This month’s Homeschool Highschool Carnival is the inaugural month for the carnival. The topic?
The big picture .Homeschool Highschool Carnival
How does my family’s “big picture” affect what our highschool homeschooler does, on a daily or weekly basis?
It occurred to me that the best way to show this big picture was to show a week in brief. This week, in fact.
Monday, I arrive home after morning work to a pot of freshly made tea, and after picking up the extra boy, a friend, who homeschools with us. Tea made by my last homeschooler/unschooler, Anthony, newly seventeen. I know that he will have tidied the kitchen, begun laundry, practiced piano and done some reading and Facebooking by now. How do I know? Past experience. And how does this fit our big picture? We value self direction and self regulation. We value independence. And I don’t believe in micro managing the life of a teen. Here is where our years of doing chores together and learning together and spending time blossoms into a teen who can be trusted to make wise decisions on his own.
And the even bigger picture is that it is fine to try new things, make mistakes, fall, pick yourself up, especially now in the teen unschooling years , in the safety and support of family.
Anthony and his friend are joined by another homeschooling friend and they spend the day playing role playing games, reflecting our philosophy of everything counts as learning and learning happens all the time. And the day closes with mass together after my evening work and Anthony choosing to review some work for his New Testament Greek class, which he attends through the Catholic Adult Education Centre. Faith as a priority and interest lead learning.
Tuesday we met at the local library after my morning work. Living books have been our core unschooling curriculum and libraries are hang out places for us. An older university aged son and I tutor young twins at the library and Anthony and friends read and research and borrow books. That vision of self motivated learners again. We have morning tea with a friar. We look up recipes for the feast day. I drop off Anthony to his part time job as a Kumon Education Assistant on my way to work… we value earning your own money and working as a team and experiences in the community. We attend mass in the evening again, Anthony as altar server. Living books and living faith.
Wednesday we discuss Anthony’s course through Open University. He has just completed first year Spanish and is now studying The Archaeology of Ancient Israel. History and languages are big interests for Anthony. Our goal has been to expose and strew and to allow children to pick and choose and try many activities and areas and experiences. That’s the generalisation part. The specialisation then seems to arise naturally over time, in the teen years. In between my work, I teach Catechism at the state school, Anthony and his friends and I talk about many things, we do housework, they play games and listen to music and read, I do my university assignment. Having passions and interests as a mother, being a learning role model, has also been part of the vision and has helped me practice what Charlotte Mason calls masterly inactivity, simply because I have been busy with my own passions, too busy to be a “hover” parent.
Drama class and baking a cake for the feast day and watching and discussing science fiction rounds the day and the learning…yes, that interest lead, social life is important, faith is a priority and everything counts philosophy again.
Thursday brings friend and Anthony planning their day – games in the morning and more formal work after lunch they decide. Anthony’s formal work? Study for his NT Greek class and reading for his uni and reading more of Jane Austen, his current reading craze. NT Greek class is skipped, however, for a Beach Boys concert with his university student older three brothers still living at home. Family time and building strong sibling ties was one of the reasons we chose to homeschool, its part of the vision of strong family and childhood memories that I have held dear, since my childhood reading of books such as Little House on the Prairies and Vanload to Venice and Ballet Shoes and I Capture the Castle.
Friday? Pride and Prejudice on DVD with our extra homeschooler friend ( those living books again). Food technology – cooking Spaghetti Bolognese for lunch. Games. Piano lessons and taking public transport there and back while mum and brothers at work. Attend a Holy Hour (okay, with work and picking up brothers, its more of a Holy Half Hour!). Youth group at our parish. Dinner and talking and then gaming with brothers and their friend. Family and faith and independence yet again.
The big picture in the teen years? Building on the memories and experience and strewing of the earlier years. Experimenting with more and more self regulation in the warmth of home. Branching out with work and interests in the community and with following interests, in preparation for future study and work and for joy right now. Emphasising family and faith and friends.