It’s now been about three years since I took over as Jack’s primary educational facilitator. I’m really enjoying it! Finally! I get to learn, too! At least when Jack reads aloud. (It’s quicker and easier for him to read silently and then take notes, though, so he only reads poetry and simpler books aloud anymore.)
We completed the (Roman) unit we were working on during our move and started another one (Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation) a few months after we arrived. We’re almost done with that one, and in the next few months we will start the last unit I have for him (early modern and modern times).
Originally, I had planned to create two more units, but in the last few months, Jack has started to see his life path ahead of him and it takes him away in February 2020 to study at The Gordon to get the ATARs he needs to study law at Deakin.
I’m not standing in the way of a man with a plan. I wasn’t so visionary when I was approaching 15 and I am pleased that Jack is.
Our schedule always seems to be out of sync with the Australian January to December school year, just as it was with the US September to June school year. We will probably finish the current unit in March or April and start the next one three weeks later. It didn’t matter in Michigan, where we never had to register or report. It may begin to matter more now, because not only do we have to register to homeschool in Victoria, but starting in March, there are new regulations that require that we be prepared to report to the state every three years.
I’m not looking forward to forfeiting the freedom we are accustomed to, but as a recent immigrant, I don’t really have a lot of choice. Many of my friends are or planning to slip under the radar by letting their homeschool registration lapse when they move house over the next few years to avoid the meddling of he department. That doesn’t seem wise for our family. Then again, while we are not following a plan that the government would recognise, we do have a plan and our standards are high. The fines for not registering are not insignificant and it’s likely that we will pass the reviews as long as they are fair. Probably best we take our chances over the next couple of years.
I’m currently trying to figure out how to draw the parallels between what we’re working on and the Victorian curriculum for reporting purposes. It’s not technically required that we follow any specific curriculum, but human nature suggests that the more “familiar” Jack’s education looks to the investigaors, the less deeply we are likely to be investigated, making everyone’s lives easier.
The system we have adopted over the last three years has evolved as he has matured. These days Jack chooses what he wants to study next from the shelf of pre-selected books. Three years ago, he selected all the books for the week and plugged away until they were all back on the shelf, averaging 6 books per day and usually finishing by Friday, though some busy weeks required study on the weekends, too. Recently, we switched from the many subjects briefly to a more focused one or two subjects, totaling three hours per day. (He takes breaks to rest his brain, but he seem to get more done when he focuses on one or two subjects for the day.)
I think that Jack being in charge a good thing because this is Jack’s education not mine and soon enough he will be at University where time management will be entirely his responsibility.
We call our units by the historical period we’re studying, but the historical period, while it defines the temporal boundaries of our units, is only a small part of what we do.
In the early years, we tried to match up history, music, art, and whatever else was relevant to the historical period, so that we looked at classical roman art, looked for information on Roman music and performance, read novels based in ancient Rome, learned Latin root words, prefixes, and suffixes in English, and tried a meal that would have been familiar to ancient Romans. That has started to wane a bit as we have added more material to Jack’s curriculum as he has matured. We still try to look at art and literature based in the period, but they have become a much smaller side journey as his studies have become more complex.
As an example of the new complexity, Jack has been studying a lot of Australian history and civics this last four years. We also read poetry and literature, science, philosophy, ethics, and maths and all the usual classical subjects. We even studied Latin for a while and I hope to get back to that soon, though maybe not while Jack is studying Spanish.
I think the best changes over the last three years is that that once I put Jack in charge of his education and asked him to decide what we were going to study nd when, he also started to step up and take responsibility for getting us started on studies once he’s had breakfast. That makes me SO happy and proud of him.
Anyway, I have been writing and rewriting this for 11 months – suffice to say, homeschooling is very flexible and changes to meet current need- but it’s time to click Publish and move on.