This Semester

Our first step once Gabriel decided that he wanted to return home and once we all agreed that this was indeed the best thing to do was to have a discussion about what he wanted to do. As in the middle years of homeschooling, we had a conversation about what Gabriel’s interests are and then I would note all that down and make suggestions about additional or alternative things to study.
Gabriel had already been doing an independent study at school with me in Philosophy – not really a subject for 9th graders, but Gabriel was pretty adamant. He had had a pretty rough first semester so we wanted him to feel good about what he was doing in his second semester at school. Well, he wound up returning home and Philosophy has become his first main lesson. At school he would have only had 3 weeks for a main lesson – at home we have the luxury of drawing that our to 5. In later blogs I will explain in some detail what we are doing for each block (and for other lessons) – for now I’ll just give an overview of our plans.
After Philosophy we will have 5 weeks of History for main lesson. This is Gabriel’s favorite subject (at the moment). He wants to do modern history but I have persuaded him to go back and pick up on Ancient history again for now. I have given him two whopping great books to look through to figure out what he wants to do. One is Ancient History: First Civilizations to the Renaissance a huge 900+ page volume full of photos and illustrations as well as World History: Patterns of Interaction, a conventional high school text book published by McDougal Littell. I have used the latter one extensively when preparing for classes I taught at the Waldorf-ish high school here as it is very well done. One would never want to teach out of a text book (at home or at school) but a text book certainly helps one get an overview of things and helps orientate oneself to do further research.
Anyway, Gabriel has until Monday to decide what he wants to do: he has to either choose a civilization to study (Mesopotamia, China, Egypt) or choose a time period and study what was happening at various places during that time. Depending on what he decides he wants to do, I’ll come up with requirements for papers and possibly a test. He is presently doing a main lesson book in Philosophy and will not be thrilled by two MLBs in a row. So we’ll see. I am tryoing top get him to do some art projects but I have found that pretty hard with him since he was about 13. Fortunately he can do some art classes either at his old school  or in the community. So it’s not a proper Waldorf "teaching via art" – but it’s the best we can do!
After that is a 2 week catching and bits and bobs period in April. He’ll be able to take a breath during that time – his grandmother and her husband will be visiting here from the UK during that time as well so we’ll be pretty busy with them.
After that is two weeks of cooking – from planning to putting it on the table, all on his own. He wants to do really fancy cordon bleu type meals. I look forward to that – especially as that will be when we are finishing our second and third grade curriculum and might be fairly crazy!
The last main lesson of the year will be on ecology. That will be 4 weeks long and we will hopefully be joined by our neighbor’s son who had been in the same class as Gabriel and also decided to return home (he also had homeschooled).
In addition to these main lessons, Gabriel is doing French, pottery, dance and then theatre at school; and math, English and business studies at home. This latter is something he’s been involved with since we started Christopherus. Gabriel co-wrote our Medieval history unit study and has been a help in the office for quite some time. Starting last summer we took him on as a paid part time employee then lost him to school… now he’s back and he will be involved in website management and design; marketing; fulfilling orders and much more!

Posted on February 14, 2008 in Older Children

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