Tuesday, October 25, 2022

10/25/22 By way of explanation for a random post in a dead blog, I just want to share the link to this years-old draft with my kids. On Facebook. So I'm finally publishing it. Done. ...I should come back...

2014 Random stuff, and not in order of importance.
This is something I saved from early in the fall, a sample of one daughter's Bible study.  Love this method.

School stuff:
You know I am always threatening to be a radical unschooler, and I did come close to making that jump this year. But this is Amy's last year of  "school", and even though she practically unschools already, Amy didn't want to mess it all up with something new. (We did mess it up anyway, but not with unschooling.) Betz is just starting her high school career, and, having a fuzzy long term idea about working in health services ?? someday, she wanted to just do "school" the way that it's commonly accepted. And Emily, well, Emily is, sorry to say, just subject to whatever I choose for her. So the unschooling idea was abandoned, and we went for a compromise of structure:  academic co-op.

It was time. The ACE/School of Tomorrow stuff we were using was what the kids called "copy and paste" school -- read the selection and answer the questions, questions which are given in the exact same wording and in the same order that they are given in the reading. That was easy and came in handy when we were in a hurry to get school "done" and run out the door, but not a whole lot was sticking. For us it was busy-work and an insult to kids' capabilities and creativity. Maybe we weren't doing it right. (Probably not.)

But ACE gave us some other problems. One, there was very little critical thinking involved. So the first (and second, and third) time we were asked to do something that required a bit of thought, a mutiny nearly took place. I actually heard accusations -- from my sweet children! -- of torture and such like atrocities! It was very difficult for them to get over being spoon-fed information and being asked to regurgitate it back in the same form. Another problem -- I also felt the need to try to cut the spending. We already have a good library and plenty of educational stuff around here -- math books, English books, great Bible and Baptist (church) history stuff -- so we limited our school spending to just science and social studies and one elective.

Enter co-op. Our co-op costs only $50 per family per semester, plus books, which we'd have had to buy anyway. The older girls are taking a tough Notgrass U.S. Government class and Total Health, plus a creative cooking class. Emily has ancient history, physical science, and art. The kids have essays, presentations, reports, speeches, and demonstrations to do. We are completely out of our copy-and-paste ACE-school element, and waaay out of our comfort zone! The sense of torture is real!  And not just for the students -- the mother also feels tortured!!! Due mostly to the dreaded essay questions, all three kids have begged to be allowed to quit co-op. One even went so far as to ask what terrible thing she could do to be expelled. (The answer was, "Nothing.")

But it got better. That same child, in the middle of yet another anti-co-op rant, told me recently that she'd be really angry at me if I did let her quit. :)  (I knew it.)  And so we continue to be stretched beyond the place we thought we could stand it, and -- we can do it!  We're growing!  The essays, torturous as they are, are actually being completed on time and are getting good grades! 

And of course it's not all bad.  It's actually quite good. Each Thursday the kids are excited to leave the house for co-op. They love every moment they are there. They love the activity with other kids in their age group. They're being given the opportunity to use their creativity and use whatever media they are comfortable with to do their speeches and demos and reports -- YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations, even writing a 1666 newspaper article on Sir Isaac Newton's legendary discovery of gravity. They love giving their teachers the impression that they are top students. :) 

And I love the fact that they are responsible to someone else for part of their school work. For I have discovered that turning that accountability over to someone else's mom (for all of the classes are taught by moms), the girls have really become accountable to themselves. And isn't that one of the reasons why we homeschool, anyway?  Ah.  Success.  It doesn't come easy, but it's sweet when it does come.

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