I always have a school year planned out months before the actual year starts. I have always been that way. In order to get the curriculum and books that I want I have to know in advance what we are going to do. I have been homeschooling for 10 years and for 10 years it has always worked like that–knowing far in advance what we are going to do for the coming year.
Until this year.
We hit a bit of a snag.
I was talking to Emma a few weeks ago. She called to tell me that she wanted to stay at camp for a big portion of the summer. During that conversation, she told me that at the camp they had to go to leadership school. Their learning time consisted of workbooks, filling in the blanks, multiple choice, all of the things that I have tried to eradicate from my children’s school day. She tells me that she loves to learn this way. It is fun. Fun? Huh?
I have to say that I was taken aback by that. In fact, it messed me up a bit. It took me a few weeks to get to the point that this didn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing. It could be a twist on a very good thing.
In my thinking about all of this, two things became apparent to me: 1)it is important to me that my kids read the Great Books. I realize that they are not going to understand it all but they can still gleam the surface and get something out of that. I want my kids to be familiar with what the Great Books actually are. 2)I need to honor Emma’s way of learning, especially through these last years of high school.
So with these two things on the forefront of my brain, I set out to search for answers. And I think I found them!
I looked for Great Books curriculum that uses workbooks for their learning. I found Memoria Press, of course. I am not a big MP fan solely due to aforesaid workbooks but they have changed quite a bit in the last few years and I liked what I saw in the Divine Comedy book.
Then I came upon a new offering of Great Books curriculum. This program comes from Wes Callihan, a man that is well-known for his online Great Books classes. I have been hearing about his classes for years now and wishing that we were able to get Wifi so that my kids could take these classes. Now they can, just in a different venue. Romans Road Media is publishing Callihan’s classes through DVD. This is a brand new venture. The first year, the Greeks, came out last year and the second year, the Romans– the year that we need, is not even out yet. I am hoping beyond hope that the first DVD will be ready before Sept. Yep, I have two weeks. I know, this is a big risk but in my limited conversation with the owner of Romans Road Media I was impressed with what I saw so I am willing to take that risk. I have been told that the first DVD should be released soon and then the other three DVDs will be available in increments throughout the school year.
Emma will watch a portion of the DVD for the day then she will use the accompanying workbook and answer the questions. This does not sound fun to me but I have discussed this with Emma, have had her look at the online samples and she chose this over MP. So we are a go.
This changes many things for us, though. I was initially planning to do Medieval history and literature this year but Romans Road isn’t publishing the Medieval DVDs until next year so Emma will do Romans. This isn’t such a bad thing because we didn’t do much Roman literature (okay, we didn’t do any) this past year when we did Ancients so this works out alright. But I don’t want the younger two doing Roman literature this year nor do I want them to do the DVD class. So for the first time since we have homeschooled, my kids will be divided up for history and literature. Emma will be doing her DVD class on her own and Caleb and Tessa will be doing Medieval with me. I’m not sure how this is all going to play out other than meaning lots of work for me but, again, it’s a risk that we will just have to take.
But at least we finally a plan for this year. Yay!