Thursday, November 14, 2013

A big break and a big change

It's been sometime since I was last here and all has been well for us all. We enjoyed a visit from my parents and a great summer going with the flow. I had planned to keep up with some semi formal school work over the summer but it didn't quite happen although T2 and I read a lot of chapter books and enjoyed bonding with our new pets. Henry, an unwanted African pigmy hedgehog joined our family on Mother's day and the day before T2 turned eight she became the proud owner of two female guinea pigs she named Belle and Chime - also unwanted pets that we found at the humane society. They are just lovely and we enjoy their whooping and purring.

September rolled around and I couldn't quite figure out my plan for school. I knew the kids would remain home but I felt that after three years I still hadn't quite nailed it. I had tried school at home, work boxes and assorted other styles which all had their pros and cons and none of which seemed quite right even when combined in part. G and I set up free online courses for t1 through various universities finding some really interesting courses that would provide certification of participation which we figured couldn't hurt his high school portfolio ( technically he is grade 8 but we decided to pick and choose based on interest rather than any grade 8 guidelines). We also set up both kids on CTC math  and I am really pleased with it. It is simple, no characters or distracting graphics just a simple lesson followed by questions. You can choose the pass grade, certificates can be earned and weekly reports are emailed to parents. If you call there are special rates for homeschoolers and for one price you can have several kids using it.

We were getting stuff done and then a few days ago it just came to me. T2 is a nature girl and an arty crafter. I decided to base all her school work on nature (except math which will be involved but I want to be sure she has that well covered) and she can tie in as much art as she wants. We will cover history through reading and crafts and most everything else will be nature based. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I know we will both enjoy this approach. So there shall be plenty of nature journaling and studying - even more than usual. Each day she is drawing some thing nature related on a calendar which she is very eager to do each morning and she plans ahead and is excited when she has decided what will be the next picture. We already attend a local nature group and through talking with the leader who is amazing, we have a couple more nature groups to check out as well as a drop in nature hike and birding group.

T1 is covered by the CTC math, the university courses and reading and is doing well. He is especially enjoying a food science course although it makes him hungry and as a 13 year old boy he is already eating constantly!!! He has matured a lot recently and is interested in his health and appearance which has led to him working out at the Y three times a week which he is really enjoying and he is challenging himself. This is amazing as he, like so many kids with Asperger's, has preferred a very sedentary lifestyle in recent years.

Today T2 and I went on a nature walk around our pond. It has been a while since we were last there and it looks very different now the trees are bare and the quiet from the lack of birds but it wasfar from  dull, we found lots of interesting things and I only almost fell on my butt in the mud. My flailing windmill arms saved me from totally wiping out but it was a close call for a second or two!

Our nature walk - we helped send the fairy-like milkweed seeds on their way by launching them into the wind, watching them dance out of sight


Rebecca said...

Amazing! I love to hear about your homeschool! And I think your birds have all flown here :)

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