A bit of nostalgia washed over me today as I signed Kris up for the High School Placement Test for the Archdiocese of Washington Schools. She had gotten her application started late last week, but there was something about signing her up for this test that caused me to think about each of my other kids and how I did the same thing for them when they were ready to move on. (Heavy mom sigh!)
Way back in 2012 when Kris was in Kindergarten I began teaching her at home, all the while keeping the end goal in my sights. (Everyone who homeschools, even if only for a year, should have accomplishments in mind, goals to reach!)
It was much easier to keep the idea in the forefront this time around. I had taught six others before her so I knew where we were headed…
And here we are in this last year learning at home together, one foot knee deep in scholastic study, the other beginning the leap to next year.
As I reflect on the many years between her first year of kindergarten and this, her 8th grade year, I am pleased that I stuck with the basics.
We open the manual every day and we don’t put away the books until all of the lessons are complete. It sounds simple, but it takes discipline not to let some things go, to complete the work each day. In this way she has finished every textbook issued to her for every year of study. This is a feat almost never accomplished in a traditional school. I think that her breadth of knowledge is greater for this effort.
I maintain high academic standards for her by making sure she is able to pass a written test in each subject every twenty lessons. In this way she has been practicing, ever since kindergarten for the entrance exam she will take in December. I always grade the tests, too, using a traditional scale, so she can see when she achieves excellence and when she needs to work harder. It has prepared her well. From this time on, assessments will be a regular part of her every day life.
We study hard and we play hard. I do not assign busy work or extra projects unless they are relevant. We wake up early in the morning, get busy with the subjects at hand and when we are finished we have a good chunk of the day at our disposal. Sometimes we hike, visit family, sew, read or take the dog for a walk. This way of organizing the day gives us a time for structured learning and plenty of time for pursuing other interests. We get a break each day.
Since our first quarter is now finished I am amazed by how quickly the time is going by. I may heave a sigh every now and then (where did that little girl go?), but I am not sad. I am excited for Kris and the new life in store for her as she gets herself ready for high school.
I am also getting a bit excited for my new life, whatever that is going to be!