Monday, August 26, 2013

Winging It--My Homeschool Plan for the Year

Today was the first day of school. And I totally winged it. (Wang it? Wung it? What is the past tense of the verb 'to wing' anyway?) My pregnant brain is seriously planning-challenged and distracted these days.

I've had school years when my goal was to teach them something in particular or to keep it cozy. This year? This year, I really just want to finish. I'm not even tacking on 'finish strong.' I really do just mean 'finish.'

We've got a few major things going on this year.
Our oldest will graduate in December with his B.S. in Air Traffic Control Management.
Our fourth will graduate in the spring from high school.
Just the prospect of having to do another graduation is daunting.
Dates, diplomas, invitations, speeches, locations....and on it goes...
I've got one seventh grader trying to finish Boy Scouts strong before we leave in December--you know, right before the Boy Scouts become the new Girl Scouts.
Throw in Teen Court, team policy debate, speech, ultimate frisbee and science club.

And we're swamped.

Did I mention that this little one, who still has no name, will arrive sometime in the fall? Not that that's an incredible impediment to homeschooling. It's not the Year of the Newborn that's challenging. It's the Year of the Climbing Eighteen Month Old Who Has Learned to Test Boundaries and Eat Pennies that is the challenge. And that, thankfully, will not come until later.

So. Here we are.
My books have come in. And up until last night, as in night before First Day of School, I had not distributed them to their permanent homes on each child's desk. But I did manage--somewhere in between all of us grieving over losing the two college guys this weekend and settling a rather emotional roommate squabble--to have the 'this is what's expected of you this year' conversation with each kid.

I've got a senior and a freshman on the docket, in addition to seventh, fifth, third, and first grader...
And an energetic four year old caboose who chooses to root through our 8,000 pieces of lego while I'm trying to do read-aloud.

We'll be doing the usual three r's. That's a given.
But the senior will be our first to complete the third year of World Views of the Western World in which she takes a critical look at the 20th and 21st centuries and reads such happy gems as The Plague and Walden Two. Can't wait. Nothing says cozy like Camus. The freshman will be embarking on her first world view voyage with Starting Points. And the rest will be starting our study of modern history in Sarajevo with Archduke Ferdinand.

The real gem this year, I think, will be The Art of Poetry by Christine Perrin. If you truly have a sick sense of humor, you'll put this somewhere obvious-but-not-so-obvious and just wait...At some point, each child will come to you in a panting sort of panic and will ask, as nonchalantly as possible, who is doing a poetry study this year. And you get to be Mom of the Year when you answer, "Not you." Muahahaha.

No, this is a study for high school. And I think it's going to be good, since I'm only slightly better at poetry than at art, and that's only because it is a linguistic art form.
Cubism I don't get.
(though, if you must watch a nude descending a staircase, cubism is the way to go. But I digress...)
Linguistics I get.
I'm even toying with the idea, in all my evil genius-ness, of ending with a Poetry Slam.

Yes, my rationalist bent gets seriously out of joint with all this romanticism. It's not that I don't enjoy beauty.
It's just that it has to be on my to-do list.

As in...
Stop and smell the flowers.

But what's truly romantic is the sounds and sights of books...
and kids curled up in chairs reading them...
and the coos of a newborn somewhere in the not-too-distant future.

Even winging it, it's going to be a good year.

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