Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"And where do you go to school?"

Mary gets asked this question, generally first, when we meet anyone new.  She, like her older sisters and brother, has learned to just graciously tell them she homeschools.  It is not uncommon here, among missionary families, but not so common for us "ordinary" folk.

We turned to American School for high school studies.  It fit well with our moves, supplies a written record of work, and diploma.  They are also reasonably priced.  Price is not a motivation now, but back when we were looking at getting all five eventually through high school and then beyond to university, it was a huge determining factor.

Right now she is having to do a lot of catching up (which is not unusual for us) since summer.  That was further delayed when the majority of her books were tucked away in our US freight shipment.  Right now she is doing great and working on:

English; Civics; United States History; Algebra II; Geometry; Biology and Chemistry.  Soon we will begin Chemistry lab work as well.  For the most part she is self directed, except for the last four subjects.  I do these with her, partly because I thoroughly enjoy helping her learn.  As for the first three, we have a lot of discussions when she has questions.  And Mary enjoys teaching me when she learns something new.

One of the nice aspects of doing home instruction is that we can easily delve deeper into issues, drawing on sources other than just a text book.  I have found over the years that one of the best ways for a student to learn is to turn them into the instructor.  I also have to keep on my toes, and not get lazy in my thinking.

In addition to these academic subjects we are moving through Rosetta Stone for Spanish.  Our neighbor 3 houses away is from El Salvador, and once she returns from visiting her home in Lima, Peru, we will begin weekly immersion classes.  Mainly Maribel will visit, and she and Mary will converse in Spanish.  In exchange Mary will visit her and help Maribel with her English.  We already know that Maribel speaks excellent English, but it will be a good exchange.

The other topic we are working on is religion.  This usually has involved reading some great books, ranging from all types of authors, and discussion what we have read.  I have done this will all the kids, which gave us some great opportunities to learn together.  Right now we are delving into this easy, yet terrific series written by Amy Welborn.

Once we complete this one, we have 3 more with us to complete.   One other thing that we have started to do is a read a daily meditation, profile, etc. from the Magnificat Year of Faith.   We downloaded it onto my Kindle, and use it to begin our day together.  And next week, we'll add in their Lenten Companion!

So, now you know that Mary does do a lot of schoolwork.  She also has the luxury of sleeping late, staying up late (all teen things), determining the pace she has to work at, when to take a day to just "be", or just be busy with her writing and drawing.  Life is good.

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