While 2014 has been a good year in many ways, there are things that have happened that have or will change our lives in 2015. My dad completed his radiation treatments but is now in rehab to build up his strength so that he can return home to be with my mom. Life for him is still uncertain at times, and we hope that he will be able to return home next year.
After much soul searching, research, and particularly prayers, and due to changes in the school program that DD completed and DS was working on and the adverse affects to DS–very little eating for 1 1/2 months for a growing teenager, major attitude changes–we chose to complete the semester and once final exams were done, we withdrew him from this program. This decision was not made lightly and I have hesitated to share it here until we were sure that ALL of us were onboard with the idea. It was very important that DS “buy into” this change.
While this program was schooling at home and we had been pleased with it through the time that DD was in it, we have since had to re-evaluate it and will be traditionally homeschooling DS for the next semester and potentially through 12th grade. Discussion was held with his homeroom teacher in the program and as the mother of three boys, she fully supported this change. She told us emphatically that she thoroughly enjoyed having DS in her classes and would miss him greatly but that a child is only 14 once and we needed to make sure his needs were the focus of our efforts. DS has straight As in this program which made this decision very hard to make. We have been assured that he can go back to this program at any time, however we are pursuing other avenues for now. Two of the largest factors we considered in this decision was DS losing his love for learning–which we had seen his sister go through at about the same time and didn’t want to repeat that mistake–as well as the adoption of Common Core standards and implementation in the program. While we found the standards to be achievable and good, the implementation by the teachers of the English and Algebra 2 courses was based solely on “teaching to the tests”.
Additionally DS was not allowed to take classes that would allow him to explore other areas of interest because they had decided only six classes could be taken and the elective classes for him to be prepared for college were a foreign language (Spanish) and what I would term a “fluff” class called Academic Advisory. This class was to cover all the testing for the PSAT–not a whole lot of prep even so–and the SBAC in the spring. Everything else was mandatory and even though there were other electives, he was not allowed to take them because these were the six classes he could pursue.
The plan for the homeschooling is to actually pursue the learning of Algebra 2 concepts through the Saxon curriculum. There will be some adjustments but this curriculum is solid and should prepare him well for college. As for American Literature, instead of “teaching to the test”, he will be reading, discussing, and analyzing full works of literature, not excerpts. His scores on the PSAT saw this area as well as some of the grammar areas as weak so we will be addressing those specifically. DS loves to read anything he can get his hands on, so we will keep the Kindle app and library busy providing books. We will continue with another Biology curriculum moving on from where he stopped. DH will be teaching the World History and has found a lovely thick tome for them to dig through. Best of all, DS will be pursuing his interest in German instead of Spanish. Since it has been over 1 1/2 years since he has worked on German, we will review and then pursue the Living Language German program with lessons both offline and online. DS will also be completing a couple of introductory classes to Engineering for high schoolers to see how that fits into his chosen career as a civil engineer. And finally, he will not only have time to prepare fully for the Pathfinder Bible Experience competitions on the book of Matthew that are on January 24 and February 21, but he will be able to begin learning C++ programming language. DS will be busy, but he will be pursuing things he enjoys and wants to learn as well as the things he needs to learn. We are praying that this will give him back his love of learning, which is the most important reason for going to school.
So as we close 2014, I must say that despite everything that has and is happening, we are most blessed. DH will be moving to a day shift at his work with weekends off beginning January 19. DD did very well last semester in college and with work and is finally blossoming again. DS is actually looking forward to school beginning again next week. He’s sneaking in a lodge camping trip with his Pathfinder club this weekend and a winter backpacking trip with DH and the Teen Extreme group the end of January for just some great fun. And despite the cold still hanging on, I’m looking forward to seeing my family happy and prospering with God at the center of our home for the New Year! I hope that each one of you will invite Him to be the center of your home and lives in the coming New Year!