I really need to get back on the writing band-wagon. It's a really cathartic thing to do when I keep at it, but such an easy thing to let slip when I am not disciplined about it. Suffice to say, a LOT is going on these days.
Kenzie started online school with Colorado Connections Academy. I have never been happier with schooling and Kenzie has never been more engaged. Seriously. I was nervous and skeptical when she approached us last year to ask if she could homeschool. We had the discussion about her father and I both working full-time and that we couldn't be home to hand pick her curriculumn and then give lessons throughout the day, but that we were willing to look into options that would work for all of us.
There were several schools we looked at and reviewed. I wanted something that didn't alienate her, first of all. Kenzie is a pretty social teenager. She has a small group of friends to begin with, and we were afraid to impact that even further. So, the school we selected needed to offer social opportunities. After that, they needed to have a structure, a rhythm to the way lessons were presented and what was going to be required of Kenzie. The teachers needed to be accessibly and interested in her success. And finally, we needed to feel part of the day-to-day process so we would know exactly where she was accelling and where she needed assistance.
With that criteria, we were pretty easily able to narrow it down to one school. Connections. It's a national school system with state branches. It is a public school. Which means, Kenzie is tested like all the students at her former brick and mortar. The graduation requirements are very similar, in fact, there's an additional 20 hours of volunteer time required over her old school district.
Every day she wakes up and checks her planner to see what lessons are being presented that day. Generally, she has her core classes every day (English, French, Science, History) and electives every other day. The best part? She has actual textbooks for classes like Math and History. What I would have done for a math book to find examples of what she was learning (or not learning) last year. OMGoodness! Having a book is so wonderful.
Kenzie spends about 6 hours, on average, a day working through her lessons. Some days she has "quick check" quizzes to make sure she's understanding and comprehending what is being presented. Other days it's portfolio work where she's assigned more like a project that she turns in. And then there's tests. Other days there are "live lessons" where the teacher literally leads the classroom through a lesson and all the kids taking that class participate. The students can ask questions and the teacher works problems out on the white board. The best part is that the live lessons are recorded. Kenzie can go back and review it as many times as she needs or wants to.
The most amazing thing....when she's stuck...she reaches out to her teachers. And they respond! They help her find solutions to her questions. They are helping her to be self-sufficient and truly engaged in her education. Let me tell you, this is a 180 from last year where she felt...defeated.
The materials and what's presented remind me of my midwest education. Core knowledge -- which is different from common core. She learned more about history in the first week than she had learned all last year. Straight from the horses mouth!
Kenzie is hovering around an 86% overall. This time last year, she was already struggling and barely maintaining an overall C. It's not because our school is easier. In many ways it's much more difficult than what she came from. It's considered college prep. And having read and witnessed the materials first hand. I have to agree. It's because she's able to focus. She's not distracted by things like passing periods and kids being disruptive in her class. And, when she sees herself slipping in a subject, she knows she needs to give more effort to that area of study. It's amazing. And so fun to watch her blossom into an excited learner. We couldn't be happier.
So, I guess we can call homeschooling on line through Connections a success for our family. I'll kepp updating as we go.
Jake has started college...I can't believe those words when I see or hear them. I have a college age kid. Sheesh. Where did the time go? He's doing great so far. Studying on his own, holding down a job, becoming a pretty responsible young man. He's still got a lot to learn about the way the world works, but overall, I'm pretty proud of the person he's become. I'm just thankful he still likes us enough to involve us in his life.
Frank is well. Still biking up a storm. Loves it. Work is going well. He saw his 5th anniversary with Lockheed. He still says he wouldn't change a thing....he loves working for them and from home. I like him being there as well, truth be told. :)
As for me. Still working at Air Methods. Having some health issues lately. Getting on top of it. Good news is, I've lost about 10 pounds. It's time.
That's about all the news on the Brackney front these days. Stay tuned. Maybe I'll get back here before too long.