Sunday, June 6, 2010

Homeschooling – This Year We Take the Plunge

Yikes!!!! Saxon, Sonlight, Singapore and Seaton, oh my. Kolbe, Our Lady of Grace, and Catholic Heritage, oh my. Regina Coeli, Our Lady of the Rosary, Angelicum, and A Becka oh my. Conferences, and co-ops, and Charlotte Mason, well you get the picture.

June 8th will mark the 2nd anniversary of the day we met our son, twenty-four months. What a lot of ground we’ve all covered in that time, and now it’s come to this. We considered doing it last year, but this year we bring him home full time. Well more accurately we will be office schooling we’ve set up school space for him in our office.

My plan is to have the beginning of our days remain as they are with the exception that he will come to Mass with me and then to the office rather than dropping him at school while I run off.

As I did when deciding which school to attend I’ve made a mini mission of researching curriculums, educational philosophies, interviewing every home school mom and dad I can find, including inquiring with blogging friends.

I’ve found that it’s popular with moms to build a curriculum from scratch and it must work because all the moms I spoken with all appear very relaxed with this option. Frankly my dear the very notion freaks me out for two reasons.

1 Hubby thinks our son is my kryptonite and he will run me ragged.

Hubby is often a remarkably insightful man and I’m taking his concerns here seriously. Fortunately, he and I work in the same office and our son will be working in line of site of dad’s office should the need for correction arise.

2 We are still getting to know our boy, it’s only been twenty-four months, and I’ve never home schooled anyone other than my puppies!!!! Build a curriculum, are you kidding!! Furthermore, this kid has a very difficult history much of which revolves around academics and his birth fathers idea of educational “assistance”. Suffice it to say the man’s ideas were the worst possible kind of unorthodox, ultimately landing the man in prison. While our son no longer shakes like a leaf and hyperventilates to the point of falling out of his chair as we work with him on academics, it’s still a very tender mine field, and this fact alone has me offering up rosary after rosary and requesting guidance and prayers from the entire Communion of Saints especially his guardian angel, Don Bosco who also worked with boys from difficult backgrounds & St. Thomas More patron of adopted children, as we make choices for next school year.

So what’s best for our son, what have we discovered in our twenty-four months together? Well the kid has some brainpower. In all things Catholic, an area with no history or background in his life, he learns with remarkable ease, has genuine interest, understanding, and inclination. In other academic areas he does decently sporting a B average, but again, there is a lot of baggage that clouds the process. All the brainpower in the world comes to naught if one’s emotions overpower one’s ability to think. He has some other challenges that come with concupiscence, but I won’t go there in the interests of Charity.

So what are we looking for in a curriculum?

1 Solidly Catholic – it’s a comfortable area for him, and more importantly, the condition of our soul, our orientation to God, keeping our eyes on Jesus, and our hearts longing for our final destination, longing for truth, trumps all other considerations.

2 Highly Structured – to control for the Kryptonite factor, and because structure brings order to our lives.

3 Rigorous – He’s a bright child, he does not need to be fed pabulum, I need to keep a sharp eye on his emotional condition, but that does not mean lowering the bar, no it means I care for him, I mother him, but that we challenge him never the less. His education must train his mind, as his mother I will nurture his emotions.

4 Ideally He Will be Able to Work Independently – It’s most comfortable for him, and I’m hoping to find a curriculum that will allow me to weave his education into the mix of my workday.

And the winner is Classical Liberal Arts Academy. I’ve read several parents comments both positive and negative, and by happy coincidence one of our fellow pilgrims to the Holy Land has three of his kids enrolled in CLAA.

His assessment: It’s hard, it’s different than any other curriculum out there, and his kid’s scores on standardized testing have dropped this year. Nevertheless he concludes they have had a good year academically. Furthermore he is of the opinion that high school grades may require a blend of CLAA and other classes in disciplines not covered by CLAA such as science or technical mathematics. He was clear that he and his wife have their own opinion on this matter and that Bill Michaels, founder of CLAA would disagree, as he is a purist on matters of education. Finally, he is of the opinion that the CLAA curriculum is best suited for those entering seminary or religious life.

Well our son does bring up Holy Orders from time to time, he posts “I love the Eucharist” on his facebook page and literally gives his Our Lady of Grace statue little hugs on occasion so who knows, God may call him to the Priesthood. Of course if he does not I believe learning Latin and Greek, and the Catechism, as well as the other subjects offered by CLAA will only strengthen his mind for whatever the Lord asks of this child, so for this reason we will be starting with CLAA for the 2010/2011 school year.

St. John Bosco, patron of young people and students, pray for us.


Katie said...

Oh, I'm excited for you!! I haven't heard of CLAA, it sounds like something I might be interested in when dd1 get around junior high or high school age.

Anne Marie said...

I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of CLAA it’s pretty new, I believe last year was it’s first ever.

I admire you cagey veterans of the homeschooling world and your cool as a cucumber approach to the process. I find it rather intimidating, but then I simply remind myself that the site schools will still be there if we flame out.

My friend with three kids in CLAA has one in Kindergarten, a 4th and a 6th grader. I assume their Kindergartner is in the Petty School.

One of the thing I like about the curriculum, everything is on line, no additional books or any additional expenses.

Anonymous said...

I hope you like what we like. As you know, you can search my blog and find posts about CLAA. The program is challenging, but my daughter has risen to its challenges.

Anonymous said...

If you would share your email, my wife and I would like to discuss more about CLAA. If not, that is OK.

Anne Marie said...

Yes, TQ, I would love any feedback you would care to share.

anne @ timbercraft . com

Without the spaces of course.

susan with a n said...

Congrats!!! Praise God!

Excellent Choice and you'll see so many blessings....but you'll also see things differently..:) the Pacinini's Home School..i'm sure they'll be a geat source of consolation and inspiration!!!

We will be praying for you! love the blog...did you know the Holy Father asked us to be a witness like this?

Anne you are such a source of joy and inspiration! God Bless and give our love to your groom and your heaven sent gift..your son!

In His Mercy, susan
"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." Bl. Mother Teresa

Abigail said...

I am so excited for you!

Homeschooling is so cool- both for strengthening the parent/child bond and for the child's great academic foundation.

I'll be praying to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for you both to enjoy your homeschool journey in 2010!