Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do we need a little class?

I'm truly making headway with our book lists for the fall. I am trying to keep a balance for Austin between reading the classic great books and reading adaptations or historical fiction. Ancient works of literature can be challenging, and I want him to be able to understand what he's reading so he can make connections with the story. So far, I want him to read and/or listen to a translation of Gilgamesh, the Iliad/Odyssey, and the Last Days of Socrates. Those classics, along with the historical fiction and mythology, will be quite sufficient.

I am considering having us use the Windows to the World program from IEW, as an introduction to literary analysis. I say "us" because I would buy a student book and complete the curriculum alongside Austin. Lit analysis is one of my weakest areas, and one that I never really understood in school, so I could take this opportunity to work through it with Austin! I'm just not sure how true to CM's principles it would be. I need to research that.

Now, about the 'class' that I mention in the title. A few days ago, a post came across our local homeschooling yahoogroup about a lady offering high school level science classes in the home of a lady who lives 10 minutes from my house. Her name had been recommended to me by a long-time homeschooler, so I took the time to email her and ask her a few questions about the appropriateness of her class for Austin.

She answered all of my questions favorably, basically telling me that any child who works hard and gives their best effort (whatever that might be) will pass her class. They will have homework, but the once per week 90 minute class time will be discussion and lab oriented. Tests will be sent home and administered by the parent "in the way the parent deems most appropriate." I did ask if she would be comfortable with him not participating a lot, especially at the beginning. Austin is very quiet while he assesses a new situation, and I wouldn't want him to be penalized for this. She said if he was asked a question, and he wasn't comfortable speaking, he could simply shake his head and she would move on. (When I told Austin this, he said, "Well, that would appear rude, so I think I would just try to answer the question in the best way I can." You know I loved that response!!!)

I've been securing Austin's input during this entire process, forwarding him the emails from the teacher. He is concerned that the work will be too hard. I assured him that I would be able to help him in any way that he needs with his homework, and we would prepare for the weekly class as best we can. I truly think this could be a good experience for Austin. If he wants to go to college, he will need to be able to work in a classroom situation, and the way this class is set up seems to resemble a college class setup somewhat (preparing the material outside of class and using class time for discussion and hands-on work). The price is reasonable and the teacher is experienced and knowledgeable.

I will be praying over this decision and discussing it with Austin and my husband.


poohder said...

Jennifer, my dd experiences with the outside homeschool classes were awesome for her. They gave her confidence to try new things (like public high school next year). I'd say go for it also because it will be easier to learn the science labs needed for HS graduation with someone who's passionate about the subject.

Lisa said...

Sounds like it could be a good experience. I know that most of the kids in my essay class enjoyed it and several parents told me the kids worked harder for me at their writing than they ever did at home.