Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017-2018 Mid Year Reflections...

We are at the half way point in our 2017-2018 academic year. Having completed Term One, we are now in the midst of Term Two. Last week we completed Week 18, out of our thirty-six week year. Thus far, this has been a very different kind of academic year in many ways.

Over the past couple of years, Riley Ann has been consistently gaining independence. I have since been working on assisting Ruben toward greater independence.  Because of his learning differences and dyslexia, he was a late bloomer in many academic areas. He will continue to need one on one teaching in key areas such as math and language arts, but is now able to read some of his books for himself. Also, over the past couple of years, we mastered an assignment notebook system that suits him, allowing him to see at a glance what needs to be done for the day and begin what he can. In addition, Ruben enjoys audio books and this has been a key piece in his puzzle of learning.

Middle school is a great time to make that transition to independent learning. I want my high schoolers to be motivated self-starters as they prepare for adulthood and life in the real world. This doesn't happen over night. It takes time and habit training. In addition, I've been thinking about Levi coming up. When he starts Year 1 in the fall, he will require complete dependence when he begins his formal lessons. It's important that the older kids have a great foundation and are able to work somewhat, if not totally, independently so as my time and effort can be primarily spent on Levi, the beginning student. The first half of this academic year has been trial and error, as Ruben tests the water toward greater independent learning.

In addition, both Riley and Ruben have jobs. Though they've both been working out of the home for a couple of years now, hours and phone calls for help have increased as they mature. It's been a balancing act on my part to coordinate their working life with their academic life. I feel they are both important areas as they are learning a great deal from their books, as well as working outside the home. I've been thinking a lot about what Cindy Rollins wrote in Mere Motherhood...
As homeschooling became more complicated with so many glitches, hardships, and moves, I started streamlining our days. I made sure that we were having Morning Time and that the boys were doing math, a written narration, and reading for two to three hours each day. Housework, farm chores, and the constant stream of farming neighbors who needed a 'boy' for the day helped all this add up to a decent education. (p. 62)
This is totally my world right now. Thank goodness, we are not moving, but have had a few other hiccups. I most relate with the last sentence regarding the housework, farm chores and constant stream of neighbors needing help. I have come to see that there's so much more to an education than book learning. I too am learning life lessons as I have been called upon for an extra job, though it's an unpaid position.

In July of 2016, we answered a phone call that would change our lives drastically. Our elderly neighbor had fallen and was injured, but refused medical treatment. Her son was trying to care for her, but knew she needed more help so called us to come in and aid. I had no idea what we were walking in to, but knew God called us to take care of the widows and children. It took me three days to talk her into seeking medical treatment, at which time we found her hip was severely broken and required surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery needed to be delayed for another week, because of her ill health from waiting so long to get proper medical help.

Long story short, after surgery, she went for rehab, which didn't go well. She ended up in a guardianship trial with the county courts, in which I was appointed her legal guardian for finance and medical. This undertaking has been much bigger than I could have ever imagined. There has been hours of phone calls and paperwork, filing forms and reporting to the county, in addition to her physical and medical care needs. Initially, we spent days driving to and from various assisted living facilities, until we settled on one that would best meet her needs. Since that time, I have been responsible for making and taking her to all her medical appointments, in addition to the paperwork and finance that comes as part of managing her farm. As part of my guardianship duties, I also have to maintain regular visits and welfare checks to ensure that she is receiving the best care and all her needs are being met. The time spent has definitely altered our home school! However, as Cindy said, I have learned to streamline our days.

This year, I actually brought back Morning Time, which has been a huge blessing. We are conquering many books and beautiful ideas together, that most likely would have other wise fallen by the wayside given our crazy schedule. Riley has continued with her Year 8 plan independently and is doing a great job! Ruben is working through his Year 7 plan and definitely making progress. Some days, it feels like we're schooling on the fly, but some how by the grace of God, it's all coming together. They are reading, writing, and doing math. All things considered, the year is going well.

I am so grateful for home education and the flexibility it allows our family. Over and above book learning, the kids are acquiring valuable life lessons, not only on the farm, but from working for others, and caring for our neighbor. I love that we can do this thing called life together!

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