2017 was an even busier year for us. I know all of you with teens understand. As homeschool children age, their lives become more active. The same could be said of teenagers in high school. It's a season of life, and like all seasons that have come before, it will pass by rather quickly. It just seems rather hectic and eternal when in the throws of it.
However, even with all the chaos and all the activity, 2017 was a wonderful year for us. Since I am still desperately trying to record memories for my children, I thought it would be appropriate to post what I believe were our top activities in 2017. Here are ten, in no particular order.
We journeyed to Alaska, then Portland, for two weeks in June. It was magical. My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and this was their request for a party. Since the trip, weekly we've had discussions on how we can return to this great state. In the little bit of time that we were there, we actually saw quite a bit of Alaska -- by train, by boat, by car, and by plane. Our children were the perfect ages to travel to the 49th state. They enjoyed the trip as much as we did.
I've made it no secret that we've upped-our-math-game. Basically, my homeschool philosophy for high school is:
1. Make sure they know Algebra.
2. Let them teach themselves everything else.
I will let you know if it gets them into college.
My son runs daily. Literally. In 2017, he got pretty fast. In 2018, he's hoping to get even faster.
It's how my daughter spends her spare time. And by spare time, I mean 20+ hours a week. But she loves it. In 2017, she performed with two separate dance companies within her studio. We had several weekend trips for classes, conventions, and performances. We will be traveling even more in 2018.
It's how I spend my spare time. And again, by spare time I mean 20+ hours a week. Our homeschool program at the YMCA has grown tremendously. We have close to 500 students involved!! What started 5 years ago as PE and swim lessons has evolved into a complete alternative learning center. We are in the works of tweaking the program a bit to make it more simple and sustainable going forward. Stay tuned ....
I would love to say that I still read aloud to my children every day. Sadly, because of our schedules, that doesn't happen. However, I did discover in 2017 how much I loved reading short stories aloud to my children. Short stories are the perfect read alouds for teens. Most can be finished in about an hour. Then, if you don't pick up the book again for a week (or two, or three) you don't need to remember what chapter you're on.
My son spent all of 2017 earning his necessary hours for his provisional driver's license. In November, he received his 6-month license which allows him to drive between the hours of 5 a.m. - 9 p.m. with a single passenger. This has changed my life. Seriously. I wasn't sure if I wanted young teenage drivers. But, my husband talked me into it. He said, "I think your life will be significantly freed up once you have another driver in the house." He was right. I see light at the end of the hectic-lifestyle tunnel.
I think my son would rank driving much higher on the list than scouting, but nevertheless, it needs to be mentioned. He spent two weeks of July at the Boy Scout Jamboree in southern West Virginia. He will never forget that trip -- it was a phenomenal experience. I believe the Boy Scout Jamboree is the way Scouts are rewarded for their perseverance. We also helped our son make the decision to switch troops. This will hopefully provide him with the necessary motivation to finish the journey. Anyone who has managed a Scout's career knows that it pretty much takes a village to keep him motivated and encouraged til the end. We're nearing the end now.
Grieving and Caring
We had our beloved boxer-lab mix euthanized in February. Since then we have taken a rabbit and a Weimaraner into our home. While searching how to spell Weimaraner correctly, I noticed Wikipedia describes the breed as stubborn, alert, intelligent, energetic, speedy, and aloof. Ha! This adequately defines the puppy we brought home in mid-August.
For almost ten years I've been educating my children at home. I only have a fraction of that time left. I do believe that 3/4 of the journey can be filled with games, costumes, snow forts, crafts, Legos, and all kinds of fun. But during the last quarter of the journey, some consideration needs to be given towards my children's future. I think we're on the right path. And, we're still having fun!