Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mid-Year Ramblings ...

This seems to be the year that I need to remind myself over and over again that slow and steady wins the race. We are "schooling" every day, but progress is slow. I just keep reminding myself that we are blessed to homeschool, and we can choose our own pace. It was my choice to let Dean work on two different grade levels this year, and I knew he would not complete every course for 9th grade. Also, Dean is struggling with depression and teenage hormones. All of these things have made our year slow. However, it has been filled with quality and progress. That is the truly important thing.

What is working for us ~

Art ~ Art has been a blessing on several levels this year. It is a wonderful release for Dean as he struggles with his feelings. He is going to Miss Laura's home two times a week now to work on his art. He also does art several times a week at home. Anne has decided to drop out of art classes with Miss Laura for now. She would prefer to spend that time working on math and spelling (the two areas in which she lacks confidence).

Science with our homeschool friend ~ Science has been a blast this year with our friend S. I teach all three students for several hours one time a week and then assign homework or a project to work on during the week. We have concentrated on chemistry during the first half of our physical science course this year. This will count for Dean's ninth grade science credit and seventh grade science for the girls. We are moving on to geology, which will be part two of our physical science course in February.
Testing food for starches
English ~ English has evolved this year into a place we are comfortable. We are doing less literature than many years and more writing. The children, including our homeschool friend S, are slowly sloshing through the Cover Story program. I like the program. They think it is hard, but they admit they are learning. Each of them will have a magazine of their very own at the end of the course, which is really cool. They are also writing 500 word papers every month. We have read several books this year together, and most of them have been Newberry winners. We are currently reading The Twenty-One Balloons.

Field Trips ~ I thought we would be doing many more field trips this year. However, life hasn't taken that turn. However, we have done some decent ones and are planning several more for science and history. This week, all three students and I explored the Urban Trail that winds through our city. We only made it through half the trail, but it was a great history lesson. We plan on combining a tour of the home of Thomas Wolfe with a remainder of the Urban Trail in the next few weeks.
Dean, S, and Anne

Music ~ Music has been a blessing across the board this year. Anne has been learning a new song on the piano almost every week. She is still working her way through a Christmas carol book. Good thing we like Christmas music all year around here! Dean is starting guitar lessons again next week. He had about six months of group lessons last school year. This time he will be taking private lessons. He is also making tons of progress with the ukulele and his electric ukulele by watching lessons on YouTube.

Dance ~ Dance is a struggle every week for Dean. He loves it but is very disappointed in his lack of flexibility. The teachers are really encouraging and feel that he is doing well. He is caught in the teen cycle of comparing himself to everyone else, and then he often isn't pleased with his progress. Anne, on the other hand, is flying high and loving all things to with all kinds of dance. She is pushing her boundaries at every turn and pleased with where she is.

Life skills and home economics ~ This area is going well this year. The kids have learned skills for painting walls and furniture. They have improved their yard work skills and can both handle a lawn mower (although Anne needs it turned on for her). Dean can handle a small chainsaw with supervision. They can both do all tasks involving the laundry. I plan to get them back into cooking more in the second half of the year.

Subjects that are moving very slowly and need improvement ~  The below subjects are areas we are experiencing some difficulty in this year. We are plodding along, but I would like to see more accomplished.
  • Math
  • U.S. History I (Dean)
  • 7th grade History (Anne)
  • World History (Dean)
So, we are making slow and steady progress. I really can't complain.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. It is frustrating when the day to day feels like we are making slow progress! That is why I love these blog posts to be able to look back over the year and really see what was accomplished.

  2. My heart goes out to your Dean. I have teens with the same struggles. I sure hope he comes out of this season successfully.

  3. Prayers for Dean. The slower progress seems so draining at times....just keep moving! Hugs!

  4. Slow progress is still progress, that's what I keep telling myself. And you are doing what each child needs. Pushing too hard does not get the results you desire.

    Happy to hear art is going so well for Dean!

    (I'm catching back up on blogs now that I feel almost human again)