Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy New Year...

December is always such a busy month for us as we tend to school right up until Christmas eve.  I have found over the years that January seems to be our down month- with lots of reading and unstructured learning along with just hunkering down since this is the month Texas decides to have its winter.

It's also the month that we hit the restart button.  Most of the classes that Hunter takes are only a semester long, so we tend to take January to figure out what direction he'd like to go in.  These days it's all about medicine and health sciences.  Math is still year round with Teaching Textbooks as our curriculum.  Travis is the lead teacher for math and works with Hunter every night to complete one to two lessons.  We have closed such a huge gap in three years from where he started (2nd grade level) to today (8th grade level) and he is developing a true understanding of the concepts.



Our focus this semester is all about science.  We will be using the Science for High School  to study Human Body and Senses along with The Great Courses- Medical School For Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases.   Hunter has already been out to the junior college and can enroll when he turns 16 for the Certified Nursing Assistant course.  He can also begin on his helicopter pilot's license, so becoming a flight nurse seems to be his goal.

learning how to drive a car...


We spend a lot of time here...
 Hunter has also developed an interest in cooking.  We are working on understanding measurements and how to time a meal.  Cleaning up after cooking continues to be an on-going lesson...



Hunter is also taking Ecology classes at our local nature center.  He is not the most outdoorsy kid, but has really enjoyed getting out and seeing ecosystems, animals and learning about how early settlers lived off the land.

The promise of Starbucks makes venturing out into nature more tolerable...




In November Hunter got to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum in NYC.  We spent a full day exploring the city and then the museum.  Hunter had read so much on the subject that it was neat to see him take it all in and then find some of the people's names that he had reasearched.  In March he will travel to San Fransisco to see Alcatraz.  Travel is a huge part of his learning.



I am constantly amazed at this homeschooling journey we have set out on.   Focusing on a love of learning instead of checking off lists or standards has made all the difference in our son's education.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

September learning...




It's been a while since I posted or updated on Hunter's homeschool progress.  We spent the summer just focusing on math and finishing up sixth grade level in Teaching Textbooks, then jumped right into seventh grade level after taking a small break.  Math is the one subject that we do year around, but our other studies we take breaks when needed.

Homeschooling is such an organic thing.  It changes and fluxes when needed, and I am becoming much more comfortable with that as we go on.  Hunter is thinking that he would like to go into medicine as a Physicians Assistant, so we are tailoring a lot of his studies around that.  He is still very interested in Latin and anatomy, but this year we also introduced a more formal Language Arts program that he is doing very well in.  Next week he will begin a three month long Ecology class at our local nature center.  His education is very eclectic, much like himself.

Hunter continues to study history and science- his two loves.  These seem to be effortless for him, but he struggles with dates.  I told him that the dates are not as important as understanding the time periods and how the events all relate within the bigger picture of history.  Our talks are becoming much deeeper and I really enjoy hearing his take on the world news.

One new thing he has started asking about is driving.  This seems so strange to me because our older children never really expressed much of an interest.  Hunter has gone out a few times with his dad and seems to be a natural at it.

Gaming is still a huge part of Hunter's world.  He enjoys talking with his friends while playing games together.  Strategy and thinking ahead play a huge part in gaming and he seems to really enjoy this activity.

Self regulating his time is something that he is continuing to figure out.   The first week of his on line classes he really miscalculated how much time he needed to finish, and as a result he spent the entire weekend doing work for class.  The next week he budgeted his time more effectively and was able to have a three day weekend.  The same process is happening for his sleeping schedule.  He set his bedtime back an hour during the week- on his own without my prompting, because he discovered that the extra hour helped him to be able to get up earlier and finish his work with a better attention span.   These are all things I was hoping he would figure out on his own and he has.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring learning...

What a crazy few months it's been!  February brought the USW strike to our family and it has been an interesting learning experience for all of us.  Hunter has heard quite a bit about contract negotiations, retrogressive language, unions, and right to work laws.  This was not what we had planned for learning content, but what better way to learn than by what you are living?

Hunter has made HUGE strides in math lately.  He continues to do two lessons a day using Teaching Textbooks and we have begun to master fractions.  Because of the strike, Travis has been doing a lot of woodworking jobs making measurement and fractions easy to weave it to practical math...




Hunter has taken an interest in cooking.  Fractions again....


Having Travis home has been a great help when it comes to breaking down the math...


Hunter has taken up being a You Tuber as a hobby...


We are always asked about socialization by non-homeschoolers.  The funny thing is that Hunter has more genuine and meaningful relationships now with friends than he ever had while in public school... 


Handwriting continues to be something we work on.  He practices vertical cursive every day...


The moments I catch Hunter getting excited about mastering math make me happy...


Last week he decided to build a refinery on Minecraft.  Travis helped explain how chemical processing and refining work, then Hunter did some research on the specifics of distilation towers...


Since the weather has been lovely, we have been making more time during our day to be outside...


Hunter is still growing out his hair.  I have noticed that a lot of homeschooled boys have long hair.  I love it and it suits him to a "T"...


Hunter continues to be fascinated with planes, helicopters and rockets.  It's been a great way to weave physics into something he loves...


Hunter will be participating in Project Stratosphere where he will be constructing, launching and montioring a weather balloon.  This is going to be an amazing opportunity for him to work collaboratively with another group of students and to learn a lot about meteorology.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Can I stay up and read?...

When we pulled Hunter out of public school he hated reading.  Reading was expected on the school's schedule and in their selected genre, and not on Hunter's schedule or genre.  Reading logs, mini-lessons with questions that weren't his, and forced learning were all sucking the joy out of reading for him.

One of the first decisions with reading I made regarded "un-schooling" Hunter.   I took the next year to just not teach reading or writing.  That doesn't mean he didn't read- he read a lot, but not structured or taught. We continued to explore periods in history and worked on science and math.  I would talk about books I loved and stories I had gotten lost in.   Eventually, those stories intrigued him enough to pick up a book and just read.

Gone were the nights of "20 minute required reading time", the fighting, the crying- and ultimately no real reading.  Instead, he was getting lost in the story and excitedly sharing it with me over breakfast or while driving in the car.  The characters were real to him and he questioned their motives and actions.  All of those forced questions from his school days were now his questions on his time- and he was asking them in a more genuine way.  There was no work attached to the reading and it was meaningful.

Our last middle school book club selection was A Dog's Purpose.  One of the great features of the iPad and iBooks is that you can purchase another book or a sequel book by the author.  Hunter loves this feature, and last night asked if he could purchase A Dog's Journey.  He stayed up reading well into the night, unable to walk away from characters he loved.  This morning he will wake up and talk about his book friends and the adventures/struggles they experienced last night.

As we head up the stairs at night to ready for bed he almost always asks, "Can I stay up and read?", and I always smile and answer, "Yes".

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Physics...


One of the nice things about homeschooling is that you as a parent can decide how to structure your child's curriculum.  For Hunter we decided to introduce physics before the other sciences.  We did this because when you think about it, physics is the basis for all other sciences so it just makes sense to teach it first.   The only thing we have had to modify a bit is the level of math that comes with physics.  The material is college level, but modified to accomodate a middle school level math.

Hunter meets with his physics teacher along with three other students once a week.  Then over the course of a week he reads and completes work to be ready for the next week's class.  We are thrilled with all he is learning so far...

Hunter showing us thermal and kinetic physics...
I'm constantly reminded why we chose this for our son and the benefits of giving him a customized education.