Two days ago, I posted a review of my 6yo's school. I'm adding a review of the other end of the spectrum - the 12 and 14yo, simply for posterity; to look back and remember the crazy-goodness of it all.
The 12yo is in Challenge A. This will be my 2nd time through as a mom. This student works differently from my 1st, so I wasn't sure what I would get this year, but I had my suspicions;) She is doing an amazing job of tackling all of her subjects. At first, I needed to do much of her subjects with her, to guide and to model. In fact, modeling is my greatest homeschool and parenting tool. I rely on it often, and it eventually pays off big. So, in faith, I modeled those 1st few weeks for her, and she caught on. She's now handling Math, Rhetoric, and Science on her own, although I proofread and edit science papers. She dictates Latin while I write, and we correct as we go. We seem to be the only Challenge family working Latin this way, but I believe it's best for her, at this time, given her own unique sensitivity and frustration. I help with LTW essays; the planning and writing. She is a fantastic soul to discuss issues with! Geography is mostly independent, but I have to remind her often. Catechism is something we fall behind on, but then I stress it's importance and I work with her.
Challenge 1 is a different animal. My 14yo is working on Latin independently and seems to be keeping pace, even though she skipped B and is in uncharted waters. I'm having to use my Essentials charts to tutor her through the grammar side of Latin. Irregular verbs, Principal Parts, Mood, Voice...these are some of our intense grammar discussions prompted by Latin. She needs some of me for Government - those tricky documents and writing summaries. She needs me, sometimes, for LTW. She needs me for a big chunk of debate and we're both a bit lost! I'm needed once or twice a week for Math. She's got Shakespeare under control. And praise God, she handles Physical Science 100% independently, except I hand pick a lab for her to write up. Challenge 1 is designed to be completed independently, but the curriculum seems to write in a lot more parental involvement in choosing and discussing topics with our students. For instance, we both were assigned Dred Scott vs. Sandford, had discussion questions to answer together, and the book required my signature. No small task for a busy, homeschool mom!
I love what we're doing, but it is *intense*. When I say "independent", it creates a vision of children working while I leisurely fold laundry, cook, and keep house. This is false. Instead, I'm working like a Windows 95 computer, processing my requests amongst 3 separate commands and calling it "multitasking". Chores? What chores? We'll catch up on a break week. Maybe. I'm exhausted by Wednesday evenings.
But life is good. Seeing the interests of my older children bloom, seeing them make connections between their schoolwork and real life, seeing them grow into responsible young adults...I wouldn't trade it for a "relaxed" homeschool, any day**. I will not complain about the busy, exhausting aspects of the day to day, because I know what comes next. In a few short years, my older two will be gone, working jobs and earning college credits. Next comes an empty house, and I am not eager for that day. Instead, I treasure each moment I have with my kids. It doesn't last forever.
**sidenote: we've tried "relaxed", but personally, I do not see the same growth in my kids. This is not a slam against relaxed homeschoolers, as I've seen some amazing relaxed families. This is simply an observation that it didn't work for us.