Saturday, September 8, 2012

Homeschool Back in Session

Clay Model

Well, school is not exactly back in session.
We are actually just tying up some loose ends from last year.
I know I thought that I would have been done with all this a while ago,
but things don't always work out the way we wish they would.
We got all of our 180 days in that we are legally bound to do,
we got our standardized testing done so 
we technically could move on to 
7th Grade.

But, I just don't roll like that...
This is one of the reasons I choose to homeschool.
So, I can educate my child in a way that is individually created for her needs.

I want her to learn ...
Personal Responsibility.
I want her to THINK for hersel.
Is it... 
Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary is it Kind?

I want her to be able to work independently and budget her time.
I want her to fully comprehend her
school work before moving onto something new.

I want her to understand that her education is the tool she needs 
to take her to all the places she dreams for in her future.
I want her to seek knowledge
not just swallow the medicine given to her, like a good little girl.

I want her education to be intentional... and relative.
In this process.
This journey is not always easy... or predictable.

No matter how much you study education in "Theory"
the application is not so rigid.

Just like parenting... 
no two children are alike and what works for one child may not for another.

Mary is a 

Tactile Learner... 

she absorbs more by doing than by simply reading something about a subject 
or being lectured on it.
Unless the lecture has Visual Aids like a movie or a field trip.

I kind of went of subject.

So back to school...

To come up with an end of year grade in 


She had to do 4 things.
1.  Take a final Exam
2.  Come up with a final Project and turn it in
3.  Make a Nature Journal and turn it in
4.  Turn in her completed Notebooking Journal.

COMPLETED being the emphasis.
Every lesson needed to be NEATLY corrected and anything that she had skipped over during the school year needed to be done.
They all needed to be presentation worthy and she was given a final deadline in which to turn them all in.

I gave her a month in a half to do all this.

Now granted...
this was all during the summer, with sports and all sorts of other things going on.
Our schedule was pretty much all over the place.

Yet I really though that she would rise to the occasion and get this all done.

My first Lesson...
was with her Final Science Exam.

I gave her a printed list of Review Questions and said 
"HERE... go Study!"

Three days later she took the test.
She failed miserably.

I hung my head in shame and disgust!

What happened?
After a very passionate conversation/lecture with Mary
I asked her "Did you even study?"
She responded...
"I looked up all the questions in the book"
It was at that point that I humbly came to the understanding that she had absolutely no idea 
HOW to Study.

It had never occurred to me that she would have needed this kinda of instruction.
This was a very eye opening experience for me.

Second lesson...

The deadline that I had given Mary to turn in all her Science work 
came and went.

So, I made excuses to myself of how she had a lot going on and maybe she just needed a little more time.
Because as a Homeschooling Mom, we want our child to succeed, right?

Then the second deadline came and went.
Now I was absolutely livid.

"That's it Mary, there has to be some consequences for your actions or inaction.
 I am giving you an F!"

She immediately started crying and grabbed her books and said ...
"I will do it NOW."

I angrily responded "NOWAY, you had your chance and you blew it.

I was so mad that I didn't even grade it.

Then we went to Virginia to pick up my niece Bayli to bring her back here for a visit.
While I was there I discussed my frustration over this with my brother.
An F to me is simply 

Now granted GRADES were not really something that was necessary for me as a homeschooler up to this point.
She liked seeing a grade... and if it was a C or lower then she needed to do the work over.
That's it.
No report card, no punishment... just do it till you get it done and you understand it.

Well with her going into 7th Grade and transcripts being something in our near future if she wanted to go on to college.
I figured we had better get use to a grading system.

I went off subject again!

Anyway, I was discussing Mary's F in Science with my brother and Celeste.
I know that I can be really strict sometimes
and I wondered if I were expecting to much from her.

When Celeste asked what Mary had picked for her final project and I told her that after going through ALL the projects in her book and narrowing it down to 3 she ultimately decided it would be
Plant a Tree

Celeste jumped up excitedly wanting to help Mary do this project.
It is what she does.

My knee jerk reaction was, 
"No Celeste!  She had her chance and she didn't do it"

Michael agreed with me that she needed to have a consequence for her actions/inaction
but she also needed to complete the task that she was given.

So I decided that she would still have to turn in all her work.
As soon as her cousin goes home, all her sport clinics were done and our friends from Ohio's vacation was over...
I would start taking points off her projects for every day that she did not turn them in.
Not counting the weekends.
However... she was grounded til all her work was finished.
That means 
no TV, computer, phone, play-dates or anything she "wanted" to do outside her normal responsibilities (like taking care of her horse or other animals).

Thank You, Talley's!

Celeste is a landscaper and she loves what she does.
She is constantly saving plants and trees from jobs that are either going to be thrown away and destroyed.

I have been the fortunate beneficiary of many of her saved greenery.

So, Mary has been given yet another opportunity to salvage a decent grade for her 

Final Botany Project

So we travel home with a glimmer of 


I told Mary that even though I was not going to start taking points off her projects til after all the summer commitments were over with and our company had left...
that it didn't mean she couldn't work on her projects before then.
I advised her that it would be in her best interest to try and get a head start on it.

Which I will say...
she did work on it a little.
Not as much as I would have liked for her to but she did make a small effort.

After speaking with some experienced educators about my worries and my expectations.
I realized that I had great expectations
they just may not be exactly 

I was told that
most kids Mary's age need to have things broken down for them.
That maybe I need to give her a syllabus
with more specific expectations that are outlined with multiple deadlines.

Especially with the larger projects like these.

Now the teacher and student are armed with new information and a PLAN.
Another chance for success.

Let's get Going

Monday was our first day back to doing classwork.

I wanted her to finish up all the lessons in her Math Book before we moved on to a new year.
There are 120 Lessons and she is on

Lesson 111

Only 9 Lessons, 1 Investigation and 2 Tests  to go.

Tree Identification

Celeste loaned Mary one of her Landscape books on Trees.
When we got home, 
Mary needed to identified her tree using the book 
before we took Bayli home.

Once she identified her tree,
she then copied the pages she needed on the

Japanese Maple

so she would have the reference material here
when she was ready to work on her project.


for her Japanese Maple.

Finished Project

All she needs to do now for this project to be finished is to do her written report.
She started by making an 


of all the things that were involved with this project.
Simply planting a tree was not all that was required of her to do.
She also needed to turn in a typed report or presentation, explaining what she did and what she had learned about her tree.

It is almost finished, I think she will have it done before the weekend is over, maybe even today.

She has also worked on her 

Nature Journal

I gave her a more specific guideline and she was ready to go.
She already had a good head start on this
project, she just needed to make a few adjustments to make.
Mary only had a handful of subjects left
to observe and 


After she had drawn the plant in it's natural enviroment.
She needed to come back and make small windows with a more detailed drawing of the bloom, leaf or fruit.

And for the finishing touch, she needed to write some 

Botanical Facts

about each of the 20 plants species that she drew.
This project is almost finished also.
She may have this one finished today also.

Mary went out with her dad not long after she woke up this morning to pick up some 
Report covers to turn in her Final Presentation.
She is so excited and proud of herself.

The only part of her science project still left to finish is her Notebooking Journal and this is the biggest portion of her grade.
But at the rate she is going it will finished in no time at all.

Anne Frank Test

This is a 5 part test.
She will start it Monday, taking one part each day.


It won't be long before we start adding all her new subjects like
Geography, Latin and Handwriting
and she is officially a

7th Grader!
I will be glad once we have all the bugs worked out of our new schedule and really get this ball rolling.

1 comment:

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