Homeschooling High School – Day 1

by Dawn Oaks on August 11, 2014

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
This week we will be joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew in its Back to Homeschool Blog Hop.  Over fifty fellow bloggers will be posting on all different topics related to kicking our school year off right.  Our theme here at the Double O Farms is all about homeschooling high school.

Every new year of homeschooling can come with its sense of adventure, excitement, but also fear and concern.  Homeschooling those high school years are no exception.  If anything these extremes in emotion seem to be magnified during those high school years.

From the Parent Perspective:

Moms and Dads, you may find yourself on your own emotional rollercoaster.  There will be those moments of celebration as you realize how far you have come in your journey.  Quickly on the heels of this sense of accomplish can be overwhelming fear of “what if what we have done isn’t enough”.  There will be moments of frustration over feeling like your child is going backwards in their maturity level rather than becoming more responsible.

The greatest challenge I have found as a homeschooling mom of high schoolers is getting so worried about the future that I forget to really enjoy this time with my teens.  It is very easy to get consumed with thoughts of AP and CLEP exams, SAT and ACT preparation, and college visits.  In preparing for the future, we fail to seize the day.  We fail to celebrate the accomplishments along the way. We get so rushed we lose the opportunity for those great conversations over the last piece of literature read.  We forget grace and strive for perfection out of our own fear that we have not been enough in preparing them for their future.

God promises that He has a plan for each of our lives and will equip us for that.  Homeschool mom or dad, we serve a big God.  He wants to use you in a mighty way in your child’s life, but you are not His whole toolbox.  He will use other people, experiences, and opportunities to equip your child.  You do not have to do it all!  So stop trying, cut yourself a break, and go enjoy the time you have with your child.

From the Student’s Perspective:

It is hard growing up.  For some kids it is harder than for others.  Our teens desire to mature and take on more responsibility.  Sometimes more than they are really able to handle.  They wish to be the captain of their ship and determine how to steer the course.  The challenge comes in what they do with that freedom when it is given.  Some kids soar beyond our wildest dreams.  Some show that they just aren’t ready to handle the responsibility or lack the insights yet to make those important decisions.  Other children desire to soar, have the ability to do so, but find themselves paralyzed by fear in looking into the future.  They become overwhelmed by the glimpse into the reality of what it means to be on your own and it scares them.

Throw Some Hormones in the Mix:

An important point to remember in this period of our lives is that chances are everyone involved is going through a hormonal fluctuation.  Teen boys are struggling to manage those bursts of testosterone that bring about extreme states of anger, risk taking, and boisterousness.  Teen girls may find themselves particularly emotional and moody.  For the large majority of us moms, we will be beginning our own hormonal fluctuations related to peri-menopause. And dads are not exempted even if there is not much said about it.  It is important to realize that as bodies change, it can be expressed differently emotionally.  This makes a real impact on our school days and how we relate to one another.  Acknowledge it, talk about it, and make some conscious decisions on the best way to handle this in your home.

Pushing those buttons:

By the time our children are in their teens, we have had a decade of experience in knowing exactly how to push one another’s buttons.  The kids know how to push ours and if we are honest, we know exactly how to push theirs.  It is important to keep it clean.  Be mindful and respectful with all those extra emotions whirling around and take a few minutes if necessary to gain your perspective before acting or speaking.  Scripture commands us to encourage one another rather than tearing one another down.  We can spend hours picking out curriculum and can invest greatly financially paving the way for our child’s future.  It can all be for naught if our very words tear down their souls!

So, acknowledge the changes you are all experiencing, give each other time to grow into this new phase of your relationship, encourage one another, and use today to celebrate one another rather than making it just a stepping stone into the future.

Maybe you don’t have high school students. Please feel free to check out what the other bloggers from the Schoolhouse Review Crew are sharing as we head Back into Homeschooling.  Here are a sample of just some of the blogs that are participating.

Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Lisa Marie @ The Canadian Homeschooler
Lexi @ Lextin Academy
Karen @ My Harbor Lights
Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Lori @ At Home: where life happens

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Visual Latin ~ Product Review

by Dawn Oaks on August 6, 2014

Depending on the student, the study of foreign language can be one of the most dreaded high school requirements.  I know my girls have wavered on what language to study?  We really didn’t want to just spend time for the sake of checking off a requirement.  The opportunity to review Visual Latin 1 from Roman Roads Media came about just as we were deciding on Latin as our foreign language choice for our oldest.

Some of the immersion programs seemed overwhelming and especially not applicable for what we were wanting from a Latin program.  Our desire was to find a program that would help to refine her knowledge in grammatical tenses and parts of speech as well as learn more of the Latin roots that are the basis for many of the words in so many of the romance languages.  However, the traditional textbook / workbook curriculum from some publishers are so dry that you don’t get any passion or motivation to really master the language.  It is just an exercise.

When we began using Visual Latin, we were thrilled to find a program that emphasized the things that we were looking for in Latin study while also having some aesthetic appeal to make the learning of the language a bit less painful.

The Visual Latin program is broken into two levels.  Each level contains 30 lessons, which could easily translate into one lesson per week for a full year of study.  The program is geared toward students in grades 4-12.  After having worked with the program with my daughter, I could easily see pacing the program to take two years for each level for students in elementary school.  Middle School students could easily handle working through the program with accomplishing each level in a year.  Motivated high schoolers could probably complete both Visual Latin 1 and 2 in a single year.

How It Works

The Visual Latin 1 course is broken into 30 lessons.  The really nice part of the program is that each lesson follows the same format.  The instructor will present the new information that will be presented and incorporated into what has already been learned.  After the new information is presented, it will then be used in sentences in the next segment of the video.  The final section of each lesson is a time that the instructor reads in Latin to the student and then they have an opportunity to repeat it sentence by sentence.  In between the different video segments, there are worksheet(s) for each section.  I absolutely love that the student is seeing Latin, hearing Latin, writing Latin, and speaking Latin in every single lesson.  The program also comes with a short test for each lesson.

The video segments can be obtained by either purchasing the course on a physical DVD or through a download file.  This is not an on-line program, but one that can be downloaded to your computer.  The worksheets, vocabulary words, and tests as well as the teachers answer keys are all pdf files that are downloaded from the publisher’s website.  What this means to you is that the program is completely reusable for multiple children in your family with no further expense.  The current retail price of each level of Visual Latin is $100.  There is actually a sale going on at the time that I am writing this that lowers the cost to $85.

For an even better overview than what I am providing, you can visit the Visual Latin product page where the instructor, Dwane Thomas, shares more about how the program works.

Visual Latin

My Closing Thoughts:

As a mom, I am thrilled with:

  • the reinforcement of grammar skills
  • the integration of seeing, hearing, writing, and speaking the language
  • the application of what many consider to be a dead language into our world today
  • the cost effectiveness of this program compared to many other foreign language programs
  • and MOST IMPORTANTLY I no longer have to worry about fighting with my daughter to get those foreign language requirements completed for high school – she loves the program

Visual Latin is just one of the programs that members of the Review Crew worked with during the last month.  Others had an opportunity to use and share about these other courses from Roman Roads Media:

  • Old Western Culture: The Greeks
  • Old Western Culture: The Romans
  • The Grammar of Poetry
  • Dave Raymond’s American History, and
  • Economics for Everybody

Click to read Crew Reviews
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