Monday, January 2, 2017

Limping Along: Our Semi-Eclectic Approach to Homeschooling

I am so excited to be participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair, hosted by my friend Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds.  I'll be posting each Monday of January, I hope, about my homeschool and what we have planned for this semester.  This week, the 25 (or more!) participating bloggers are posting in the topic See How We Learn/Welcome to the Fair.

In coming weeks, we'll be looking at the following:
  • January 9 - Playing with Words: the Language Arts
  • January 16 - Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science
  • January 23 - Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science
  • January 30 - Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World
Don't those sound fun?

This week, kicking it off though, is about "how we get it done."  I have a thing or two to say about that.  Because it seems like more often than not, I don't get it done.

My homeschooled kids are in 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades, plus (for another few days) I have one home from college.  We've homeschooled from the beginning, and my approach has changed quite a lot from those early days.

Once upon a time, things were fairly scheduled.  We knew what we needed to do, and we did it.  I worked methodically through programs, finishing one up before starting something else.  We read aloud.  A lot.  And read aloud more.  A lot of that had to do with finances, really.  Library cards are the best homeschooling bargain out there.  With purchased curriculum, I did not have the funds to get something else if what I had wasn't working, so my only real option was to tweak it until it worked.

Once I started reviewing -- and we got some bills paid off -- there was more ability to be flexible and to drop the stuff that didn't work.  The other thing that happened at that time was that my oldest hit middle school.  Up until then, we had successfully stayed all together for all kinds of schoolwork.  That started to be a lot harder to do, though.

Fast forward to the last year or so.  I have older high school student(s), younger high school, middle school, elementary...  their needs are all over the place, and things just aren't as easy to coordinate anymore.

One thing I tend to do is to gear things to the oldest.  Last year, that meant that whatever courses Connor still needed to do, those were the ones we were doing.  We focused on getting his high school work done and filling in gaps on his transcript.  His high school brother came along for the ride, and got many of those things done for his high school credits as well.  Connor loved a printed book, so my tendency towards literature-based, leaning classical, semi-traditional worked for him.

Now it is is William's turn, and our school tends to focus on him a bit more.  He loves audio and video, and eats up history.  So our schooling is leaning in a completely different direction.  We utilize video-based courses, particularly our subscription to The Great Courses Plus, but also some other amazing resources. 

Thomas loves video too, but he's more interested in the technical side.  He's got his own YouTube channel, and is busy creating stop motion videos.  Currently, he's shooting footage of the moon landing, which I think is going to be pretty incredible.  He's also my artsy one,

Richard and Trina tend to do a lot of activity-based schooling, along with a bunch of online things.

All of that leaves ME feeling a bit scattered and like we're going along -- limping along -- in a million different directions.  It isn't what I envisioned sixteen years ago when I really started homeschooling.  
One thing I discovered, in pulling together a transcript for Connor, is that we do get more done than I think sometimes.  We may be running in a million directions, but our a little bit of this, a little bit of that approach has had some great results.


Go check out the other blogs!  I always find these posts to be inspiring and motivating!!  (note: all posts will be live by noon EST, Jan. 2nd)

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

It's All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Setting the Stage- the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair! by Lisa N. @ Golden Grasses

New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Homeschooling - A Glimpse into How We Do it by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

Home Education - 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Schedules, where would I be without them? by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Making a Change - Accountability and Responsibility Through Routine by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

A time to be encouraged is coming.. the Virtual Curriculum Fair by Annette @ A Net in Time

Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind

Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Homeschool Goal Setting – Looking Forward, Looking Back by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

How we don't learn in our homeschool & how I don't plan {2017 Virtual Homeschool Curriculum Fair} by Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos

Learning Our Way by Lisa @ McClanahan 7

2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv'N Lambert Life

If you have relevant posts, definitely feel free to link up!


Four Little Penguins said...

When Kaytie hit middle school, I started having to separate the kids for different subjects. That was SOOOO HARD! Now I do it all the time and hardly think twice about it. I don't have the age spread that you do, though. That would be hard for my brain to keep track of. :P

Sandra said...

I always appreciate seeing how others tackle homeschooling in the highschool years.

Jennifer said...

"Once upon a time things were fairly scheduled." Yes, us too. As the kids have grown and our schedule has filled, our schedule at home has become much less planned out.

Michele said...

"needs all over the place" Boy, do I get that! ;) At least we are not alone! haha

Susan said...

It is hard to keep things together once the oldest hits middle school, isn't it? What we experienced was this tension between that child wanting to still be part of the group, but also wanted to do more of his own thing. Now it's happening with my 2nd oldest (7th grade). I feel like I'm being pulled all over at the same time, lol!

Thank you for joining the VCF. I always enjoy reading your blog. :)

Brittney said...

*covers ears* I'm not listening to this.

I know the separation is coming, but for now I'm keeping my kids together for as long as possible.

I do look forward to the rest of your posts though! ;-)

grtlyblesd said...

We've had a rough patch of not getting things done the last few months. Extra kids, mom out of the country for 2 weeks, different extra kids... but now, I'm hoping we can buckle down and get back to the checklist. Thanks for reminding me that they're still learning, even when I'm not writing it down. :)