Yesterday Jake and I had our educational talk about next year’s “school” year. Taking guidance from Diann Jeppson’s discussions in A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion, we discussed his goals (short and long term) and interests, as well as what he felt were his strengths and weaknesses. I explained to him that we would be doing school a little different this year and that I wanted to find out from him what he was interested in learning, what he has enjoyed over the years, and what he would like to discontinue.
I was surprised at many of his responses. Subjects and topics that he has seemingly not enjoyed in the past were high on his “interests” list. He even spoke of learning about subjects that he doesn’t necessarily care for, but that he feels are important and need to be studied. Like all mothers, I know my child is bright, but I was impressed by the maturity he displayed during our discussion.
Because I am not a person who easily adapts to new things, I had already prepared a list of subjects and topics that I thought Jake should study this coming year (remember, Jaynelle: Inspire, not Require). He had already mentioned the importance of math, logic, science and history during our discussion, so I asked about his interests in literature, Latin, writing and general language arts (the other subjects on my list). Though not a big fan of writing, he agreed that it was an important skill to have, and would be willing to work on it, as well as the other subjects.
I addition to my original list, he mentioned his desire to do some woodworking and study architecture. Building (especially with Legos) is a great love of Jake’s, so I wasn’t surprised when he requested we add those topics to the list. I’m excited about him exploring woodworking, building, and architecture. Those are topics I have little experience with, so I hope he’ll be able to teach me a thing or two.
So, our list in progress for the next “school” year is –
Math: Math-U-See Epsilon; Mathematicians Are People Too, Volumes I and II
Logic: Mind Benders computer programs A1/A2 and A3/A4
History (Ancients): Greece, Egypt, Rome, China, Sumaria
Literature: Confucius, World Folktales, Roman and Greek Myths, Homer, Buddha, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Iliad and Odyssey, Cicero, Virgil
Science (Biology): How Nature Works (life, plants, water, insects, birds, reptiles, mammals); Joy Hakim science books (Aristotle, Newton, etc.)
Latin: Latin’s Not So Tough, book 3; vocabulary review
Language Arts: Explode the Code; G.U.M. Drops (I was not going to have him continue these programs, but he insisted)
Woodworking: How to use tools, workshop safety, Birdhouse, etc.
Although the list doesn’t vary much from our last few years of work, this coming year he has a say in what he’ll be learning, and chose to continue with a modified status quo. Our next step is to get him a planner and work together to write down his learning goals on the calendar and find out what subjects he wants to study each day. He mentioned that he wanted to look in to varying his routine, possibly studying some subjects on one day and others on another. That will be something for us to discuss at our next “planning” meeting.
The last issue we discussed was how long he would like to spend studying each day. He said he would like work for two hours each morning and two hours each afternoon. I think that four hours a day might be a bit much to start with, so we’ll probably readdress that topic at our next meeting as well.
I think our meeting went very well. We ate some muffins and drank some water and just talked. The other two were occupied in their rooms, so we had some time just to sit and chat.
My next task is to establish a Master Plan for Education. According to Diann Jeppson, this plan should include a classics list, cultural literacy, academic programs, adult skills, organizational programs, experience, spiritual education, family relationships, and places to go. I won’t copy down her example of a Master Plan (it’s very long), but it is a great reference that I will be pulling from when I ultimately create my list. I have already thought about many of these areas and have a pretty good idea of what will be included in my plan. I’ll post my Master Plan as soon as I have it completed.