A week or so ago, I read a personal evaluation on one of the blogs I follow. I remember reading the part that encouraged me to do the same and at the time I thought, "I'm too busy planning next year to even think about it, besides, I wouldn't even know where to begin."
Well, the time alone I had last week, actual all alone time of about an hour and a half, was a great time spent in the presence of the Lord, having a very nice talk about school, life and our relationship in general. Here are the things I've seen and heard about our recent school year and the one to come.
Overall, 2009-2010 at Gilbert Academy was about the Big Picture. We spent a lot of time preparing for the big picture of high school. Honestly, that meant a tough year (two years really) for my oldest boys. There were some places I felt like I didn't cover well enough, so I thought it was time to pick up the pieces and make sure they were ready for the whole of high school. In a way, the same applied to the rest of the children, as I reevaluated some past choices and filled in a few gaps before they grew into chasms. So, for the Elder Brothers, we dug deeply into Science, finishing Zoology, General Science and Chemistry in two years time -- that about sums up Big Picture science for them. They will have to audit physics and anatomy this coming year, but I suspect at least the physics will be fun b/c it's very hands on. They still love to build, so that should be a nice break in their upcoming day. The anatomy was briefly covered in Gen. Sci, but they enjoy listening the Fulbright books and the Magic School Bus, so as I read aloud and we watch videos online, they'll join us for good measure.
We also spent a lot of time talking about time management and what to expect in high school and college. College comes quickly around here, as we intend to fully enroll by 11th grade. Free college is a plus for our family and something that my dear husband will appreciate when we are without the burden of college expenses. We also worked really hard on time management skills. This was a tough practice to get in the habit of, especially for Bard, who like his father, is NOT about scheduling, but rather spontaneity. I love that about them, but still find order a must, we'll keep working with him.
I also found math that fits :) That is a relief words cannot express. Finally, we're in a comfort zone in that last area where doubt lingered. WE DID IT!
Finally, as they grow older and we can enjoy some more mature subject areas, we spent a lot of time comparing the World to the Kingdom. This was so joyous, no kidding :) We have listened to more music than one might imagine (love YouTube for this) and talked about serious issues of dating, marriage, life long commitment and working toward a love of life and job and how the two can sometimes combine and sometimes not. We started really watching for their strengths and weaknesses, making them aware of both and showing them how to grow as people and students. We expanded our boundaries and really started nurturing a relationship as people and not just parent and child. It was very fulfilling, if not a little sniffle inspiring. My boys have become young men. I am proud of who they are and pleased and thankful to have spent their entire lives with them as their parent and teacher. I truly look forward to enjoying them as humans and watching them grow into amazing men, husbands and fathers. May God grant me that pleasure, I'd be ever grateful.
Although we spent much time struggling through hormones, I'd rate my end of the year a B+ with the boys. I might have made the A, but I discount points for not handling some topic areas sooner, but don't completely shoot myself b/c I caught the spots and we've fixed them. Since we worked so hard in Latin (finally), I feel like they are pretty ready for high school. We will spend a semester on some middle school logic, but otherwise, they're moving forward at the speed of light, growing taller than I and deeply singing our morning hymns. They are working quite well independently and seem able to tackle the increased workload and level of understanding required for the years to come. Most of all, I've grown as a parent. It's strange the parallels between toddler and teen, yet the requirements of the parent are quite different. I feel like I grew up a bit this year as Mom and Teacher.
As for my girls, I give myself a C. I didn't spend enough time with Diva. She's so darn smart, I tend to rush through her lessons and send her on her way. She deserves much better than that and I miss her. She, like her mother, feeds on people time and I don't feel like I provided enough time for her. That will change this coming year, if it kills me. We plowed through the Phonics Road so I can put here in what I consider the best Language Arts program ever. We're smack dab in the middle of Year 3 now, so we'll move forward very nicely as we enter, gulp, middle school (5th is middle school around here). I can't believe my Skootchie is almost 11. Where did my sweet, rolly baby go?
As for Lil' Mother, we had a great year -- A+. I helped her focus on history discussion and reading speed. What a difference in the beginning of the year to the end. She moved along nicely in all her topic areas and improved as a student. She did well, I taught her well, and the year was great. She and I are a great team. She has all my good habits and all of dh's good ones too, so she's quite an impressive young lady to me. She's helpful and generally a lovely person. I hope to really know her as an adult...really know her. She's an excellent student and I'm so grateful because honestly, she makes my life easy. If we have an easy one, she's it...she deserves her own red button :)
I think my favorite part of our year, with both girls, was learning to mother. The addition of the new Little Leaguers brought the opportunity to grow two Mommy's Helpers in our home --- an answered prayer, really. I always wished for the chance and they always wanted me to have a baby. We now have both and free weekends ;) They have learned how to provide general care and most importantly, they're learning patience and true love for the little people in their lives. It's beautiful to witness and blesses my heart. That's worth many bonus points :)
As for the Little League, Ax Man and The Ant had a fantastic year. We get a A+. Honestly, we kicked butt! Tackling a new student was something else. I'll just sum it up like this...did they do anything in public school Kindergarten? Poor Ant musn't have learned a thing. We fixed that right up, though. I wasn't sure if I'd make it, but by the end of the year, he's on par and striving in Language Arts (his gift, not my teaching). Between Ax Man and The Ant, we moved through PR1 and 1/2 of PR2 and they are both spelling and reading wonderfully. We burned through tons of math with great retention and did a boat load of science and history. We produced not only amazing notebooks, but also retained so much more than I could hope for. I think, in part, I'm just a much better teacher now. They get the benefit of experience. They will have no gaps :)
So, let's hit me up! Attitude...eh....patience...eh eh....I really need to work on both of these things. Sometimes, I am not as gracious about their lack of understanding as I should be, so I'll give my behavior a B-. I really need to improve, but still, I handled 6 students successfully and added two littles in December with a short adjustment period. I am amazed at the strength of God that flowed through me and pleased because I can honestly say, I did it. I had a great school year, worked really hard and blessed my family.
So, B+, B+,A+, C, A+, A+. somewhere in the B range. I'll take it and drive my over achieving self towards that A for next year. Diva will get my best and I will add another on the beginning. Next year's theme will be in the details. Details. The one place I know I can improve. I've redecorated the school room with lots of flowers....details will bring the blossoms...the Lord told me so :) I can't wait to smell the roses!
Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend
- I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.