Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homeschool Prep 101

Wow.  The support and feedback we've received regarding our big homeschooling announcement has been nothing short of amazing.  The comments, the emails, the phone calls....the community response has been wonderful and uplifting.

Thank you.  THANK YOU!

Of course, now all we can think about is this new adventure.  It has made us look at and think about our current adventure in a different way.  Not "we better milk this summer for all its worth" or "well, when the girls go back to school we'll have to....".  Our whole way of thinking has changed.  Our plans are new and exciting.  To be totally honest, we're a little giddy.  Giddy, I tell you!

In addition to the advice and information from experienced homeschoolers (which I am incredibly thankful for and will accept at any time, thankyouverymuch!) many of you who are discerning whether or not homeschooling is right for your family, or are planning to homeschool sometime in the future, have expressed an interest in following along as all this unfolds.  And since this is the beginning, what better time to start than now?

First, if you'd like to read my very first discernment post entitle Confessions of a Wannabe Homeschooler , it might help to know that you're not alone in your questions and concerns.  Maybe we have more in common than you think!

Okay, onto what's happening now...

What I've Been Reading
Michigan is extremely homeschooler friendly.  We didn't know that when we moved here, but God is super clever and has choreographed out all sorts of wonderful "coincidences" in our lives, so this one just isn't that surprising to us in retrospect.  I share this with you because it'll help you to understand why, despite the fact that we live in a very highly-rated school district, our parish is rife with spectacular homeschooling families, some of whom have been instrumental in giving us the confidence to make this leap.

What does this have to do with reading, you ask?  Patience, my friend!  I'm getting to that right now.  One of my fellow parishioners, whose brain I decided to pick during doughnut time after mass a few weeks ago, asked me if I had read Elizabeth Foss' book Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home.
When she discovered I hadn't (after shedding a silent tear inside, I'm sure) she promptly insisted I borrow it from her....along with half a dozen other wonderful homeschooling books from her collection.

If any of you has read this book and know me or went to UD, your reaction to my reaction is probably going to be something along the lines of "Well, duh!" but I'm gonna go ahead and say it anyway: My goodness, I just love this woman.  I love her interpretation and implementation of Charlotte Mason.  I love her appreciation for family and living books.  And of course, I applaud, cheer, do a mental jig at her insistence that people come up with their own ideas.

Books!  Ideas!  Nature walks!  Books!  Art!  Music!  Books!

I'm smitten.

What We've Ordered
I've not planned everything out yet (I know.  It's been several HOURS since we finally made our decision.  What is wrong with me???), but I already know that I will not be purchasing a formal curriculum for these grade levels.  But I did, at the request of my dear children, hop on board with the Top Secret Adventures Club from Highlights Magazine.  Basically it's like "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego", but there are multiple villains who you chase through different countries by finding clues hidden in word and critical thinking puzzles.

The advanced learners program at their school used these and Katie LOVED them.  Because she only got to go to that class once a week last year, they only made it through one country, but now that she'll be able to solve the mysteries seven days a week, something tells me we'll manage to get through a lot more this year!  They cannot wait for the first country packet to arrive.  Japan.  "In only 4 more weeks, mom!  Ohmygosh!  It's gonna be here soon!  Can I be the one to check the mail?  Can I?  Can I????????"

What We're Making
Alright.  I saw this totally adorable and "easy to make" alphabet mat online and I was all "this looks so easy!" and the girls were all like "yeah!" and I was all like "let's make it and we can teach Paul to spell!" and they were all like "double yeah!".  And wow.  I will have to do a post all about our efforts because "easy" is apparently a relative term.  As in "This is easy relative to sewing an elaborate wedding gown for the Duchess of York".  This is about how far we've gotten:
It is going to be so cute and fun and we are GOING TO finish it soon, but it better seriously get the boy to the National Spelling Championships for the amount of time we've put into it.  Sheesh!

So there you have it.  Phase 1.1 of operation Borobia Academy (not its real name.  Pretty much I'm not planning on giving it a name.  Should I?  Feel free to weigh in on that.  Or anything else for that matter).  As always, your advice and suggestions are encouraged!

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  1. One resource to explore Dwija:


    I have gotten to know this site since our oldest was about two or three (He's nearly15 now) and have gotten toknow the site owner in real life too. If you are interested, I am on a listserv for parents of gifted children and have made many many friends there - both irl and virtual. Lots and lots of hschoolers there.

  2. My kids LOVE that Top Secret biz! LOVE it! Good for you for having the courage and organization to take this on. Pulling for you hard and hoping it's great :)

  3. I have no advice, but I'm so excited for you and ready to hear about all of the prep and execution. We have always planned to do a lot of "extracurriculars" at home. Not to get them ahead, but because it sounds like fun.

  4. Wow! How refreshing to hear about kids eager to learn. Sounds like this is going to be an adventure for your entire family, Dweej. I can't wait to read along and watch it all unfold and as usual I am in awe of you.

    You are one to be admired.

  5. ohmygosh! I totally forgot to tell you this, but you reminded me when you wrote the thingy about MI being homeschool-friendly (it totally is, from what I've seen!): Swiss Valley Ski Resort in Jones has Homeschool Days every week during ski season, with discounts! It may be a haul for you guys, but it's a really neat little place for families to ski. They even throw in a Ski School for first-timers, etc. They also run a family 1/2-price ski afternoon every Sunday which is waaaaayyy cost-effective.I will say, tho, that it's not a great idea to take anyone under 4 there, tho, so if 1 of you wanted to stay back with the baby, but still be close by the resort, feel free to use our lake house and stay all day or overnight! (I'll tell you how to get in w/o breaking in! lol).

  6. Careful what you tell us, MK! We're gonna be like Homer Simpson to your Ned Flanders....you'll show up to use your house and we'll be sprawled all over the place, leaving messes and drinking your beverages ;)

    That does sound super awesome though. I mean...SUPER awesome!

  7. Since you're reading Elizabeth Foss's book, you might want to check out her blog, Serendipity. She has a tab on there entitled, Alphabet Path. We started in January and probably got through the letter T, but it was fun every week. The kids loved it. Your mat made me think of it. We made an Alphabet quilt. You can see some of that at this post: http://ourfieldoflittleflowers.blogspot.com/2011/05/along-alphabet-path-n-o-p-and-q.html
    Naming one's homeschool: I'm all for this. We named ours...the kids like that we did that. We decided to do it after attending the graduation of a babysitter. She was homeschooled for high school, and her parents named their homeschool so it would be on her diploma. I thought that was very cool at the time. After our trip to Europe last fall, I took the pic of the kids in front of "The School of Athens" and put that on stationery I had made at Costco with our school's name on it. The kids love writing notes using that notepad.:) Ours is called, St. Paul's Academy, but I love my babysitters' better. Her family calls theirs W.L.A.D Academy which stands for "Work Like A Dog!"

  8. I love that your family is so excited about this new adventure!! Thank you for sharing it with us :) Borobia Academy does have a nice ring to it.

  9. I can't contribute re: homeschooling. I'm a horrible teacher when it comes to teaching my own daughter--she'd end up traumatized, I think ;)

    But just wanted to say: I KNEW IT!!! I KNEW you're gonna go ahead and do it! Way back when it was just "a thought," on one of your posts! Seriously, you're wonder woman reincarnate. La Casa Borobia has now become La Escuela Borobia (err, is that how you say school?). You're the queen of adventures, dear! Let this one begins! Am excited for you and can't wait to read all the developments.

    I am SO in for you coming up with a name for your 'school.' You should even have like a logo or something... make it look pro, know what I mean? ;)

  10. Well, that makes three votes for naming our school. I'd never really thought about it (again, it's been HOURS since we made our decision. I should really be more on top of these things!) but now I'll be doing all sorts of research and asking my husband and kids and....well, you know. The usual!

  11. Did you know that your muse was a closet MASON? It says so RIGHT IN HER NAME! Not that I'm saying you shouldn't follow her as your guide. Everyone should choose their own education path even if it is the wrong one. We'll pray for you.

  12. Hah! Well, I would say my muse is more Elizabeth Foss than Charlotte Mason :) And don't forget Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta)!

  13. Listen, nothing would make me happier than to arrive and see your shining faces! But, you would be sporting the Marge Simpson 'do, wouldn't you? It would be so disappointing if you weren't.... ;-)

  14. Borobia Academy for Witchcraft and Wizardry is my vote!

  15. I wanna be in the Top Secret Adventures Club!!!

  16. Oh Dweej - I just love you! I am so wrapped up in this adventure. Maybe because deep down inside I would love to do the same thing. Love the alphabet mat - haha - good luck with that ;)

  17. Okay, so I read the first part of this post and thought, "must tell Dweej about Charlotte Mason!" But, you already know! You're brilliant! We teach Charlotte Mason style at the private school I work at, and it. is. AWESOME. Very you. And the narration stuff from Charlotte Mason? It makes kids brilliant, for real. I've had kids go up four grade levels in reading comp in one year, from narration alone. It's a beautiful thing!

  18. Hey! They will go to B.A. just like you did!! Another cowinkydinky? I think not! ~ LD

  19. Sending you many virtual high fives. We considered homeschooling T next year so I looked into it a bit...I'll send you what I have. : )

  20. Hah! That is too funny, Les. B.A. We could have all the same cheers and everything ;)

  21. That is super exciting! Looks like you have all been busy! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I will have to keep up with all of your progress, so I am your newest folower!

  22. I am right there with Lucy: Charlotte Mason sprang to my mind when you mentioned homeschooling so many posts ago. I am definitely going to get Elizabeth Foss' book. (Doesn't homeschooling seem like such a UD thing?)

  23. Dweej,
    First, YAY!!!! So excited for you guys.
    Second, I think that was my exact reaction when I read Real Learning. So very cool. (And Edith Stein!!!! She's my hero! I got to go to her canonization in Rome with my parents back when I had no idea who she was. We had tickets that let us sit almost in the front. It was awesome.)

    Yes. Homeschooling is such a UD thing.

  24. Welcome to Homeschooling! I happened onto your blog while checking a Google search for my own :-) So, a new follower here and I look forward to getting to know you better.

    Gidget @ Homeschooling Unscripted
    Recent Post: Favorite Math Resource - EVER!

    You may also be interested in my recent post on how we organize our schedule as you begin the search to find your own scheduling style :-) http://bit.ly/p3AHYW

  25. I read Elizabeth Foss's book over and over espcially when I have bad days with home schooling it helps me and the kids get back on track. I consider her book to be essential to my way of teaching and thinking with my kids and their school work.


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