May 2020 has been a weird month, and I know that I don’t have to explain why to anybody. I hope whoever is reading this is okay, and you aren’t struggling too much. We’re okay. We’re still staying home for the most part and only going out when necessary. I don’t like having to stay isolated, but we’ve got each other, and we have a comfortable space to live, so I don’t have much to complain about.
One good thing about homeschooling and working for yourself is that you learn how to create your own schedule, and you develop self-discipline, so in some ways, it’s been easier for me to self-isolate. On the other hand, our old schedule is gone, and I used to use our weekly appointments as a kind of anchor or guide that would direct my small, daily goals. When everything shut down, I floundered for a bit (who didn’t?!), but then I realized I could shape my daily schedule again in a productive way. I have found that getting up early on certain weekday mornings and taking a long walk really helps me mentally, and then I have more energy afterward to think about my other small goals for that day.
We received some exciting news this month. My 13-year-old won 2nd place for 7th grade in the GMTA state piano competition! Whoo-hoo! He really deserves it after all the hard work he’s put in.
He’s going to premiere an online #StayAtHome recital on YouTube in June. If you would like to join us for that, please send me an email, and I’ll include you on my list of people who will receive the link. It’s not going to appear on his YouTube channel, so you’ll need that link.
It’s Time for All that Fun, End-of-Year Work
I was reminded recently that I need to create progress reports for my boys, which I do every summer. In a progress report, I use a bullet list to show what subjects, curriculum, books, projects, etc. that the boys worked on in this past year. I am required to do this by law, but it’s for my own records. I have realized that it’s an important piece of record-keeping because as the boys grow up and begin to apply for various programs, schools or scholarships, we will need to have these lists handy for those applications. I’m learning that it’s important to keep track of EVERYTHING, so I’m glad that I was already a good record-keeper. Despite this, I learned this past year that there’s MORE I need to keep track of, such as a list of all the music my 13-year-old pianist has learned to play. Yikes! Starting that list a few years and over a hundred pieces later, it was a chore to whip up! But now it’s done, and I just need to remember to add to it as we go along.
I guess what I’m saying is that if you homeschool, and your child is ever going to apply for anything, you might want to keep records, especially if they are doing a lot of independent projects!
Next Year Plans
I’m also starting to think about plans for next year, which is fun, and I’m giving myself the whole summer to work out our plans. I have a stack of historical fiction set in the United States on my desk, which might give you a clue as to what I’m thinking about. But there’s a lot more than literature that I need to plan. In order not to get overwhelmed, I use the previous year’s progress report, and I go through each subject one at a time, trying to decide if we’ll keep doing what we’re already doing, or if we need something new. It’s slow work, but it’ll get done. And, of course, we continue to tweak the course of study as the year goes along, which always happens. My plans are flexible.
Note: If you want to see what my plans were for 7th grade, the whole game plan is in my shop.
Wrapping Up This Year
We don’t have any definite date set for “the last day of school,” and in fact, our school year continues through the summer. I’m going to give my son a couple weeks off before his summer camp begins, which is online now (but that’s better than nothing)! And we always take a lot of time off in August because it’s birthday month. But if there’s any work that I was hoping my son would finish, and he’s not quite finished with it, he’ll continue with it throughout the summer, and then I’ll probably decide that it’s done, and we’ll just move on to whatever we’re going to do next year. I have learned that it’s very hard to finish every curriculum, book, resource that we have, but I can remember back when I was in school, and teachers would not always finish everything on the syllabus either. I think we get a lot more accomplished than I give us credit for.
Let’s see. We are raising four monarch caterpillars! Not as many as last time, but that’s not a bad thing. We haven’t had to worry about running out of milkweed, but we did have to bring them inside because they were being preyed upon by wasps. 😦 So we hope the four that we have will survive. We have two chrysalises so far, and we’ll probably have two more by tomorrow. 🙂
We’ve also enjoyed birdwatching this year. The cardinal chicks that I featured in last month’s post have survived, and we’ve seen them partaking in our sunflower seeds alongside Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. (This is what we affectionally call the pair of cardinals we’ve been feeding for 2~3 years now.) We’ve also watched many other bird chicks in the yard, including brown thrashers, bluebirds, and these beautiful Eastern Phoebes. 🙂
If you have actually read this far, THANK YOU. I hope you’ll leave me a comment and tell me how your month is going. Please take care and stay safe. 🙂