Friday, June 7, 2013

Yearly Wrap-Up

Last week we came to the end of year 13. Thirteen years we've been doing life together like this, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

This was our first day back in August, with Duncan in 6th/7th and Laurel starting her sophomore year.

I think they've both changed a lot since then. I don't have a last day picture, but I do have a few hundred from our trip to Paris in May. Here's one of all three kids on the Eiffel Tower.

 We did a lot of really fun stuff this year, like catching butterflies in the Smokies, riding our bikes around Cades Cove, listening to the elk bugle in Cataloochee.

And, of course, we took the mother of all field trips: we spent 10 days in Paris. I only have two days of that recorded so far!

Academically, Jesse has finished his junior year at Belmont University. Once again he was on the Dean's list (that's all 6 semesters), and this time he had a perfect 4.0. He received three awards for writing excellence, including the university's top writing award. Yep. We're proud. He's been home for the first 6 weeks of summer but will head up to my brother's in New York to work on his farm starting next week. In August he'll go to Florence, Italy, for his semester abroad.

Jesse at his happy place in France: looking at used books at the sidewalk book sellers'

Laurel finished her sophomore year. She's a simply wonderful girl in every possible way. She is a self-motivated, self-disciplined scholar who has a great sense of balance between social life and getting her work done. She does carry a good dose of the family procrastination gene, but it's to be expected. We seem to work better that way most of the time. This year all of her classes were at our co-op:
  • U.S. government
  • U.S. History
  • American Lit
  • Geometry
  • Ecology 
  • ACT Prep
  • Drama
  • Dance
 After two years of high school, she just has 8 hours left. She could graduate after next year, but we'll just take it easy and have a fairly low-key senior year. In addition to her classes, she participated in American Heritage Girls and did regular babysitting for a Moms group at our church. New this year: Laurel was on student council for our homeschooling support group and on the youth leadership team at our church. She's enjoyed both of them, especially student council, which plans and implements almost all the teen activities for our group. And of course there were all kinds of fun things going on, from dances to parties to the prom—and, of course, France. It always comes back to France, doesn't
Laurel in her happy place: the open market on Rue Cler in Paris. Lots of flowers, fresh fruits, cheese, and gelato.

Duncan start off in sixth grade this year and ended by finishing up seventh grade. We made the decision in December to go ahead and bump him all the way up. We've been doing a kind of blend of grades for the past two years, and we all felt like he was officially ready to move up a grade. Part of it has to do with his mid-year birthday (Christmas Day) and just feeling like he is emotionally and academically ready. This year Duncan and I studied World War II for history and literature. We didn't get everything done that I had intended to, but hey—we went to Normandy! Yep, we're back in France again.

Duncan at the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach in Normandy

And we also went to the Army Museum in France, which includes an extensive World War II collection. Like, 2 or 3 floors of WWII exhibits.

At the Army Museum in Paris

Another huge part of his WWII studies was a class called Dialogues with Veterans. In this co-op class, the kids learned about various wars/conflicts in which the U.S. was involved, and then in the next week's session, a veteran from that particular war came to class and talked with them. During the session on WWII, my Dad was one of the two veterans invited to share their stories. I cannot even begin to express how amazing it is that my 12-year-old son and his classmates got to hear about the war from three members of the Greatest Generation who were there, including his own grandfather. That in itself makes the entire year a spectacular success.

Duncan continued to make leaps and bounds in math, finishing pre-algebra mid-year and beginnign algebra 1. He's going to continue algebra 1 next year, this time taking it at co-op class. It will be his first for-credit high school class! In other areas, Duncan continued to do great in Boy Scouts. I wish I knew what level he is now, but I'm afraid I can't remember. Maybe the one before Star? Maybe Star? He also started guitar lessons back in January and has really caught on quickly.

I know. It all sounds so nice and happy. Honestly? Our homeschooling life is pretty steady and simple. My kids are smart. It's not like they are eager each day to begin school. Laurel would much rather be hanging out with her friends at a coffeehouse. Duncan would much rather be playing video games. But they recognize that this is their life. They do what they need to do. Education, for us, is life. And life is education. You know, like going to France.

My three in Rodin's Gardens

{I got it in there one more time.}

It was a very good year. I still have a couple of American Lit research papers to grade, journals to read, and grades to report to parents, but I'm getting close. We've already signed up for classes at our co-op for next year, and now I'm ready for a long summer break.

Rivers, mountains, lightning bugs, family, and friends: that's all I hope to be doing for the next couple of months. Until next August—we're all wrapped up!

Linked up with the Weekly Wrap-Up


1 comment:

  1. I came to your blog from a carnival of homeschool, and I try to leave comments whenever possible. I know I like to see comments at my own blog, which I don't write in as often as I'd like.
    Our daughter will also be a senior next year. Like your daughter, she's got just about all her required courses done. So we'll be taking it easy. She started dual enrolling with college classes online this year. She hasn't gone into the college yet. Maybe next semester. She likes the scheduling freedom online classes afford her.
    As for me, I'm hoping I'll be able to handle all the prep for college, the preparing of transcripts and ultimately if she goes away to college. I'll be using a transcript template from LetsHomeschoolHighSchool, but I'm still nervous about doing it right and all the stuff that comes with the end of homeschooling my daughter.
    I wish we could take a vacation like the one you took with your kids. A few of our friends have done that. Those are memories that will last a lifetime!!


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