We are coming in to the final stretch of 2nd grade…woohoo! I haven’t talked about homeschooling as much as I thought I would on this blog. Somewhere between the massive blizzard and my anxiety, I lost my homeschool motivation. In the three years of doing this, I don’t think I have ever slacked off this much in the spring semester. Of course we are doing everything we have to do to complete the curriculums, but we normally have so much extra going on in the spring. Not this year, this year we are counting down the days to summer.
Today is the last day at our homeschool co-op and there is a year-end field day celebration! Being a part of a co-op this year has been great, she has gotten a little taste of what school would be like and has school friends. Before, it was hard to constantly manage meet-ups and classes with other homeschoolers, so sometimes friends would vanish. At the co-op, it’s the same large group of kids, she can build friendships like she would at school. And I have a larger pool of homeschool parents to talk with, which is a huge source of encouragement and support. It’s a win-win.
Our portfolio review has been scheduled for the first Friday in June, which is our last day of school and we usually take a two-week break after that. I found out that our usual reviewer will not be performing reviews anymore, but luckily she has agreed to do ours one last time to say goodbye. People talk about working with the county/state reviewers like they are scary beasts, but ours has been helpful, kind and encouraging. I will miss her, and honestly I am little nervous about how her replacement might be!
Portfolio reviews in Maryland are pretty simple. You need to show that you are providing regular, thorough instruction in the subjects normally taught in the schools. You do this by documenting the curriculum you use and showing samples of the child’s work. It is not hard, but going back through the past five months in each subject and picking your samples, takes a bit of time. I run our homeschool like I used to operate my HR office. I build systems that motivate me to stay organized and everything has its place for easy access. So I kind of like review time, it ends up giving us a pat on the back after all our hard work.
This summer we will be doing a twice a week, morning class to cover parts of the math curriculum that we didn’t finish (multiplication), some creative writing, and introducing cursive. I had planned on getting into cursive this last quarter, but it just didn’t happen. She is also taking a summer ceramics class and a camp for comic book creation that she is pretty excited about. And of course we participate in a summer reading challenge. So technically, we school all year around, but it is barely school and mostly fun.
I found that doing zero school over the summer made my job in the fall so much harder. What teachers call “summer brain drain” is a very real thing at this young age. They forget so much that the first month of school ends up being a review for the previous year. So I figure a few hours a week is worth it.
Because both of us are a little lazy by nature, I like to create a loose weekly schedule for the summer to give us some motivation. I plan out field trip ideas, new parks to visit, pool days and the Regal Theaters dollar movie becomes our ‘date’ days. She has a whole posse of friends that live on our block, so she gets out every day to run and play, but a little structure keeps the summer fun.
As soon as the portfolio review is over, I start working on our plan for third grade. This is my favorite part really, I love brainstorming, ordering the curriculum, planning out the lessons, creating templates and organizing the year.
Counting down the days…