Are We Skipping English This Year?

    This past weekend, the kids were sharing with my husband, their dad, what they’ve been learning lately. Okay, it wasn’t their idea. As fairly typical teens, they didn’t want to have to explain what they’ve been doing, but I pushed it as I want to keep him involved and he wanted to know. I take these little sessions as a time for them to review some of what they’ve learned as they explain it to their dad, and they’re our version of a progress report or report card.
I pushed them to talk about the marine science lessons they’ve been doing in a homeschool co-op class–lessons that have involved several trips to the beach, taking apart shells, mucking through the swamp, and other fun activities as well as working through a beach field guide. They described the Geometry Club I devised
where more than a dozen homeschooled kids have been coming and doing hands-on activities, games, brain teasers, and such to supplement the geometry book we’re using at home. They discussed the Video Club and Art Club my kids dreamed up and have successfully implemented with more than a dozen other homeschooled kids in each. They talked about their lessons in government which so far have included a trip to witness the local county commissioners’ meeting, watching and discussing a presidential candidate debate, an in-depth study of the constitution and its amendments as well as working through a book on government. They described lessons in Spanish and knitting and sewing, as well as volunteering at a couple of local libraries.
“What are you doing in English?” my husband asked.

“Oh, um, I don’t think we’re doing English this year,” one of them eventually volunteered.

“Excuse me?” I asked dumbfounded. “You really think we aren’t doing English this year?”

It turns out that since we haven’t been using a grammar book or a vocabulary book or some other English textbook or workbook so far this year, they think we’ve skipped English. Which is odd because we do a lot of lessons without using a textbook or workbook. I reminded them that we’ve read “Dr. Jekyll and Mr, Hyde” and “Jonathan Dickinson’s Journal” together, that we’re working on “Ivanhoe” currently, that they’re in a writing club where they have to share their writing with peers, critique the writing of others, and learn to accept criticism of their own writing, that they’re in a Shakespeare Club where they’ve learned about plays of his, his life, techniques he used, and memorized some lines, and that we’ll soon be going to our first Debate Club meeting. Quality literature, writing, Shakespeare, and debate. Too bad they’re missing out on English language skills so far this year.  smh



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