Friday, September 4, 2009

Things falling into place

We returned from our visit to Ukraine in mid-August. But even after a few days readjustment, I couldn't face homeschooling. I felt overwhelmed by the complexity of the high school subjects I need to teach (all three of my kids are in high school!), the paperwork I still needed to turn in to the school district, the projects at work, the mess that I had to sort through in my home office before I could teach, the schoolbooks I needed to order... It all bore down on me.

However, I had to face it: the beginning of school was just around the corner. And somehow, though I can't clearly remember how, things began to fall into place.

First it was the math. We had a tutor for all three last year, but Jacob and Alexandra didn't feel challenged enough. Alexandra had always been in advanced math, but she was bored by the slow pace set by the tutor, who admitted that the level of high school math she was teaching my older two kids stretched her abilities.

I don't recall whether I mentioned the community college pre-calculus class or they heard about it from Peter, a homeschooled friend, but they jumped at the chance to take a challenging class. The best part was that the college class is being offered specifically for homeschoolers in a church building, not on campus. I signed up Jacob and Alexandra.

Next was Physics, which I thought would be the bane of my existence this coming year. I had decided to teach Physics to Jacob, and to double up Alexandra and Larissa and teach them both Biology. I know Biology well – I have a B.S. in Biology – so that subject doesn't stress me, but I fully expected to read the Physics text hand in hand with Jacob, staying up late nights to relearn Physics as I did with Chemistry last year.

Then my friend Nita mentioned that the homeschooling center was offering not just the lab, which is what I had thought, but the entire Physics course. (Driving all that way just to do a lab didn't seem worth it.) A physicist would explain the concepts, provide the materials and do the labs with the students, and be available to answer questions – questions I'd be hard-pressed to answer without investing a lot of time reading and studying. What a relief! I signed up Jacob right away. Then Alexandra decided that she, too, wanted to take Physics to get it out of the way. "But I'll do Biology, too, so that next year I don't have to take a science," she explained.

The math class is at a church 18 miles away on Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:50 – 3:30 PM. Then Physics runs 4:00 – 6:00 PM on Wednesdays, giving Jacob just enough time to drive the 8 miles or so from the church to the homeschooling center. He'll be driving Alexandra and Peter as well, which will be a real help.

Jacob still wants to take a mechanics class as an elective, and I have to figure out how and when before I write my IHIPs (Individualized Home Instruction Plans), but what a relief that a couple of tough subjects have fallen into place!

1 comment:

Contessa Kris said...

It sounds like you're getting it all worked out. It always takes a bit of adjustment. The first year I had to teach high school classes, I panicked! We're doing better now. God always helps out when we don't know what else to do. We just have to let him.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)