I can't remember if I have already shared this here. My oldest is going to college this fall! He will major in piano at University of Nebraska, studying with American virtuoso Dr. Paul Barnes while taking as many classes as he can manage in all the other areas he's interested in (math, history, and economics, to name a few). This course of action is made possible by University of Nebraska, which is recognizing Trevor's National Merit finalist status to the tune of about $25,000 per year. We are so very proud and thankful. The National Merit Corporation itself has awarded some additional funding to Trevor, leaving me and my husband to joke that we may actually save money on this deal (although that is now in doubt considering the price of fuel and the many trips we expect to make to Lincoln over the next four years).
With Trevor soon to give his senior recital and graduate from our home school, we are trying to cram in a few educational goals that still remain. He and Caitlin are feverishly working to complete Apologia Biology. They're in the final, dissection portion of the course. Our kitchen is going to be the scene of some serious mutilation over the next few weeks.
We are also working to get a research paper under our belt--you know, note cards, bibliography, the whole bit. Having taught this skill to many reluctant high school and college students over the years, my heart has been warmed by my current students' enthusiasm for the project. A few nights ago, as we practiced writing note cards at the kitchen table, Caitlin raised her head and announced, "This is fun!" I love homeschooling.
The summer is filling up faster than any summer I can remember. In May and June are the Chicago Open chess tournament, Trevor's senior recital and home school graduation, a trip to Nebraska to register Trevor for fall classes and a one-week music camp at our church. In July our niece is coming for a week and we will enjoy that family time with a trip to Warren Dunes in Michigan. Immediately thereafter is our Vacation Bible School & Creation Camp followed by my husband's departing for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod's national worship conference in Minnesota and my daughter's departing for Higher Things (a Lutheran youth conference) in Atlanta. Trevor will not be attending Higher Things this year as he will be intensely preparing at that time to represent the state of Illinois at the national Denker high school chess championship in Orlando in early August. About a week after he and Phillip return from Orlando, we will pack up Trevor and his belongings in the van and move him to his new home away from home in Lincoln. Shortly thereafter Phillip and Caitlin will travel to Montreal (!) so that Phillip can do some teaching of hymns and liturgy to French-speaking Lutherans there (Caitlin will accompany him as his assistant and will get a real life opportunity to put her own French study to good use!). Finally, in September, Phillip returns to Congo for a second round of similar teaching there. Have passport, will travel! He is very much looking forward to seeing his friends in Africa once again.
As for me, in between facilitating everyone else's activities I hope to spend a little more time getting our house in order (we are still recovering from the construction--or was it destruction?--project that dominated our year) and preparing for what I hope will be a more organized homeschool year. Much of my 7-year-old's schooling this year was unschooling-by-default, which seemed to work pretty well as he is fluently reading and computing at at least a third grade level. The one area in which he is not excelling is writing, so that will be our main focus entering second grade. He and I will also launch into a multi-year study of world history using Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World series, and I'm hoping to do more in the way of field trips to some of our incredibly rich and educational Chicago-area destinations.
Back to summer plans. I imagine that the care of our little back yard vegetable & herb garden will fall mostly to me this summer, since my husband will be too busy to do it (he also has three Doxology conferences, for which he serves as musician, sprinkled throughout the summer). Other than that, it sure would be nice to actually finish a book or two and get some exercise. I started out the year well, attending an aqua aerobics class faithfully for a number of weeks, but then weather and illness and schedule craziness took their toll. I know--excuses, excuses. I think I'll stop making them now and go outside. Why don't you join me, wherever you are? See you under the sun!