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08 March 2012


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That link from Amy Wellborn is some food for thought. We're taking spring break next week and I hope to have some time to process more of these types of questions.
I agree with you that college is for *student* specialization and high school is still very general. We love the classical model and fully expect our children to be very well-rounded and continue building foundations in all of the major subjects.
I was commenting with my tablet yesterday and got lazy. Sorry! What I meant was that grades 1-8 are more general for *teachers* and high school needs more specialization from *teachers*.
What I'm finding is that my daughter does a great job at reading the textbook and doing whatever work I assign her--answer questions, essays, memorization. But I don't have the time to read all of her textbooks and make sure she understands certain nuances. I'm always half-step behind her and don't realize what she's missed until the exam. Then I correct it, but then we're already on to the next thing. She isn't getting any lecture from me and guided discussion on the front end--it's always on the backend, just a step behind. It seems like it should be easy to switch that dynamic, but I've been trying all school year and haven't been able to manage it.
I'm sensing that she needs a teacher that is immersed somewhat in each subject to go more in depth like (I perceive) high school should be. I could absolutely do it--I have the background. But I couldn't keep teaching little ones to read and their math facts all at the same time. I don't feel like I can do it all justice. *I* can't be both generalist and specialist.
On the other hand, her sisters don't want her to go away for school next year--they've told me how much they'll miss her. She is neutral on the issue. It will affect her relationships with her homeschool friends, etc.
I feel like she will lack academically or lack in the spiritual/social realm (Catholic school is not an option, it would be public high school).
Maybe I'm not dying to myself the way I ought. If I give up all pleasure reading and most/all of my online downtime I might be able to switch the dynamic and be more specialized for her. It's my weaknesses that need to be compensated for in this equation, I think.
Thanks again for your always welcome insight.


Okay - I'm throwing this out there because Bearing and I have had similar discussions about this an this is something I eluded to and will be posting about very soon.
Tabitha -
I am doing a great books based high school for my two kids next year, starting with the ancients.
This year, I used Skype to facilitate co-schooling with three families that have similar academic goals for our kids. Next year, I will be dropping all but one individual course (Latin) but we will be replacing that with two 45 minute Socratic Circles via Skype.
What works great with Skype is I can facilitate Socratic Circles with a group of kids without ever having to leave my desk chair. My kids have loved the Skype co-school experience so far. And, we've been doing Socratic Circle type book clubs for many years.
You might want to find others interested providing the same educational experience to their kids and "SHARE" the responsibilities and experiences with them.
It has been a GREAT experience for us and I thank Bearing for all she has posted about her co-schooling experiences because it was the impetus for me doing what we're doing this year.


Tabitha: "If I give up all pleasure reading and most/all of my online downtime I might be able to switch the dynamic and be more specialized for her."

This might be what you are called to, but it sounds pretty bleak!

On the other hand, one can maybe redirect pleasure-reading. I happen to be fond of nonfiction, and have been enjoying reading a lot of history and linguistics. Let's throw some things out here. Suppose you and your daughter read the same books (you during your reading time, she during her school time) and schedule a little time together to discuss and discover them together?


Cathie, you are welcome. You are always an inspiration!

LMK if you want to guest-post or cross-post here about the Skype co-schooling. It is a model I had not really thought of till I saw your enthusiasm for it!


Cathie, I went to your blog from Erin's original post and I noticed the stuff about skype-schooling. I love the concept and will have to think/pray about whether that will work for us (and if there is another family that would want to join in). The idea of sharing the responsibility and experience is so appealing to me. I'm drowning in trying to do it myself this year. I'd love to teach science classes and even math. How did you find/choose the other families to work with?

I probably sounded all melodramatic--it's how I'm feeling. This year of homeschooling has been a rough one for me as I thought I had all of this nailed down (I spent all last summer researching all of my options, praying about it, and making a decision) and once I got started in 8th grade it's just not worked out well--which may itself be the answer to the prayers.

I have read all of her literature books this year--the issue has been adding in the discussion time. I haven't read all of her science text and history text, though. I prefer my escape into The Hunger Games, or a health blog, or whatever book is for book club that month.

I'm either going to have to outsource some/all of her education or get over my preferences in a big way.


Tabitha, another option is to go deeper -- fewer books, deeper in.

My 6th-grader (taught by H., with another 6th-grader and an 8th-grader) are doing *two* books this year in literature.

One is the Iliad, though, and the other is Beowulf.

Meanwhile, at home with me, religion is *one* book this year: The Acts of the Apostles.

But we're taking them all really slowly, and looking very closely at what we are doing.


Tabitha, I second Bearing on the deep not vast...Andrew Campbell's Latin Centered Curriculum has a chapter titled Multum non multa - Much, not many.
His approach to literature is similar.
Regarding Skyping, I found the families via a large homeschool support group. Through that support group, I've met many moms who, upon talking, wanted the same type of class or experience for their child that we wanted for ours. By the way, I tried the co-schooling the year before and it failed because we parents were not aligned on what we wanted for our kids. I wanted social academic experiences, she wanted social experiences. This year, we have a schedule. I actually picked up kids and a class half way into the year because of a mom discussion about what curriculum we were using for Latin. The moms involved in the conversation were excited about the book I found and training I had received over the summer and asked if I'd take their boys. I laugh because I am learning it with them. It has been very good for all of us.
So, I will tell you it has been very, very good for my kids. Today we were reading a play in Latin and to have fun with it, we had the girls reading the boys' roles and the boys' reading the girls. We were all in stitches and learned a ton in the process. All of this via Skype. These kids are now best friends.
By the way, I call what you are going through the "8th Grade Panic." I've seen several other mom's go through the same thing. I have at least three friends with the same stress. The good news is stress can be a powerful motivator and with prayer (which you are doing) can lead you to places you have not imagined.
I never envisioned my school year going this way. A lot of this is prayers answered and a huge amount of guidance by the Holy Spirit. There are serious pros and cons to co-schooling, which I will be addressing in an upcoming blog post.


Cathie, you and your husband ought to start martketing yourselves as homeschool tech consultants. Seriously!


I'll just offer my experience for whatever it is worth:

my oldest will be a senior for the coming academic year. I did it all with her, and I see the gaps in her education. I don't feel like I failed, but I definitely feel like I could have done better. When I think about these things, I try to picture her homeschooling her own children and to be honest, I am not sure how well she will do. She is thinking of cosmetology school, and I think that would be great for her. She does not enjoy school work and I don't think it is worth going to college to be miserable for 4 years when she does not really need one for a career. At least at this point. The main advantage for her going to college would be to improve her education to better prepare her to home school her own children.

My next oldest is going to be in 9th grade. He is more likely to go to college and I realize, after my experience with my oldest, that I am just not prepared to get him ready for that. Furthermore, our relationship is not the best. I think our interactions are not necessarily abnormal for teen boy/mom interactions, but it is frustrating. We live in the country and our public high school is simply not an option (poor academics, and from what I understand, prevalent drugs). Our closest Catholic high school is an hour away, and in all honesty I think the culture there is not that great. So I researched prepackaged curricula options and more distant education options. We are going with Seton. I will have to add courses because I think they are more basic in what they offer, but more importantly they will do the grading. Finally, it is within our cost range.

I don't feel like as a parent I need to make sure they know everything but more importantly can learn what they need to learn. I have definitely made them do a lot of independent work and my oldest is awesome about it.

I think, after all these years of homeschooling, I have sort of shifted my focus. At first I wanted to be the perfect home school mom with kids who were very educated and perfectly behaved and self motivated. Now I am shifting to wanting kids who can think and reason and learn, and who are respectful. My two main maxims: love God, love your neighbor -- be obedient (love God), and be respectful (love your neighbor).

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