Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What to do with the older kids???

I've had a lot of questions lately from various moms who are struggling with what to do with their older kids...you know the middle and high school aged kiddos. 
Many moms send their kids to school about this time because it becomes a little too daunting to tackle the job of homeschooling. 
Well...I would like to share a couple of resources that have been lifesavers for our family.

With many children at home, all being homeschooled, it can at times feel like quite a heavy load!!! 
My first advice that I always give to moms is that if they ask, answers will come...
I believe this with all of my heart! 
There have been many instances in my life where this is not the case,
I ask and I wait and wait and wait. 
But...when it is in regards to our kids and their education, it seems that the thoughts and the answers come to me within a relatively short period of time....I ALWAYS pay close attention to answers I receive at these times because I know that they are the answers that will either fill the void in one childs life or help to cover me when I feel I am at my wits end. 
I ask of the Lord, I ask of my friends, I ask of myself, I ask of my children, I ask of my husband, I ask of complete strangers at times if the prompting comes to do so, but I ask...that is the key...
And then I act when I have answers that come to me...

This year I was in need of something for my two oldest boys...
I wanted them to have an independent learning experience, one that was self-driven yet at the same time holding them highly accountable and I wanted/needed the accountability to be to someone other than myself...Why??? 
 I can only say that I "Knew" that was a need that must be fulfilled...
so after much research, much asking, much praying I came to what I feel has been a perfect fit for them.  Vallivue School District has offered K-12 classes this year to homeschooling families...but the beauty of what they offer is that I do not have to do all classes, I can CHOOSE what I love and leave the rest behind.  And what is required of me???  It's pretty basic and easy...so long as I enter in attendance that my boys are working, they are happy, and the expectation for time is way less than my expectation is, so it is a positive in my world.  My Choices and My Expections are Vital in this little homeschooling world I have created for our family...I believe that is why this was a good fit for our family, because I still hold the cards, I still teach, I still instruct, I still am able to inspire, I still have the control to override a lesson that I might see as unfit or inappropriate in any manner.  I am a CONTROL FREAK especially when it comes to my kids and I must be the one in control, I do not turn this over to anyone else and never plan to.  But, this is a tool for our family.  It allows me to introduce a different kind of education to my kids, a different style.  Someone else can be the bad guy on days that I just don't feel like being that person...I know it sounds a little sheepish, but it is a reality, and I love that right now I have that to fall back on, I'm sure some of you think that is a bit silly but...well, it is the way it is... 
Moving on -- They are enrolled in two classes, History and Science.  They are two years apart in age, but I opted to have them study from the same grade level so that I could have discussions with the two of them and help them at the same time, this made stretching myself too thin a little less s t r e t c h y...
I have to say that I have been very pleased and the boys are doing well...it has accomplished my goal thus far.

The reason I feel compelled to share this is that I think many of us believe that WE must prepare and teach EVERY SINGLE SUBJECT to our kids EVERY SINGLE DAY and that our lessons should all be engaging and challenging!   TOO MUCH!!!  I feel that this may in all actuality be impossible!  Yes, I can make this happen for one group of my kids, but I essentially have three different groups or abilities going on here and I just cannot successfully and sanely pull that off.  We must look for what resources are available to us to meet the individual needs of our children...and feel no guilt whatsoever in doing this as it is only to benefit who they are to become.  Let's face it, in a public school setting, one teacher does not teach each and every subject...no one looks down on them for that...so why do we force ourselves into this thought process and feel we fall short of what is expected?  Look for Resources and then be ecstatic to put them to use!

Which brings me to our oldest daughter at home...I have turned over a portion of her education to what I feel is an outstanding program ~ Liahona Prepatory Academy.  I did not do this with our oldest daughter, our circumstances were different and there was a core base of friends that met together on a weekly basis for educational as well as social experiences.  I LOVED that and wish that it could be replicated, nevertheless, there are different means for different children and again as I stated above, I searched and asked and found Exactly what this daughter needs.  I could not be happier...the classes are outstanding and she is challenged and continues to challenge herself.  She takes three online classes with Liahona -- History, Science & English.  I highly, highly recommend this school.  Now I should add at this point, that Liahona is not a free online school, we do pay a monthly fee, but it is worth every penny.   

Now in a perfect world...I would love to see the fabulous co-ops that were around when we were homeschooling our oldest...we had the cream of the crop for mothers...their dedication was amazing and inspiring. I hope to someday have this again for all of our younger children as they reach those critical teenage years. My goal is to maintain the co-ops that come about for younger children well into their middle and high school years ~ that would just make my whole homeschooling experience all the better!


So to recap, the two resources that we currently use outside of the mountain of books we have in our home, are two K-12 Courses (History & Science) through Vallivue for our two oldest boys and for our daughter, Liahona Prepatory Academy for History, Science and English.  Other studies I give to them on a monthly basis just as I do for our little ones -- and I truly go off of inspiration to what it is that they Really need at that time.

I am very happy with the way things are going for them and I feel confident that they will be fully prepared for whatever their mission in this life is...I know at the end of our time with them in our home, I will be able to look back and say to myself,
"Yes, they are ready and prepared for this world and they are going to do Amazing things, they will succeed because they have a foundation strong enough to withstand anything this life can throw at them." 

I will smile on the outside knowing they are ready; while inside I will struggle to hold back tears as my time with them was much too short...