By Denny Mather
Happy New Year. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
My “bad boy” finished off his first semester of college in December with a 3.9 GPA! Vindication for home school! We did have a lot of people tell us we were crazy when we started, and actually told me that I wasn't educated enough to take on such a task. (I had 2 years of college, hated every minute of it.) It does help, of course, to have a smart kid...
Several of you have asked about teaching different classes. Vincent has been ahead of me with anything related to computers since he was allowed to use it – I think the kids today pick it up by osmosis! They aren't afraid to poke around the systems at all. I was able to find an expert who was willing to teach a class, turned the whole thing over to him, and relaxed while Vinnie and friends learned.
Math was a challenge. I'd sit down with the text book, go over the problems, and check my answers. (I did get some of them right! And as we studied, I got more and more of them. It was rather fun.) I did invest in the problem-solver books which helped immensely. Most of the time, by the time I taught the lesson, I was able to show Vincent how and what to do. Occasionally, we would struggle with a problem together until we figured it out and, even less often, would have to go to my husband Dale for help. We made it through geometry and algebra that way.
A good dictionary and thesaurus are a must. Reading was an every-day affair, not only for school but for pleasure. Calvin and Hobbes was one of our favorites and anytime we came across a word we didn't know, Vinnie would look it up. (For example: transmogrify. Look it up!)
We did have spelling and vocabulary books with questions and answer keys. The books I bought with age-appropriate stories had comprehension questions and answers after each selection. I may have done Vincent a disservice, but if he was able to convince me that his answer was better than the one in the book, I would allow it. I know that was the right thing to do but when he was taking the GED he HAD to have the answer they wanted... All the major tests (ACT, SAT, GED and any other standardized test) have one answer and one answer only; you can't argue it with anyone.
We joined a world geography club for a couple of years. Each child would pick a country, do a report on it and present the paper at a dinner meeting with foods from the country chosen. Thank goodness no one could or would make haggis!
American History was fun. It was interesting to see how the time I grew up in was treated. The Viet Nam War, the women's movement, and the rebellious 60's were condensed considerably, of course. I wish I could remember exactly how it was put: the whole “hippie” generation were druggies and losers.
We skipped seventh grade completely. I visited many internet sites with the seventh grade curriculum and it sure seemed to me that it was all review. We may have missed something but we’ll never know.