End of school year reflections

For many families, the homeschool year is winding to a close. @Homeschool_Forum Were there some big (or little) “victories” you want to share?

We have two weeks left. Yay!

Here are my two little anecdotes:

My son (9) decided to write a story in his free time. He’s kind of private, so he’s only shown me a few parts. But, it was fun to see him incorporating actual science awareness into his imaginary world. His alien creatures had “adaptations” that allowed their cells to harness some energy source unique to their planet and convert it to fuel that powered their super fast movements. So that’s a victory…the law of conservation of energy and natural selection applied to nine year old sci-fi with no parental prompting.

Also, I gave my kids standardized tests for the first time ever. Only my oldest (5th grade) has ever even taken a test before and she just started this year. With the younger two, we are really informal. Mostly we just read lots of books. But they all did great, which was affirming. Sometimes you wonder how much they are actually learning from playing with magnets and looking at bugs under magnifying glasses and reading books, but evidently the absence of vocabulary lists and worksheets and quizzes has not harmed them and they have learned what they were “supposed to” learn and some extra.

I take comprehensive exams for an MA on Saturday and turn in my last research paper on June 3rd , so the kids aren’t the only ones looking forward to the end of the school year at our house. :dizzy_face::sleeping::sweat:


Well, those who have been following my contributions on the homeschool forum know that this has been a frustrating year in regards to science education. We also keep going through the Summer with academic work for our son—though at a lighter and more flexible pace—so we don’t have the end of the school year finality that many do.

But I’ll go ahead and share a major “victory” in another discipline. Our son’s top subject is history; he can’t get enough of learning about it. Last Fall I learned about the National History Bee and signed him up to participate. In January he took an online quiz and qualified for the DC Regional Final, then a few weeks ago he qualified for the National Finals. So on Wednesday we’ll head to Chicago for the competition.

Like Christy, we have done very little with formal testing. I’ve actually wanted to have our son take a standardized test the last few years, but financial constraints and the overall upheaval of our life the last few years have precluded that. So I can echo the affirmation Christy described above. Though the History Bee folks did publish a general study guide that I showed to my son, I didn’t give him an exhaustive list, saying, “Here’s everything you need to memorize to prepare for the competition!” He simply loves the subject, reads about it constantly, and has an incredible ability to retain what he reads. I should also add that despite the criticisms I have for CC’s science content, I have found that their history content is excellent. Memorizing the history timeline and sentences gave my son a great foundation for learning more history.

In short, I’m really proud of him!!

We also received this week Novare’s Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home—hot off the presses. It’s a beautiful book and after quickly paging through it I believe Kevin Nelstead did a fantastic job. I just showed it to my son today, and he also seems excited about it. I’ll plan to post a review once we’ve read and worked through it together.


Coincidentally, we head for Chicago Wednesday too. Bon Voyage! I hope you have some time to enjoy the city.

The History Bee is at a hotel near O’Hare, and the schedule of events is pretty full, so we won’t have much opportunity for exploring Chicago. We’re hoping to see one top attraction—perhaps the Museum of Science and Industry—on Sunday afternoon before heading home. But being from the DC area we’re used to free museums, so we may decide the MSI is too expensive and just take in the parks and architecture and perhaps the Lincoln Park Zoo instead. My wife went to Moody, so Chicago is a bit of a second home for her.

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