Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Finishing Well, OR, I'm Behind Before I Even Get Started!!

Well, crap. That's the way to be positive, isn't it? I went to a Finish Well conference over the weekend. I took the big girl and we both had several friends that attended. (Yet another thing I adore about homeschooling. I know all the parents of my kids' friends and they are friends of mine.) It is a conference on how to homeschool through high school. It was very enlightening. There were so many speakers and workshops and I wish I could have gone to every one of them. The main thing I did find out was that I should have gone last year, before the big girl started high school. I am already behind the 8 ball.

All of that to say that we are on track with what I had planned this year. The glorious thing about homeschooling in our state is that NOBODY tells us what curriculum to use or how much to use or what to do. Not even in high school. We have plowed our way through year after year, loving some things, ditching others. Over all, though, my kids have had a great education. The things I am behind on are those things that my kids would need in high school to earn what we call a Bright Futures Scholarship. That is a state sponsored scholarship (that is decreasing faster and faster every year and may not be there by the time she graduates anyway). It requires hoop jumping because we homeschool. I despise jumping through hoops. It tends to make me a little snarky. So here's what we have to do to catch up. Or get started. Or finish halfway. Or whatever!

  • 2 years of a foreign language: We aren't really behind on this. She still has 3 more years to take 2 years of a foreign language. I have the Latin program we are going to start next year. Except for foreign languages, as Bright Futures wants it, cannot be taught at home. It doesn't matter how good or bad your program, it has to be taught by a teacher. It doesn't matter that the program we are using is taught by a Latin teacher. It doesn't matter that it's one of the most highly recommended curriculums for teaching Latin. What matters is that she would be learning it at home. Ready for the kicker? She can take it online through the public school as a homeschooler and it will count. Say what? She could go to school and take the class and come home after the class is over. She could take a class at the local junior college. She just can't take the class at home using a homeschool curriculum that is also used in many private schools. Now I have an extra workbook. Which is not an issue in the grand scheme of things, it just makes me snarky.
  • She should have been writing: Apparently one of the things that BF likes is language arts with lots of writing. We're talking term papers, research projects, and fun things like that. There was a research paper that she could have done through her science curriculum and writing opportunities at the end of her language arts stories. I didn't have her do any of those. Her language arts last year was creative writing. She did a bang up job and I am extremely proud of the work she did. Yeah, it's a new dawn. It's a new day. I am not feeling fine. I was trying to give her a break from the constant writing. Apparently, she gets to make up for that next year.
  • More grammar, more problems: There is only so long you can teach grammar. A noun is a noun is a noun. Do you think that's going to change? I don't know, but I have 2 words for you- new math. There was nothing wrong with the old math, but I am not the one making the rules. I am the one making sure my kids get a great education, not starting something that parents can't help their kids with because they've never had to do it. But I digress. Again. Duh. I have a grammar curriculum that my other two kids have been using and guess who gets to start there? That would be the big girl. She hasn't done grammar in probably 3 years. And now it's time for a refresher course.
I am thankful that there really isn't that much that we lack. There may be 1 more area, but I need to do some research before I commit. I need to plot and plan the next three years before this one is over to make sure that she has what she needs for a BFS. She hasn't expressed an interest in college much, but that could change. If it changes, I want to know that we have done everything we can to help her achieve her goals. There is a crack down on dual enrolling because of the money it's costing the state and the schools. There may not be a Bright Futures program in 3 years. All I can say is, we start over so we can finish well. And we're not really starting over, we're just going to readjust some things to make it fit the hoops. I don't hate the players, I hate the game. Scrabble is one of my favorites and that may be what this becomes before it's over. All that complaining about how busy we are? It may get worse before it gets better. At least from a big girl.

Have a great day.