Over the past few months, we have undergone significant changes in our lives. We have relocated and started upon a new adventure in Northern California. As such, we have been evaluating our schedule looking for areas of improvement. We’ve openly discussed what we liked and what we felt needed to change. The following highlights some of the areas in which we have chosen to make changes – some are simple, some more complex.
- New nature journals … a spiral notebook with larger pages
- New writing journals … simply a new composition notebook – I asked if they wanted a separate book for science but they said no
- Mandarin … I did my research before we moved and sought out a Mandarin teacher from afar. This was one area I didn’t want to leave to chance and I wanted to continue our studies with as little interruption as possible. Our new instructor has years of experience teaching in China and here in the United States. Coincidentally, as we sat down with him and his wife, we discovered that they are acquainted with MeiLi’s former teacher. It is indeed a small world.
- Buddy … who has requested to go by JiFu … is now studying Mandarin as well.
- In the past, I have enjoyed swimming with Masters at noon. Unfortunately, the Masters team here meets only at 5:30 a.m. With a husband that works in administration and thereby has long hours, this doesn’t work for me. I’ve thereby moved my workout to 8 a.m. to assure it gets done – in doing so, we have discovered it does not disrupt our ‘school day’ as much as it did in the past.
We have revamped our schedule and have dedicated a day of each week to the subjects that are important to us. I haven’t “scheduled” music practice or Mandarin homework / home extension activities. Doing so made felt very restrictive. As it is now, there is a block of time each day whereby we do our formal lessons and upon completion, we are free to relax, investigate things of interest, go to the pool … I do expect the munchkins to practice their growing music and language skills daily. However, the time in which they choose to do this is up to them as individuals. Of course, I generally have to remind them. 😉
- This year, we have also decided to partner with a public school and take part in an ISP. The Public Independent Study Program is the legal equivalent to enrolling your child in public school. Shocked? I know I am. Essentially it is a “home study” program offered by the school district. The benefit to us is that they provide support and guidance as well as a weekly enrichment day.
- The enrichment day is the primary reason we decided to pursue this option. The kids have an opportunity to participate in a variety of rotations taught by certified teachers along side other homeschool students. During the enrichment day, I can volunteer or have the day free to myself. Imagine?! What I could do with a day to myself? As I am a certified teacher, I may also have the opportunity to take on a paid position and teach one of the rotations as well but I am only pondering that possibility right now.
- Thus far, the coordinator has been VERY flexible in allowing me the freedom to continue doing things as I have always done. What has been great is that she provides another perspective and pulls additional resources that I can use if I desire. The only true requirement is the bi-monthly meeting whereby we discuss/evaluate our endeavors. During the meeting, though, I am required to provide tangible evidence (photos, writing samples, etc.) of our work and how it meets state standards. I was essentially doing this already so it is not an issue.
- Another major change is music instruction. In Central Oregon, the munchkins were taking piano lessons in our home once a week. We absolutely loved our piano teacher and knew it would be difficult to find someone that teaches in a similar style. One of the other deciding factors regarding the ISP is that the kids had the option to take violin or guitar lessons. MeiLi – inspired by her Taekwondo instructor – chose violin while JiFu chose guitar. Best of all, an instrument is provided free of charge!