Just lots of rambling today. Woke up early. No rants, however. :) This was written over a period of 3 days, so it is kind of everywhere.
This week I attended a local curriculum fair, as I do every year. But this year I went with SIL on Friday and attended a seminar there on essential oils with Suzette Saturday. Whereas I usually go alone.
I have so much to think about. We shopped around at several booths. I found a good deal on some Brain Games, origami paper (for strewing), a color wheel, etc. Just the sort of stuff you don't often run across on a trip to WalMart. Being that I wasn't looking for curriculum however, I made it a point to stop by the booths with unconventional topics such as the essential oils booth-lots of educating was done there, a booth about American Heritage Girls (a Christian Alternative to Girl Scouts), a "private/umbrella school" booth, which I will explain later, a Christian Healthcare Alternative Booth, which is a good thought, something to strongly consider, and several others.Gosh, there are so many fun activities and information being handed out of the fair. I successfully isolated my choices to focus on just a few, but how can you not just want to do it all?!
My two main considerations as connected to homeschool this year are: 1. Whether Samantha can join AHG. (She wants to!) and 2. Should we join the umbrella school?
I believe we will allow her to join AHG. She will benefit greatly from it. This I know. (We already filled out the paperwork.) It will only cost $100 for the year. (Next year will be less because there will be no need to purchase a uniform or book.) But they do everything from rock climbing and camping to cooking and fashion. I think it might really spark her interest in some things and be a great, less formal, group environment for S. She will stay in semi-private gymnastics as long as we can work out a time. My only real concern is spreading ourselves too thin. I already cut back to working from home twice a month for the Center. We go in every other week. And I only do nights on the weeks we have the Study, 16 weeks a year. As well as working from home in the Summer. However, I do go in any time they have a girl they need me to talk to. (TRYING to stay "all in" to this ministry and not put it on the back burner while homeschooling, but it can be hard.) I will be on the Board with CHEA this year, which is quite a job along with keeping up with all of Samantha's other CHEA outings. And then with gym and AHG for her, well, it is a lot. I don't see how people do it with multiple children. Very nervous about this, but I think it will be quite an adventure for her and I think the schedules will work out just fine....I hope. (Update: I recently found out it is a troupe for homeschoolers, so the times seem to work out perfect. Activities with Mom are in the day. Activities with Dad are after 7 so Dads who get off late can attend also!) I dread being one of those families always on the run, especially at night when Daddy is at home! I recently realized I really need to be there for him more. It works for some, but we enjoy our sit down time after all is calm and the day is ending. We have dinner together, talk, lounge on the couch, then eventually pass out all cuddled up. 3 Humans, 2 Dogs, and 2 Cats. Now that is the life!
Edit: I talked to the troupe leader yesterday and she told me some more details. Samantha will be a Tender Heart. They will do 6 units this year. 1. Living in the USA 2. Home Care and Repair-perfect since she is getting old enough to help with home projects 3. Crafts-self explanatory, hoping they will be more willing to allow creativity since they aren't so rigidly structured, but she always has the option to opt out. 4. Outdoor Skills-Uh, like, HER FAV! 5. My Style-This will be, I think, the one that is the most fun for her. The girls will get to design fashions, do hair and make up, and put on a fashion show for their parents!!! and 6. Young Meteorologist. Each unit contains a Christian message such as modesty for the fashion show, building a relationship with God through nature, etc. They make sure that they know WHY they are doing what they are doing and how we use it for God. I thought that was PERFECT! We are definitely allowing her to do it. (Update: Hold your horses, we have budgeted to put the money back, but we will see how the meeting goes. I am still a little nervous.) She is extremely excited. I just can't begin to explain the richness this will add to her life. (Side Note: The girls can put any badge they want on the back of their vest-because it is extra room. They just have to earn it at home. Samantha already has some state park badges they said she can put on there. And she picked out some others she wants to earn, like the sewing badge she saw online. The lady I spoke with at the fair said it is so neat to see the badges that each girl decides to earn at home because you can really see their personality shining through on the back of their vest, and I can already see that is so true!) What a perfect group for us! She will be in an environment where she can see WHY she is doing things FOR God. She will always have the option to do or not do something. Creativity is running rampant. And they always encourage families to participate, so it will all be family centered. (Also, one thing I like is that they do a lot of activities with the Trail Side boys-their version of the Boy Scouts, which this all came along when the whole morality issues arose with Girl/Boy Scouts popped up, but anyway, it makes me happy that she won't be completely separated by age and sex all the time.) I can't wait to meet some more homeschool families and see Samantha make new friends! This year will be building upon last year. So many new possibilities.
I also found the umbrella private school intriguing. Georgia does not allow them. We would have to "move to TN." But the jist is once you join their "school," you become a satellite campus. They allow their "satellite campuses" to choose their own "curriculum," or in our case write out a goals report with a few sentences on how we expect to achieve that goal. It does NOT require approval. Just for records. (I do this anyway for my records.) And at that point we are no longer accountable by the School Board. No questioning. No standardized testing! Nothing. They will keep our records and she will graduate through them. (Although, we may not take that route in high school.) Either way, free of the pressure to test her and free from the state's laws, I believe it would be of great benefit! It is $75.00 a year, so maybe in 3rd grade when they begin becoming more rigid.....Just some thoughts.
I am looking forward to the first board meeting of the year, this Monday. (Which is today. I wrote this Saturday night.) I have learned my position as Secretary so hopefully that goes well. I am looking forward to building some more of a relationship with some of the ladies of CHEA, and the opportunity for Samantha to see her CHEA friends more often and to see me being involved in her life...I submit her letter of intent soon and will complete her Progress Report and Goals Report. My! There is so much to add!
Update: The Board meeting went well. It was lot of activity to keep up with, being that it was the beginning of the year and we had to have the meeting indoors because of the rain. But it was nice getting together with everyone and bouncing ideas off each other. I typed the Minutes the night of. Waiting on approval for my first draft. There are lots of things we have planned this year, including maybe a trip caving, which Samantha has been dying to do with Jessie. I can't believe we are going on our second yea of "official homeschooling." Where does time go?
Samantha is looking forward to Homeschool Day at McKay, the End of Summer Pool Party and Not Back to School Picnic. Gymnastics starting back. AHG starting...All this coming up right around the corner...
Once my brother goes back to school we are going on vacation...I am sure she will learn a lot while we are there. When we get back home we will continue doing some of the things that slowed down or went on pause while I had him. She is really into her art still...no slowing down there. She still takes hours in the day to loom things, Creeper keychains for Daddy. Bracelets for friends. Drawing is what she does in all her spare time. And of course sewing which has really picked up now that we know how to use the machine. And then the two things that slowed down, the Civil War Study and How Things Work, we will pick back up. I plan to start back with our Clara Barton book and a trip to the local Old Stone Church, which was a military hospital. I'd also like to think of a big something to do for How Things Work.
My. Things have changed. This year we all know what to expect. This year we are not new. S has friends. I have friends. And to think last year we were both so on edge. This year we have our rhythm down. I feel confident in unschooling. And S is enjoying living and learning through life!