Friday, July 7, 2017

How My Kids Want to Learn -- Providing a Streamlined Education

I struggle every year with planning way to much for my kids too learn in a single school year. You might say, I am a bit of an over-achiever and a Charlotte Mason enthusiast. I love to read great books to them and then reinforce the concept with a few projects. My kids loved this style when they were younger, but now they want to get on with their own passions. They want to learn what I think they need to know in the fastest, simplest way. They do want to learn and be educated. However, they want to spend huge swaths of time on their passions and much less time on math, science, literature and history. Their passions are valid courses of study. Their passions may well lead to careers. Dean wants to draw, dance and play string instruments. Anne wants to dance until her feet fall off. When her feet do fall off, she will stretch and do core exercises for an hour or so more. They are good at their crafts. This year I am committed to making an excellent educational experience for them in a more streamlined way. We really want to avoid overwhelming ourselves. Trust me, our out-of-the-home schedule would overwhelm anyone.

What my kids want to learn and accomplish this year ~

Anne (13) in 8th grade wants to
  • To read the entire Harry Potter series. (She has seen the movies but never read the books.)
  • To explore ways to make money and help with our family's small eBay business so there is more money for dance classes. 
  • To learn to sew with the sewing machine and clean up her hand sewing so it is "prettier".
  • To add more meals to her cooking repertoire so she won't "starve" when she is a grown up. She would like to use the Harry Potter cookbook, as well as learn more family recipes. (I am thinking of having her start her own cookbook in which she adds her favorite dishes.)
  • To complete a logic course that has a concentration in deductive reasoning and puzzles.
  • To learn the math she needs for junior high/high school, but in the fastest way possible that will stick in her brain. 
  • To DANCE, DANCE, DANCE, and do forms of exercise that support dance, such as Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi.
(You will notice there is no mention of history, literature, science, or writing. Math only made the list because she didn't get as high a score as she got last year on end-of-year testing. Her score was still in the high 80's but not the 90's like last year, so she wants to do better.)

Dean (15) in 9th/10th grade wants to
  • He wants to continue improving his drawing skills and take classes with his art teacher, Miss Laura.
  • He wants to improve his flexibility so that he can enjoy dance more. (He loves dance but often feels like a failure at it because he isn't performing to what he feels is good enough, so we are looking into trying Tai Chi.)
  • He wants to dance with the Junior Company this fall. He was accepted to Junior Company but may not take a full load of classes, pending what the physical therapist advises.
  • Dean wants to continue his study in guitar, electric guitar and ukulele. 
  • He wants to increase his math knowledge. (However, he said it would probably drive him crazy.)
  • He wants to continue working on healing from depression and anxiety. Dean really wants to feel confident and content. (In fact, those were his exact words to his doctor yesterday ~ "I want to feel confident and content." I thought that was very well spoken. Sometimes, he really amazes me.)
(Please note that Dean also did not mention literature, history or science. He does worry about his math skills and wants to improve them so he won't feel so stressed out.)

This is all good food for thought. I will be posting this weekend their books and courses for next year.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. As an outsider looking in, I'm thinking that literature, history, and science can be covered with those great books and discussions you mentioned liking so much--perhaps in an hour or so a day of parent-directed group school, and then setting them free to do what they love. Their goals sound fantastic to me, and I wish you all well.

    And you're right, your outside schedule would exhaust anyone. :)

  2. I've always tended to "overplan" for the school year as well. That's wonderful that your kids have their own goals to pursue and I'm sure you'll fit all the things that they "need" to learn in together with all the things they want to learn. Thanks for linking up with Homeschool Highlights - sorry it took me awhile to visit!