Sunday, October 9, 2016

School This Year

**I was going to put pictures in but then, well, that will take too long right now. Maybe I'll add them later. Maybe not.**

School has been in full swing for a while now around here. We took a long look at our schedule and demands on our time this year and decided to try something a little different. All of the kids are actually enrolled in a full service provider this year. Which is different but given that we had so many surgeries and such things to work around this year, I thought it might make things easier. So what are we actually using this year?

Ellie is in Kindergarten this year. She is doing Seton K this year. We are not far enough into the program yet for me to have figured out how they teach reading with Seton but hopefully it will be easy enough.

Robert is in 2nd grade. He is also enrolled with Seton. Admittedly, he has a little bit of catch up work to do before we can jump into the program completely because last year was just as hectic as this one will likely be but he's doing rather well.

Gabe is in 4th grade and is also doing Seton. The only substitution we have made is that he is using Teaching Textbooks 4 and 5 instead of their math. It is just so much easier for me to have math on the computer for the older ages so I don't get behind on grading it. Grading 7 different levels of math every single day is a huge pain. Seriously.

Abby is in 5th grade with Queen of Heaven Academy. At the 5th grade level, the school does not offer every class necessary for a full load so she is also doing other things as well. Her history, English, religion, and reading are with Queen of Heaven. Everything else is a mix of stuff thrown together at home. She is using handwriting, science, and health from Seton. Art will be from CHC. For math she is also using Teaching Textbooks 5. For music, she is taking piano lessons and The Story of the Orchestra. Chances are that Gabe will sit in on some of the art and music with her. She also has a basic map skills book.

Katie and Liam are in 8th grade with Queen of Heaven. Everything other than health, art, and music are covered with them. For health, they are using a course from Accelerated Christian Education. Music will be studying a couple of composers.They aren't doing art this year since they covered it last year but I am hoping to also add in a typing program for them. Submitting all of their work online is a wee bit more of a challenge without proper typing skills.

Kieran is in 9th grade with Queen of Heaven Academy. He is also enrolled in a typing course through Seton Homestudy. Not only because he needs the typing skills but because NY State has different requirements than QHA does for graduation and we must follow NY rules. And, well, there are a few classes Mom thinks all the kids should take no matter what so even with full enrollment in a set program, there are a few things I will add on each year.

Sean received notice from the school district that he is done with high school (a year early) so even though he is currently enrolled in a dual-enrollment program at college, we are counting this as his first year of college. Hopefully he will get all of his regular enrollment and financial aid paperwork in before next semester so we won't have to pay for the next semester. I do have to say that switching our older kids to college classes for the last 2 years of high school was the best decision for us. Let's face it. Most of the end of high school is a huge gigantic waste of time. All of those early college classes can be taken for high school credit anyway so why waste your time and money. Admittedly, I do NOT believe that everyone needs to go to college. That is a huge lie we have been selling people causing them to graduate with way too much debt, entering into a job market that is no longer there. But that is a story for another day. I still prefer to not have the kids waste their time with 4 years of traditional high school when there are so many other, better options out there.

We have found both positives and negatives to our current arrangement. The biggest positive is that the older children have someone else to answer to regarding their work. This has given them a challenge that they needed. However, we have found a huge negative to be the school schedule with Queen of Heaven. The kids all have live on-line classes M-TH. They cannot miss these classes for much of anything. Even a doctor's appointment is considered an unexcused absence. Their teachers, however, are able to cancel classes for almost anything. The double standard is frustrating, to say the least. We are also no longer able to attend field trips or sign the kids up for extra curricular activities they are interested in during the day or even attend daily Mass. We were unable to take any time off as a family when Alan returned because it would be unexcused. And obviously, we can't have anyone visit during the school day because that just won't work at all for any reason. In other words, we have lost the very flexibility that we love about homeschooling. So I am completely on the fence regarding staying with Queen of Heaven after this year. We will have to see how things continue to work out.

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