Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fortnight Ending 16 August 2015

We seem to have hit a mid-winter slump - hence the lack of posting. I'm still getting over the 'flu and doing anything beyond the basics continues to feel like too big an effort. Miss 14 is totally "over" her academic work for the year. I think part of her problem is that the workload for each subject has ramped up the closer we get to the end of each course so her workday is getting longer and longer. Sadly for her we've still got six week to go until the end of the term when we had planned to finish. And it seems unlikely we'll actually be done then due to our extra week's break in July. She's still diligently plodding along but there is no real joy, love or spark. I always worry that when that happens it is too easy to go through the motions without doing any actual learning.

So we've been brainstorming how to change things up and reassessing what we actually need to do to be "done" with the assigned work for the year. Many of my suggestions (we could just quit on the planned date - after all the world won't end if we don't complete every lesson in the text; we could spread the work out so our formal year lasts longer but we have more free time each day; she could cut her coaching and/or training hours to free up some time) haven't met with approval, but some did get a" maybe", including the idea of  just concentrating on one one or two subjects for a while until they are totally completed and then moving on to the other subjects. So we are still in a state of flux, figuring out what needs to be completed and how to complete it while staying sane-ish (at the minimum) at the same time. But we have reached some decisions.

1. She doesn't need to complete every exercise in her Latin programme. It was one course where the length of the lessons got progressively longer as the year went on. I've always allowed my kids to complete just half the given problems for each Saxon maths lesson - so long as they continued to score above an agreed mark. We'll do the same with Latin for the rest of the year.

2. For the remaining unit of physics (electricity and magnetism) we've dropped the textbook we were using and have switched to another programme I had on my shelf. Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday and the new programme covers the same material but is taking her a shorter amount of time to complete.

3. We'll condense geography by not requiring every map work exercise or every research question to be completed. About half seems right and if she cooperates with Mr 17 they can benefit from each other's learning. I'll also replace some of the exercises she finds dull and time consuming with something of my own design.

4. Our semester of art history and appreciation is over and we've started music history and appreciation. This was planned at the start of the year and isn't a response to our recent slump but I think the injection of something new into the schedule might also provide a boost. I've designed the course myself mainly using chunks of this Coursera MOOC, but supplemented by material from the Georgia Virtual Learning site. One upside is that the course is mainly video lectures which we haven't had a lot of for a while - variety is the spice of life and all that. The downside is that this is the one course that will definitely continue far beyond our planned stopping point.

My current reading pile. The Fellowship of the Ring is for my Classics Club challenge, while I'm assessing The World of Birds for use in next year's potential ornithology course. When the current year stops being fun, looking ahead to next year is a good way to raise my spirits!

This week I made a concentrated effort to inject a bit more fun into the week. We started on Monday with a morning at the swimming pool. Funnily enough Miss 14 managed to get most of the work she would normally do on a Monday finished despite only working in the afternoon. On Tuesday we ended up birding for most of the day. We had a planned ramble in the morning but the weather was so nice most of the group decided to extend it with a picnic lunch by the lake and some more birding in the afternoon. We only just got Miss 14 to the gym in time but it was worth it. The fresh air and sunshine helped improve our mood.

Miss 14's current reading pile. Red Scarf Girl is part of her World Literature course. The two bird related books are pure enjoyment.

In other news from this week - and last.

Mr 17 has started a defensive driving course. It will shave six months off the time he has to stay on his restricted license meaning he'll be able to sit for his full license as early as next month.

Mr 17's current reading material!

Miss 14 had another successful trampoline competition. Just one more to go before Nationals at the end of next month!

She's also been busy writing our region's column for the a national birding magazine. She attempted to publish this month's local birding newsletter but is still waiting for some crucial information so that is on hold. Hopefully she'll get what she needs this week.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

1 comment:

  1. A thing my teens have discovered is that, as you grow up, life sometimes simply 'just is' hard work or boring and you have to plod along regardless .... What I hope to teach mine by example is that when life gets like this, and it invariably will from time to time, carrying on with grace and fortitude is key ....

    With homeschooling being able to swap out a subject or find different books or in some other fashion change things up when our kids are struggling is also a nice thing to be able to do. I do appreciate the flexibility and freedom of homeschooling! Sometimes for us, simply changing the time of day a certain subject is studied has made a big difference in terms of the kids' energy and engagement.