The End of 6th Grade

April 23rd, and the school year is done! Well, sort of. 😉

My son used Switched-On Schoolhouse this year, and he has completed his work. My husband and I still need to go in and grade a few things, and adjust some grades where the program didn’t grade correctly. That was my son’s biggest problem with the program. He knew he gave the correct answer, but the program would mark a problem wrong. My husband and I would go over the problem with him to find he was right. After reading some reviews on the program that was a common complaint.

We have been discussing unschooling, and we plan on heading a bit more in that direction. We have some state requirements to meet for homeschooling, so we will still have a bit of a curriculum to follow. We basically want to work on life skills, and what is practical/useful. My son (The only one of 3 who is schoolaged) has been interested in the medical field for career options, so if he continues on that path we will have to make sure he meets the requirements to enroll in college courses for those options. He has been interested in phlebotomy, and radiology over the years. Most recently he has been less interested in college, and more interested in working in fields that only require on the job training. 

I explained to my son, that with unschooling there may be schoolwork over the summer. When the weather is nice we have more opportunities for field trips, and lessons in the garden. Obviously I want him to enjoy his summer, and part of unschooling is for the child the choose what they want to learn about. I hope that he will choose to learn over the summer. 🙂 I told him that we might look into buying a new tree for our yard, so I might request that he research the soil type, or amount of sun that tree needs to thrive. He thinks that would be easy, so he’s willing to do it as long as there isn’t a report involved. His father and I appreciate nature, and like improving our property.  I see the tree project as a practical/useful lesson, but maybe he’ll be a city dweller with no garden to tend when he leaves home. Will it be a waste of his time to do such a project? I know he has a curiosity about plants, because right now he is trying to grow some acorns that he collected in our yard. In years past he has had his own row or two in our vegetable garden to grow his own plants too.

I don’t want to force my interests on him. I want him to develop his own personality/interests. Right now he is reading the Harry Potter series for enjoyment, so I don’t want to push him to take on more reading.  I plan on having him use our local library to borrow several books on a subject that interests him and see what he gains by doing so. If he likes the subject he will have no problem sharing what he learns verbally, but I wonder if I should require anything in writing to keep a record of his “schoolwork”. I also plan on having him be more involved with meal planning. I want to make sure that he won’t rely on take out, or convenience foods when he moves out on his own. I’ve had him help find a new recipe to try, and he made the meal with only a little guidance from me. I think he enjoyed cooking, and since he’s a picky eater being part of the planning meant he was willing to try it. 🙂  

He is a very curious child, and likes to learn. He enjoys sharing what he learns too. (Sometimes while I am trying to read, blog or nurse the baby) ;P

I think I’ll give him at least a couple of weeks off before I start requesting “work” from him. He did work hard to earn his time off by doing extra work daily in subjects as others were completed.

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Big Changes For 2017

If you’ve followed my blog, or even been here before you probably know that I homeschool my 11-year-old son. We have tried different curriculums, and this year we are using a computer based program rather than books. We just aren’t happy with the material. We are seriously considering unschooling. I think it will be a blend of homeschooling and unschooling that we finally settle upon. I can’t completely trust that my son will learn everything he needs without any direction. It is just so hard to sit back and allow my son to be miserable studying things that I know he will never use in this life beyond the testing for this course. When my son gets upset with himself for doing poorly on a test, and then it changes his mood for the rest of the day I want to tell him not to worry since the test he took was quite honestly a waste of his time since he’ll never use the information in life. If that’s how I feel, why am I forcing him to suffer through the course?

I see value in the lessons, but what I see is simply reading comprehension and retention of information. It could be any material used to acquire those skills, so why not use material he is actually interested in learning? When my son does poorly on a test, he says he studied what he felt were the most important parts of the lesson. I appreciate that he can recognize that there are parts of a lesson that don’t have as much impact on the overall outcome of a situation. When we review the questions he missed, they often are what I would consider fluff or filler information.

Because we homeschool, we choose to have him take a CAT test yearly to comply with state regulations. He tests well above average, and even at college level in some sections. I am confident that he is better prepared than the students who are going to our local public school. Even though we all feel what we are doing is not working, it clearly is at some levels. 😉

My son LOVES to read, and often times will pick up a book when he has free time. He also LOVES his video games, especially Minecraft. I am very impressed with his creativity, but when he tries to explain in detail how he builds machines he loses my interest. I will admit that I do not always encourage him, and even disappoint him with my lack of interest in what he is so passionate to discuss.

We know he is intelligent, but he is lacking common sense. He is not very driven, but that could be partially due to the materials being offered to him. He has a tendency to be lazy, and has a good enough attitude. He has not learned that behavior from my husband and I. We need to be giving him a more practical education, and prepare him more for real life experiences. We don’t want his schooling to be time filler, to keep him busy and out of our hair. We want him to be a well-rounded individual, and happy. I want him to set goals, and achieve them. Right now he seems to be just doing enough to get through his day. When his grades show that, he  feels awful for disappointing us. Maybe it’s just an act, but we stress honesty in this family and his emotions appear genuine.