Friday, September 23, 2016

Week Ending 25 September 2016

This was the week I officially declared our homeschooling year over. Given that most of Miss 15's courses don't have textbooks or outlines or any sort of formal guidelines deciding when we were "done" came down to a gut decision.

Algebra 2 did have a textbook and at the start of the week seven lessons remained. The majority of those covered geometric proofs and the lessons were poorly taught in my opinion. So we completed the non-proof lessons and then I searched online for some lessons that covered the geometry material and we used that instead.

In her child labour course she had investigated the issues in two distinct historical periods and then looked at the issues involved with child labour today. That seems a nice, tidy package to me. Her interest is sated and to do more would just be to do more for the sake of doing more. I doubt huge amounts of extra knowledge or insight would be gained. In other words this course feels done.

We dabbled a little in oology this week and closely examined a chicken egg.

Ornithology was a buffet course and I had gathered far more resources than we'd ever use. So it isn't surprising that we haven't done "everything". But the goal was never to do everything but simply to let Miss 15 pick what interested her. And she's done a lot - read living books, attended lectures and workshops by experts, covered topics like anatomy, evolution, ethography, conservation and phylogeny, conducted plenty of observations, completed a lot of field work including assignments from university level courses, taken part in some citizen science projects, learnt about statistical analysis, and a whole lot more. Since birding is a passion I know she'll continue to learn in this area. But I'm equally confident that even if she did nothing else bird-related ever again that the work she has completed this year is more than worthy of a highschool credit. So ornithology is also officially done.

I only had vague plans for Miss 15's writing course this year. I had hoped she'd do two online courses but she didn't especially enjoy or benefit from the first one, and the second one just felt way too pricey. So we mostly did our own thing. She ended up producing  eight major pieces of work including a book review, an expository essay, a scientific critique, a persuasive essay, a scientific research paper plus several smaller pieces, many for actual publications. She also worked through several writing exercises, chiefly from Help for High School. Since I'm all about quality rather than quantity this feels sufficient. I've also been reminded that trying to force Miss 15 to write following someone else's guidelines, especially  regarding process,  is more likely to result in complaints than a quality product! I know she was exposed to some new ideas and techniques, but it has to be up to her which if any she applies to her future writing. While her writing could always improve (whose couldn't?) I believe Miss 15 could competently write a university level essay and undertake whatever writing might be required in the adult world, even if we never do any more writing instruction. Consequently I'm happy to declare this course is also complete.

The arrival of spring is another factor leading us to end our formal homeschooling and move into a more low-tide learning phase.
Essentially her four main courses all feel finished. Conveniently this is also the last week of the official school term and Miss 15 will be out of town next week so we'd be taking break anyway. There are still a couple of weeks to go in her MOOC on slapstick in the movies so we'll finish that up when she gets home - not that watching and discussing slapstick really feels like work.

When I declare that our homeschooling year is over what I really mean is our formal, structured, high-tide, and somewhat parent-led learning is over. There will undoubtedly still be plenty of learning for the remainder of the year. It's just likely to be low-tide, child led,  unstructured and less formal.

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

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