Monday, April 18, 2016
On the Homeschooling Front.
April has been all about family. We are preparing for exam season, my eldest daughter is writing in May and June. She suddenly hit a 'panic' after attempting her first past paper for revision. So we had to take a deep breath and decide the best way forward. So after a little googling I found a wonderful site called 'MyTutorWeb'. Why did I not know about this before! What a fantastic concept. Tutoring in any subject (GCSE's and A-levels) you need all done online in your own online classroom. You can choose your tutor after reading their bio's, create a shortlist, meet with them for free before settling on who is best for your child. Sessions are only £18-£20/ hour (depending on the level of tutoring). So, that's what we have done for eldest dd. She's a happy bunny :)
Meanwhile, after having a week of various issues in our homeschool cropping up, I suddenly realised that the curriculum we were using for dd2 was not really growing that mind, not stimulating her to question, think for herself, not feeding her with wonderful ideas and not equipping her in various skills such as writing and research. All these are skills that she will need not only out in the big world but particularly if she goes to university - which is her goal. So with all this in mind, my husband and I decided that we needed to go back to our original way of doing things. Providing a rich eclectic Charlotte Mason education but one that equips her to write the various exams and GCSE and A-levels.
We have jumped straight into Ambleside Online's House of Education Year 9 lite and my daughter is loving it. The booklist for this year is rich and I have been loving the discussions and insights that we've been having, drawing out thoughts and ideas. Already I am seeing an excitement at learning bubbling up in my daughter. She is eager to tackle her writing assignments, and doing really well.
To help improve her writing techniques we are using the 'Institute for Excellence in Writing' course. This teaches how to take notes, summarise, avoid plagiarism, constructing papers in various forms, note taking etc. You can read more on this course HERE. The skills taught in this course will really reinforce and strengthen the skills needed to tackle both the English and the English Lit IGCSE's.
Instead of using the recommended Year 9 literature selections we will cover poems, books and plays from the IGCSE Literature syllabus - but using CM methods of course. In the run up to her exams next year we will once again use MyTutorWeb and learn some exam techniques to help her feel confident in tackling the exams.
I am grateful for all the years that we were exclusively CM, and for the resources that we had used up until we switched to A.C.E before hand - which where rich in literature and living books. This has given us a firm enough foundation to be able to pick up at a higher level without much fuss. I am grateful that despite the change in curriculum that we made two years ago that I kept up with many Charlotte Mason subjects as it has made our transition fairly seamless.
The only thing we are a bit rusty on is narration, but after a rather bumpy start at narration in our first reading, by the time the second reading came along later on in the day there was already an improvement on the quality of the narration. Interestingly my daughter has really had to work hard at attending to these readings - it reminds me of a time that I hadn't used my bread-maker in a few months, the mechanism at the bottom of the pan was frozen and required a little twisting and turning before it started moving freely again.
Anyhoo - I suppose my loooonng break from here (18 days!) has been because I have been trying to sort out these important things. We have seem to have crossed the wild waters of homeschooling and making our way into the more sheltered quiet waters that come with having a clear direction and plan - whew!
Let me tell you, navigating these homeschooling high school years has been tricky for me. It all seemed so much easier then they (my children) were little. I am grateful for my friends here in England and across the pond (thank you Tricia!) for being available to give me advice, encouragement and guidance :)
Now dear ones, it is time for me to get supper on the table for my family. I shall see you back here very soon, until then, God bless.