Monday, June 4, 2012

Finishing our Fourth Year

Summer is upon us!

I can’t believe that we are already finishing up our fourth year!  It feels like we just got started.  What is even scarier to me is that in three more years Middle will graduate and Youngest will be a Junior.  If four years went by this quickly, we’re going to blink and it’ll all be over.
The biggest blessing of homeschooling so far has been our time together.  The boys and I spend so much time learning, exploring, investigating, and just being together.  I can’t tell you how much I value the relationship that this time has allowed us to develop.

Another big blessing, for me, has been being a part of the Homeschool Crew for TOS.  When we started homeschool, I had no idea what was good curriculum and what wasn’t.  By trial and error, we made it through our first year and determined what styles worked best for us.  Mostly, this was good because it gave me a foundation to work from when teaching.  In the third year, I joined the TOS Crew.  At that time, I began getting all sorts of curriculum to review.  Some of it I never would have tried without the Crew, and it’s been wonderful!  Not all of it, of course, but we’re tried different programs and really grown in ways we couldn’t have without it. 
A final coup when it comes to homeschool blessings has been our co-op – TLC.  We lucked into becoming a part of the Teen Learning Center in the middle of our first year.  It’s a group of now over forty families who work together to ensure our teens have the best academic options available to them.  The women who participate are so talented!  I teach writing, and in return have access to ladies who excel in areas like physics or economics.  The school-based format allows my boys to not only receive instruction and accountability from someone else, but to establish friendships and participate in clubs like Student Government and Yearbook.

We are looking forward to summer; the learning doesn’t stop, but the structure changes.  We’ll be doing fun things like hiking, canoeing, going to the amusement park, and geocaching.  There are also those learning opportunities like shortened lessons, driver’s ed, online Spanish, the church retreat, and a trip to Cherokee.  Part of me wishes it weren’t summer because I love our routine, but the other part recognizes the boys love their summer break.  Personally, I can’t wait to get the next year rolling!

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