05 February 2009

Our Home School Journey

January 2009 – CJ

The New Year has brought a completely new routine to CJ ‘s Home School Journey. CJ is now 14 years old and we now need to gather credits and build his portfolio over the next four years in order for him to be able to study at tertiary level if he so chooses, when he turns 18 years of age.

Up to now we followed the Konos Learning Lifestyle, Maths-U-See and LLATL. He will continue his Maths through Maths-U-See and his English through LLATL. His new learning areas will be History, Geography and Arts through Konos HOW, Science and Physics through Apologia and Dad introducing him to IT-work.

Since my day is fully packed with Heidi-Mari and Josua’s Konos, Maths, LLATL and Afrikaans (our first language); the three toddlers Danika, Andrew and David’s drawing, colouring, painting and counting (we do that through lapbooking) and Baby Daniel who needs a lot of attention, I couldn’t figure out where to fit CJ’s extra work into the day. Miraculously God intervened and gave us the idea of Daddy taking an hour every morning between 07h00 and 08h00 while breakfast is prepared (we believe in starting the day with the main meal – a full English breakfast – read more) and an hour at night after the little ones have gone to bed.

So, we began this new routine….

I was amazed at how quickly everyone adapted to the new routine. But why am I amazed? It was God who gave us the idea, and His ideas always work. The little ones had to learn that this time was exclusively for CJ and they had to wait their turn. The Lord went before us and they handled it quite well.

CJ and Dad’s first project was to get our home school website going. CJ had to gather information about the curriculums we use, helpful web-links and introduce some of our home school methods. Even I was interviewed by ‘The Webmaster’ and a lot of photographs were taken. Throughout January he worked many hours building this website. CJ has a special gift for bringing a message to life through pictures and graphics and enjoyed every moment of it. Finally on Friday the 23rd of January they published the HomeschoolSA website. http://www.homeschoolsa.co.za/

CJ also started his Science curriculum through Apologia’s ‘Exploring Creation through Physical Science.’ This is a full years course and during January he studied the Human body. During this module he did an experiment with a chicken bone to study the elements of bones.

Apologia also has a ‘question of the week’ competition, and he has already answered 3 out of 12 questions correctly. In order to answer the question he REALLY has to do a lot of research. This is such a wonderful opportunity for CJ to learn how to research in this knowledge exploding era –where to look for information, what to look for, how to distinguish between all the bits of information and condensing the information into a presentable answer. That is one of the main reasons we home school our children - to teach them how to handle information. In this era of knowledge explosion, filling in the blanks and memorising facts, will get you nowhere. You need to know how to search for information and present it. Then you will be able to do anything.

Another New he started this month was to manage his own time. He needs to learn how to divide his available time between his different learning areas and in order to qualify for credits over the next four years, he needs to keep account of every hour he works in each of those learning areas. He learned to create an excel sheet that keeps record of all the hours.

In LLATL he had to draw up a selection of Poems, illustrate them himself and put them together in book form with a content and index page. My big boy was by no means enthusiastic about this assignment. I used it as an opportunity to teach him that not everything we do will always be fun. Sometimes there is a call for things we have to do, which we don’t want to do; but if done properly, will take you to a higher level. I allowed him to do some of the poems on the computer and some he had to write and draw by hand. I was amazed at his change of attitude by the end of this assignment. I wouldn’t say he got all excited about it, but he definitely wasn’t so anti-poetry by the end. And he was quite proud of his Home Illustrated Poems collection.

“School” for CJ has started on a positive note and, as a bonus, he and Dad are having very special times together. I praise the Lord for the opportunity to make learning a part of life!

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