It’s hard to believe another school year is starting. I’ve always felt that schools in Florida started way too early anyway, but this year it feels like we just finished the previous school year.
Oh, wait. We did.
For the last couple years, Rachel has deliberately stretched the school year out over about 11 months. This provided a few advantages, such as a 4-day school week (which allowed for a day to focus on house work), time to work around unexpected days off, and a routine schedule even during the hot summer months when the kids would usually be cooped up inside in the AC anyways. The year would end in July, the kids would have their evaluations, and we’d be back to it after Labor Day (like the sane schools up North).
This year is a bit different however, as we begin with Classical Conversations. We looked into this program back when we first moved back to Pensacola, but it didn’t work out at that time. Nevertheless, we’ve been intrigued by classical education, and over the past couple of years we’ve made a point to integrate some of the components, such as public speaking and Latin, into our homeschooling. This year we made the decision to dive into classical education head first. There are weekly “school” days where the kids actually sit in a classroom setting with a tutor to go over the next week’s material, boatloads of memorization, and comprehensive coverage of a wide variety of subjects.
It’s all pretty intense, and quite the opposite of the laid-back approach we’ve taken in the past. But though we’re only a couple days into it, I can already tell that it’s had a positive impact on our lives. Rachel already has assignments for five kids for the entire school year planned out, which simplifies record-keeping as she can just check off what they’ve finished in her planner. We all get up earlier, and at a more consistent time. The house is even cleaner, as the kids get used to the routine of daily chores.
We’ve known for some time that having a good schedule is key to managing a homeschool family, especially when you have eight kids like we do. CC’s breakneck schedule has forced us to implement a schedule and stick to it, since the kids have to be ready for their next tutoring day: there’s accountability now to someone other than ourselves. It’s been good for all of us, including myself even though I’m not directly involved in the everyday schooling. I look forward to seeing how this pans out through the coming school year.