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Homeschooling: Day 1

Woot! We made it. :-)

After the older boy's classes at the high school, I picked him up and we had lunch. Then we set to work. I talked to him about how we wanted to do his schedule. My goal was to have him work 1-5 or 5:30 and then he would either have the evenings free or have time to do homework in his other classes. His major classes are going to be English, US History, algebra with trig and chemistry (all of which are meant to be at college freshman level so he can take the CLEP exams), but we want to spend a small amount of time on handwriting and keyboarding skills. Since his concentration peaks later in the afternoon, we figured he should hit English and and US history first. Then he'll take a half-hour to work on handwriting or keyboarding, then finish up with chem or math. He had the option of doing more classes per day, but he said that he doesn't transition well, so too many changes would be hard on him. (Try telling that to his high school!) I'm glad he's aware enough to say that.

We have it worked out to do A weeks, where he does English, handwriting, and math on MWF and the other subjects on Tuesday and Thursday. Then he'll flip the following week.

We started with English. I am starting with a course from the Teaching Company called Building Great Sentences (or something like that). There's also a booklet that comes along with it, which has a couple questions. After that we'll do a very comprehensive grammar review, and then finally hit the freshman comp text that I picked up at NDSU.

He watched the first lecture and surprised me because he stopped to take notes. He actually sounded very interested in the topic and excitedly told me the gist of the lecture.

Handwriting is handwriting. The kid has major problems because while he was young, he refused to learn the mechanics of it choosing instead just to get the visual correct. So how he's fighting the tendency to start with upward pencil strokes. He can write neatly, but it takes some serious effort. To break him of it, I'm teaching him cursive. Fortunately, we're at a point where he understands how important it is for his handwriting to be legible...probably because he's gotten comments about how it looks like something a little kid would write.

We're using Aleks for both math and chemistry. He used that at his old school for algebra I and geometry. I really like it because it seems to do a good job of assessing things regularly and breaks things down into reasonable chunks. It's great for working independently. This always starts out with an assessment, which he worked on yesterday for algebra.

Mike has said that, as far as he's concerned, once the boy has finished college algebra, he's done with math, if he wants to be. I kind of wish he'd keep going, but realistically, he wants to do something in English and it's a waste of time to put him through four more years of math when he only needs one.

The nice thing about this schedule is that we basically set a timer for the end of a period. If he wants to finish things up, he can, or if he's ready to pack it in, he can. I think we both like that sort of flexibility.


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