Thursday, September 1, 2011

Long-distance School

Before letting this kids go last week, we knew school would be a big part of the decision.  In order for him to come home frequently, he couldn't be enrolled in public school.  At the same time, I couldn't expect any willing host family to take on the challenge of a 7th grader's education.  After our abysmal experience with online school last year, we knew that option was out.  That left me.

How does one HOME school when one doesn't have the child at HOME?


I've decided to do a combination of online and paper school.  Really, by the seventh grade, the children are quite independent in their studies.  Not that I'm not there for instruction and questions, but it isn't quite so parent heavy as the younger kids.  

Except the creating of the curriculum.  That is very parent heavy.  It is nearly all parent, actually.  My children all participate in the creation of the content of their curriculum, but it is mostly fueled by the parents.  

The first bit of work will be based on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Before he starts reading the book, he will learn some things about pirates, look up definitions and search pictures.  He will memorize a classic poem (Derelict by Young Allison---yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!) and write a paper about a real-life pirate.  I may have to allow the viewing of a few movies (Princess Bride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan . . .).  His spelling/vocab will come from the book.  We'll eventually incorporate mapping, first aid and sword play as well as how trade routes, commerce and government play into piracy.  His math skills will be used a bit, but he will have math supplemented with an unrelated course in Algebra.

That is just September.  October brings the related Robinson Crusoe, survival skills, research into cannibals, and the unabashed viewing of Cast Away.

Doesn't this sound like fun?  


  1. Sounds like an awesome month!!! I love your approach to homeschool/education. I'm just getting started, my oldest is 6, and everytime I read something you write about homeschool I get more excited!

  2. When I was in grade school, I was part of a gifted students program. One day a week we would leave our class and go to another school. We wouldn't do the typical 3R's kind of learning there. Instead, each year had a theme. We would spend the entire year on that theme, doing various activities.

    One year, it was medieval times, so we studied medieval culture, built medieval structures like castles or weapons, and had a banquet where we came in period costumes we made (I was a wizard :) ).

    Actually one of my family's oldest (actually only) traditions comes from that class. One of the things we did one year was study different cultures. You would pick a culture, and come in and show the way they dressed, the things they did, stuff they made, a bit about the language, and the foods they ate. That was the first year our family did our special Christmas dinner, where we pick a different country each year to choose meals from.

    Those were some of my favorite classes. That was where I first played Oregon Trail, wrote Logo programs, read "Bridge to Terabithia" (still one of my favorites), learned logic from logic puzzles, and so many other things that I still use and enjoy. The way you describe the curriculum you have planned sounds exactly like something we would have done in that class.

  3. Jonathan~
    Thank you for legitimizing our school environment. I long ago learned that I would get many skeptics and developed thick skin so that it wouldn't bother me (as much). However, I still harbor a constant worry that I am doing enough. I don't suppose that will ever go away, but comments like yours bolster me to keep doing what my instincts suggest.