In the coming weeks I will be sharing our homeschool curriculum and resources for the late elementary and pre-high school years. You could call these pre-high school years junior high, middle school or transition to scholar - all would work. I don't know the best definition to use, so just bear with me.
It's an exciting groove we've got going this year. More in-depth studies for Céline. New learning tools (i.e.: personal laptops and iPads), new activities in the community (Taekwondo), and lots of new books for inspiration. It's always exciting at the beginning, isn't it?
These posts won't be a series like the elementary homeschool curriculum series I'm (in theory) finishing up. These late elementary and pre-high school years posts I have planned will be "this is what we're doing right now" type posts. Full of links and resources and probably a bunch of philosophy because I simply cannot write about what I do without writing about why I do it that way. So who knows, maybe it will become a series one day.
I've done some re-organization of my homeschool categories to make it easier to track and find homeschool related posts here at FIMBY. I don't direct much attention to blog categories. Mostly because I'm always tweaking them (I'm an organizing junkie).
You'll find FIMBY's main blog categories at the bottom of the page under I like to write about. And if you click on one, Homeschool for example, a drop down menu will open with nested topics underneath the main category.
We are firmly established in the middle homeschooling years with Céline, and slowly entering that stage with Laurent. I define the middle homeschooling years in this post.
I think if I was to re-write that post I'd make the age range a litte more flexible. 10/11 - 13/14. I have no desire to rush my children through these years and I think this wider age range is more true to our experience than my initial thoughts on the subject.
What exactly do I mean by "middle years"?
For us, this is a time when we introduce more formal learning lessons - slowly and as needed by child and family. It's the time when my brain as homeschooling "master" starts to think beyond stories, art, and nature as the sum total of a child's curriculum. It's the time when we start to think more seriously about our childrens' unique gifts and challenges. Working to really support and encourage their gifts and help them address their specific learning challenges.
These years are in between a very relaxed early elementary and the more formal studies of high school, but they are not "in-between" in meaning or purpose. They are very important years where nurturing our childrens' love of learning is still the prime importance. And then as we get near the end of these years our childrens' own growing drive for knowledge and mastery, their God-given desire to challenge and push their limits kicks into high gear and we birth the high school years - or so the theory goes (smile).
We're in this last stage of the middle years with Céline, a transition period. It's bumpy. There isn't a clear roapmap to follow but there never is. Her education is just that - her's. And we're not going to meet her needs by following someone else's path now are we?
This school term (fall 2012) and next (winter 2013) we will be focusing on certain areas and skills that we haven't much in the past - writing and science specifically. Céline's reading level is way beyond her years and inspiring her with good books, en Anglais (in English), is my ongoing challenge. Although Céline and I are starting formal French lessons this term it will be a while before she can read the French library books that are readily available locally.
In light of Laurent's dyslexia, the focus of his early middle homeschooling years will be helping him establish reading proficiency. Also, bringing in other resources to support his learning while he gains reading proficiency. Reading and using technology and tools to support Laurent's learning are really the focus right now. And lots of time for play and exploration. As always, nature is his passion and is often expressed in his artistic gifting. The boy does art in his math. You'd be surprised the scenes that arise from multiple digit long addition.
Brienne is blissfully still in elementary years and as such I find her learning needs the easiest of all our children to support and accommodate. This is mostly because supporting a love of learning is truly a joyful enterprise. Brienne is the easy piece in our homeschool puzzle also because of her diverse learning style and her natural aptitude in many disciplines. Being the youngest, she also learns alongside her brother and sister, even when the lessons are not intended or directed to her. If she were in school she'd probably be considered an all around "good student". (I cringe at these labels but I'm sharing it so you might understand what I mean.)
Even though her needs are simple right now, Brienne has a special piece to her curriculum that is uniquely geared to her interests (more on that in a future post).
But back to the blog categories, most everything I've written about homeschooling up to now has been about the elementary years. I've written a bit about the middle years and I've teased those out and into a new category. As we go, more content will be added to this category, as naturally I will be writing more about these years while we live them. Eventually I will have a high school/scholar category. This seems totally unreal to me, but is truly just around the corner for our family.
I haven't made any significant changes to my Homeschool Help resource page. But I anticipate I might (someday) to separate early years from these middle years. We'll see.
Here's a little of what I've got planned to write about in the coming month:
- Technology - The New Literacy
- Inspiring Science Resources
- An overview of our current homeschool curriculum (see definition of curriculum in this post) and the resources we're using
- The Methodology to our Madness - the four main methods we're using to support our curriculum and meet our learning objectives
- Professional Development - amazing homeschool books I'm reading right now. This may or may not see the light of day. I'll probably just work these titles into my other posts.
- The Myth of the Unsocialized Homeschooler - joining my voice to the many that have already de-bunked this myth.
So, the question is - can I publish these and finish my elementary homeschool series before my kids graduate?
As always, I'm available for one on one coaching. If anything I've written here intrigues you and I never do get around to publishing about it, you can always pick my brain in a coaching session. Just sayin'.