Homeschool year in review {Part 1} Graduation, Options Program, and Daily Scheduling

Many homeschool families are in the process of planning a new school year.  We are too…well, sort of.  I like to take a break from all things homeschool for a few weeks at the end of our school year before I jump into planning for the new school year.  But before I begin planning the new year, I want to look back at this past year.  For one, I haven’t shared our curriculum choices from last year.  Let me tell you, having our courses of study on my blogs sure did help me as I worked on high school transcripts.  (And taught me to write this down every.single.year)

Also, we made some changes this school year that were great for our family.  Since this post could get a little wordy, I’m going to break it into two (or more?) parts.  We will discuss some things that happened this year, and we will talk about the curriculum we used.

So let’s get down to some homeschool business!

We graduated our first homeschool graduate

Well, we did it!  Our oldest son graduated from high school!  We started homeschooling Bryce in the second grade, and man, have we learned a lot along the way!  I can not express the emotion of handing your child his diploma and knowing that you’ve both completed a monumental task in life.  Words truly do not convey what I (we) felt that day.  But I do know this:  it was worth it.  It was worth every hard moment and lack of a second income…whatever difficult situation we’ve had these last 11 years of homeschooling…it was all worth it!  And the great moments and the close relationships we have, well, those are just icing on the cake!

Some things I did learn about homeschooling a child through to graduation though are:

  • Start planning their high course of action in the 8th grade.  (More on this later.)
  • Start their transcripts in the ninth grade and record the classes yearly! (More on transcripts later too.)
  • Let their natural interests dictate their non-academic electives.
  • Encourage them to work as independently as possible. (Actually, this starts in the elementary grades.)
  • Outsource learning when needed.  (It’s okay!  I promise!)

Seriously, all of those lend themselves to blog posts so expect more on these topics.  But yes, you can homeschool high school!

We joined the Options program

I’ve wanted to write more about our experience with the Options program this year, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  So the short version is this:  The state of Colorado offers a program through the public school system for homeschoolers. ( I think a few other states also offer a similar program.)  Home school students meet once a week and are taught by public school teachers, some home schooling parents & some not.  For our elementary grade students, the classes were mainly enrichment type classes which I’ll discuss when I share our curriculum choices for last year.  However, our middle schooler and high schoolers will able to take enrichment and academic classes.

There are some home schoolers who are opposed to state run programs like these, and I get it.  Maybe I’ll address those concerns at a later date.  However, it was a great fit for our family.  Our kids were exposed to other teachers, which with the exception of one teacher, was a good thing for us.  (And even that experience got better.  And our children who encountered this teacher learned lessons from dealing with prickly people.)

Also, my children were able to take classes that are my weaknesses.  Two of my children took Spanish classes and learned more than I could ever teach them.   I’m just not equipped for that. (And yes, there is the Rosetta Stone program, but it is just not in our budget!)   Then there’s the whole meeting other homeschoolers thing too.  Most of our children walked away with new friends.  I didn’t mention field trips and extracurricular activities that were also a part of this program too.  Honestly, as a whole, it was a positive experience for our family.

We found a daily schedule that works for us

I feel kind of funny saying this eleven years into homeschooling, but…we finally found a schedule that works for us!  I’m not going to reinvent the wheel by sharing it all here.  But I will point you to where I found the info that set us on a workable daily schedule.  I truly believe this was our best year yet!

If you’re a homeschooler, you may have heard of Sarah Mackenzie.  If you’ve not heard of her, I highly encourage to spend some time on her blog and to read her book, Teaching from Rest:  A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace.

However, what I really want to direct you to is this series of videos by Sarah about how they plan and execute their homeschool days.  (Scroll down to the part that says “How We Homeschool”.)  We used a lot of Sarah’s ideas and tweaked it a bit for our family and it was the perfect solution for us!

If you need a bit of direction for your homeschool days, I highly recommend watching Sarah’s “How We Homeschool” series and implementing it in your home.  It worked incredibly well for us!  (More on that all later too? )

This post has gotten long!  Thanks for reading and check back soon for a list of the curriculum we used this past school year!

1 COMMENT

  1. A gathering of random thoughts {June 27, 2016} – simply and truly {home} | 27th Jun 16

    […] the school room:  I started sharing here about last year’s school in review.  Part two will be up this week.  Decisions are being made as to next year’s curriculum […]

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