Last week my husband and I met with the principals of the Catholic school our children attend to discuss withdrawing our daughter Brilliant B from 4th grade. We were nervous about “going to the principal’s office”, which seems funny as an adult with a doctoral degree. It is still intimidating. When I explained everything that had driven us to the decision to homeschool her, they were understanding and supportive of finding a way to teach her that will let her flourish and experience joy in learning. The one thing that really bothered me, however, was the lack of willingness to offer any additional solution that would keep her in school there. Every time I brought up the subject of skipping her to the next grade, nobody would even discuss the subject. So, we discussed the reasons they cannot justify a gifted program but not the perfectly logical alternative of grade advancement.
So, this is the first week of homeschool. We are following the classical curriculum of The Well-Trained Mind. This week we are trying to figure out where to start and how to pace, but I have to say that the first three days have been surprisingly easy. I write up a weekly schedule of work, and B sits down and knocks it out. Since I am at the university all day Monday and Wednesday, my husband manages the school schedule those days (he works from home). I can work other days of the week, so I work with her on new material those days. B is happy, and her headaches seem miraculously better.
As far as curriculum, we have started out using the Story of The World Vol. 3 and plan to cover history from Jamestown through the Civil War before starting over in The Well-Trained Mind timeline next year. B has started working on the Spelling Workout Level E, First Language Lessons For the Well-Trained Mind Level 4, and Writing Strands Level 3. We will also be working on Latin using Prima Latina and Chemistry using Adventures with Atoms and Molecules. She is also taking a weekly Russian language class from her ballet instructors. Right now we are not using a math textbook. Her school uses Math Connects, but I really don’t love it and could not convince myself to continue in that book. I tested her to see where she might fit within the Saxon math system, and she got an equal number of questions correct in both the 6/5 and 5/4 sections of the exam. I got a fairly good assessment of her strengths and weaknesses from the exam and have a good handle on what topics she needs to cover this year, so I think we will probably just wait until next year to work in an actual math book. She is reading the first Harry Potter book on her own right now, and I have plans for how we will incorporate literature into the history timeline along with other challenging but age-appropriate literature books. I know we’ll hit the classics hard starting next year, so I want to give her a chance to read some really good stories this year. She is participating in her first American Girl Book Club online today, so her first literature assignment was the book for that meeting. Tomorrow she starts reading “The Double Life of Pocahontas” to go along with our history unit on Jamestown.
I feel such peace that we made the right decision for B, and I pray that it continues to be this easy.