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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Celebratio

CELEBRATIO:  a festival, celebration; an honoring, commending, praising

And that's exactly what we did two weekends ago.  We celebrated the end of our first homeschooling year, honored our children for their hand work and commitment to excellence in their schooling and praised our Lord for His faithfulness and blessings through our obedience to Him.

I still get lots of questions about homeschooling, particularly since Mason attended Sequitur Classical Academy this year.  So do we really homeschool?  Yes, we do.  Sequitur is not a school.  It is a 501(c)3 which offers academic courses for students who are registered with the state of Louisiana as homeschool students.  I've often described it as a hybrid of Christian schooling and homeschooling . . . the best of both worlds.  So then the next question people always ask is if it's a co-op.  Well, not exactly.  Most homeschool co-ops are led and taught by parents.  Sequitur is led and taught by professional educators and scholars equipped in their specific academic subjects.  Most of them hold degrees and have had their work published.  So Mason attended Sequitur two mornings each week.  He had two teachers who taught him all of his subjects.  We then did all of his homework and projects at home.  See?  The best of both worlds!

This was a HUGE change for Mason.  He went from attending a public school all day five days a week with 20 kids in his class to attending a university model classical "school" two mornings a week with 7 kids in his class.  The curriculum was totally different, particularly in the humanities and literature areas.  To say I was nervous about this at the beginning of the year is an understatement.  I really had no idea HOW, or even IF, he could master the reading and essay writing requirements, especially since he had never been exposed to classical literature before.  I imagined a pretty huge struggle given Mason's dyslexia diagnosis and even shared my concerns with the headmaster before the school year began.  I should've known better.  Was it a challenge?  Yep.  We had tears some days.  But did he do it?  Of course he did!  And, I have to say, he totally blew my expectations away!  This boy!  Not only did he do it, but he did it well!  He maintained all A's and B's the entire year.


We gathered with all of the other students and families of Sequitur a couple of Saturdays ago.  The students presented their semester recitations.  Last semester the 5th and 6th grades recited Luke 2:1-20.  This semester they recited Matthew 5:1-20 (this passage includes the Beatitudes).  The upper grades recited Ephesians 1-6 and selected sections from classical literature.  It's quite impressive.  One of my (many) favorite things about Sequitur is how they are encouraging and teaching and requiring us to "hide God's Word."  We also saw the seniors graduate and receive their awards and certificates.  Yep, homeschoolers actually have graduation ceremonies.  (And prom and sports and a bunch of other stuff, too!)

This year Sequitur offered classes for 5th-12th grades.  So Hannah Kate was homeschooled by yours truly.  I have to say I am so proud of her!  This was a huge change for her, too.  She has told me many times that she doesn't want to go back to her "old school," but I have no doubt there are some things she missed.  I am so excited that Sequitur will now be offering classes for 3rd and 4th graders so she is enrolled for next school year!  I really think she's going to love it and absolutely excel.  

Her big project this year was a broad study of United States history.  She created a timeline (albeit a very broad, abbreviated timeline) of important events in US history.  She also studied each of the 50 states individually and created a notebook of her studies.  I really enjoyed this study, and I hope she did, too.  When she finished, I broke out into Fifty Nifty United States.  Yep, I still remember every single word of the song we performed in 4th grade and every single state in alphabetical order.  She thought it was absolutely hilarious.  And then I sang to her all of the Presidents of the United States.  At that point, she thought I'd lost my mind.  I have 4th grade to thank for that one, too.

Here she is with her timeline.  She's pointing to 2007, the year she was born.  The last event on her timeline is the new heaven and new earth.  Of course, we don't know the day of the Lord's return so there's a question mark there.  She really did enjoy this little project and asked daily when we were doing timeline figures.

We actually finished our formal schooling the first week in May.  It really was all I could do to stretch it that long.  Hannah Kate finished everything so quickly, and I had to go ahead and begin some 3rd grade work with her just to fill the last month of schooling.  Homeschool took over my dining room this year.  It was a bittersweet moment a couple of weeks ago when I walked by and realized that I was about to have my dining room back.  I've since packed up all of our curriculum and books and school supplies.  So we have a dining room again for a little while.

You know what's daunting and overwhelming as a homeschool mom?  Or at least it was to me.  The day the curriculum arrives.  This was Mason's stack of curriculum and books this year.  

And this was Hannah Kate's stack.  That red Saxon Math box you see . . . that's no joke.  The day I opened the nearly 700 page (yes, almost 700 pages!) instruction manual, I really wanted to sit down and cry.  But I didn't.  And we did finish all 700 pages of it!

And here it is.  Our very first homeschool year.

And now, just as quickly as it started . . . because it really and truly seems like only last week we stepped into these waters . . . it's over.  I have to admit though . . . I'm so glad for a little break from the formal schooling and lesson plans and trips to Sequitur.  Informal schooling will continue everyday throughout the summer time.  But we're resting, too.  We don't exactly have a lazy summer ahead, but we do try to take advantage of a lazy day here and there.  One day last week I went upstairs to see what they were up to because it was just too quiet.  They didn't realize I'd come up, and this is what I found.
I am overwhelmed.  I am overwhelmed by God's goodness and His blessings as we've walked in obedience to Him this year in the area of schooling.  I am overwhelmed by the resilience and sweet spirit (most of the time) my children walk through the day with.  I am overwhelmed that God chose me to be their mom and decided this was the path our family would walk, the adventure we would take.  I am overwhelmed by God's sustaining power, grace and strength.

And that is cause for celebratio indeed!

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