I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus...
For the first time, we will be making use of some interactive, real-time internet courses this fall. After watching a couple of families use the resources of some of the tutorial schools that are now available to homeschoolers, I've decided that this may be the best way to spend our educational dollars and time, keeping us off the freeway and out of the gas lines...we'll use the information highway instead. Happily, the options for homeschoolers on this highway are increasing at breakneck speed and produce a dizzying array of choices--but it's a GOOD dizzy! It's a world away from the A Beka vs. Bob Jones "eenie-meenie-miney-mo" game we played for the first few years of home schooling in the 80's. And if you had told me in 1985 that we would be starting the third decade of this journey with a PC in practically every room, and that we'd be using those machines to bring rigorous coursework from distinguished professors right to the kitchen table, I wouldn't have been able to process it. (Of course, if you'd told me in 1985 that I'd still be homeschooling in 2006, that would have brought its own processing problems!)
So...how are your choices coming? What worked this year and what didn't? What are you exploring for next year? Click on the "Comment" button and let me know!
This is for Miranda...and for all of you who might appreciate a nice slice of pumpkin bread. This one is too good to wait for fall :-)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pumpkin
1-1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Beat together sugar and oil. Add beaten eggs and then pumpkin and mix well.
Mix together dry ingredients and stir into pumpkin mixture.
Pour into greased and floured large (9 x 5 in.) loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for approx. 1 1/2 hours or until a pick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.
Easily doubles for two 9 x 5 or three 8 x 4 1/2 in. loaves. Smaller loaves will bake for about an hour.
It's simply amazing to me how fast we get from the looooong month of February to the first of May. I'm sitting here staring at a blank page, certain that next year's plans and curriculum and fresh ideas are here somewhere....Come on--this is the part I really love and I'm drawing a blank!
The kids are in the middle of their standardized testing this week: the younger ones in the Stanford Achievement and the older ones taking their college boards. Every time we do this, I wish I had results a lot sooner so they could be a help to me as I decide where our focus should be for next year. Is my fifth grader slow in math? Maybe we need a different book, or more flash cards, or more emphasis on fractions? Is my seventh grader bored with reading, ready for a whole new selection of literature? Did we pick a science curriculum that isn't working for any of us? Did we totally forget history this year? (One of the kids came home from the test and asked me, "Mom, what's the Emancipation Proclamation??" Gulp...)
But alas, by the time we get test results in mid-July or so, the plans for next year will be set in concrete, if wet concrete. Maybe that's God's way of sparing me from yielding to the temptation of basing everything on a test. I know this with my heart, but sometimes my head is way too concerned with a number or a percentile or a grade level than with how much my children are learning and whether they're integrating that knowledge into their wider world.
So...I sit here staring at my page, praying for some inspiration to design just the right combination for next year, one that will help us fill any gaps we've left but that will also give fresh viewpoints, creative new approaches, and a spark of fun to fuel it all.
A funny thing happened on the way to curriculum planning, by the way. As I normally do, I started by listing all the children's names, leaving space for broad categories of subject matter. And then I stared in disbelief: only four names? Whom did I leave off? I began reciting names in age order and it hit me--yes, only four this year! Nathan will don a cap and gown this month and close his homeschooling chapter, leaving us with two daughters and two sons yet to graduate. We, once again, downsize our little school and give thanks for the honor of launching one more young adult into his wider world.
Yes, it will happen to you too...perhaps many years down the road, perhaps just a few. Some of you will see your list get longer before it gets shorter, as the little ones around your table pick up their schoolbooks and start down the homeschool road with you. But one May day (and trust me, it's only a blink away), you'll look down at your planning pad and wonder whose name you've forgotten to write.
It's a bittersweet day.