion on homeschooling/cyberschooling. It seemed that most of the attendees were leaning towards the cyber option. I certainly can't blame them. I went that way as well. There were three other moms on the panel, two homeschoolers, one cyber. I was able to take a coffee break with a homeschooling mom after our session. She's been homeschooling her children most of their educational careers and is about to graduate a son. It was a great opportunity to pick the brain of someone who has been there, done that. She really made me feel more confident about my options. She also shared the transcript she has put together for her son. Once again, a wonderful thing to boost that confidence!

Our second day of the conference, we had a parent networking session. All of the attendees were parents of current cyberschool students, except one. He was the assistant CEO of that particular cyberschool. We had two parents on the panel for the session and we were both homeschoolers. There was some tension in the session over issues the cyberschool parents had encountered in trying to join their local homeschooling support groups. But what it really turned into was an opportunity for the parents to try to work out difficulties specific to the school with their CEO. I felt a bit more like an observer. It was funny because as I listened to their concerns and frustrations, I could hear how I sounded last year. I so wanted to tell them, "It doesn't have to be that way!" But I knew they had to find their own paths for what would work best for their families. So I just sat there and smiled, knowing that stress was gone from my life. I can sit back and enjoy the ride.

I will have more to say about the conference next week. The keynote speaker, Kevin Honeycutt, may have been the most inspirational speaker on education I have ever heard. I am bursting with new ideas I picked up listening to him. This summer I will be working some of them into our plans for next year. Spend some time on his website, if you can. I guarantee, you won't be disappointed!


A Chair of Bowlies said...

Agreed! And I am so glad to know you felt the same way I did in the second session...although you could see that I found it more difficult to keep my mouth shut about it. Hope I didn't step on any toes. It was great to meet you, Michelle! - Kelly

Cyber Momma said...

Thanks Kelly! I don't think you stepped on any were very diplomatic. :-)