Thursday, January 31, 2008

School wise: Part 1 - Matthew

This month has flown by in a flurry of college applications, scholarship interviews, and travel. There has been the excitement of the World Book contest for Matthew and the anticipation of possibly starting to play spring soccer with a local club for Joel. And well, yes, we've managed to keep on schooling.

Since I have been rather distracted this month from the routine of homeschooling by helping Andrew with college applications, travel with him to the scholarship weekend, and spending time with my dear friend, Teresa, whose mother died recently, I have been especially thankful for boys who need little outside prompting to get their school work done.

I thought you might enjoy getting a flavor of what's happening around here, school wise, by hearing a bit about what each of the boys is doing. I'll start, for no particular reason except that he's in the middle around here now and hardly ever goes first, with Matthew.

M is plugging away at Algebra II, American History, Biology, and Greek. We do French and Music together, and American Literature with my nephew. He's also taking a Composition class with a wonderful teacher and a group of high school home schoolers. Here are a few specifics. He is...

-reading A History of the American People by Paul Johnson (an Ambleside Online selection)
watching lots of history documentaries courtesy of the local library
studying for the SAT American History subject test in May

-reading Biology and discussing it with me - lately we've been immersed in the study of cellular respiration. (I assured him that this is the hardest part of high school biology and once he understands the Kreb's cycle and electron transport, the rest is cake! At least that's how I feel about it. But I must say, I am enjoying this review and refresher. He's keeping me sharp on things I learned a LONG time ago!) He's studying for the SAT subject test in Biology, too.

-plugging away in Algebra II (thankfully Coty is the math teacher around here).

-working on Greek verb forms using Essentials of New Testament Greek (again, thankfully, Coty is the teacher/mentor here!)

-reading selections from Poe and getting ready to start Red Badge of Courage.. Writing dialogue in his composition class.

-listening to French stories and memorizing vocabulary - not his favorite.

-learning about the concerto and listening to Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #1 in B flat minor. Patrick Kavanaugh says, "If you haven't heard this classic masterpiece, don't admit it to anyone. Just slip out quietly tonight and head to the record store." A little dated, don't have to slip out, just head to you favorite music download site and search for this beautiful concerto. We're going to become quite familiar with it in the next few weeks.

-doing a bit of drawing with more coming next month after I make a trip to the art supply store. We're using Draw Today.

I think we do plenty of "head" stuff and think we need to begin a hands-on work project. Yes, there's always the sinkhole wall project that we need to tackle, but I'm thinking more of little household repair projects that would help him learn some useful life skills - like fixing the attic drop-down stairs that are broken, putting the trim back on the screen porch sections that were re-screened, painting the upstairs hallway...

I'm also always wondering, because of Charlotte Mason's emphasis on this, about handicrafts for boys. I'm still mulling over ideas Amber has shared with me and hoping for more time in February to search out resources to help us with wood carving, leather work, or some other handicraft that will be more up their alley than my personal favorite, knitting. I'm always open to ideas if you have some to share about boys and handicrafts.

Lastly, on the list of things we need to do more is nature study - walks outside, drawing and journaling CM style, and just enjoying the woods around us. We used to take a lot more hikes than we do now. Time to change that and just get outside!

For fun, Matthew's always thinking about making movies and then making them, learning a monologue for a studio theater class audition next week, and playing games of all sorts, inside and out, with Coty and the boys (5 Crowns, Dutch Blitz, Knock-Out, soccer, football, etc.).

He's also learning to drive and drove all the way from here to my parents house in SC on Tuesday. I only leaned away from the trucks in the right lane as we passed them a few times. Whew, it takes steely nerves and patience to teach boys to drive...but really, he's pretty good.

OK, that's Matthew, my very sweet, funny, quirky, getting taller by the minute, creative, thoughtful, kind, quick-to-hug-his-mom 15 year old.

Tomorrow, Joel...


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading about school in your home Beth! I hope you will continue to share more on a regular basis!
Much love,
~Jen Unsell

Amber Benton said...


I am enjoying these, much food for thought!

Amber Benton said...


I am enjoying these, much food for thought!