Further to the learning plan, in the realm of self-directed learning... today Fiona and I had our lunch date where we worked on the Learning Plan we'll submit to the homeschool umbrella program (called a DL or Distributed Learning program here) that we've been enrolled with for a few years. Being part of this program allows us to access some funding for services and resources. And it smooths the way when we approach the local bricks-and-mortar school asking for favours, because our DL enrolment generates funding for the school district.
Architecture. Wants to watch documentaries and try out Google Sketchup software. Will continue to explore architectural design and design in general through blogs, articles and ezines.
Math. Would like to complete the textbook she's been working through since mid-spring, and then likely move on to the next in the series. Really enjoys this as a "chill" activity. Will also continue to follow Vi Hart videos and possibly to use Khan Academy.
History, social studies, politics, etc.. Would like to stay more abreast of world events, likely by watching the news and reading on-line. Enjoys John Green videos but would also like the chance to discuss politics and ethics in a group environment. May ask the social studies teacher if she can attend his class on a casual basis for same. (He's amazing; my older kids rave about his ability to inspire interest and critical thinking and good debate skills.)
Creative pursuits. May be able to take advantage of the youth centre's after school art classes, depending on timing, and would enjoy this. Would like to work on her drawing / sketching / lettering skills (to help with architectural drawing skills). Dance: ballet and hip-hop classes. Would like to self-teach (re-teach) piano skills. Will continue violin lessons. Plans to join youth choir.
Dislikes the science textbooks she's been offered at the school, but when we pulled their Chem 10 book out as a resource when she was asking questions she really liked the look of that. The level of challenge needs to be high enough to interest her, so we may look to keeping the high school texts and workbooks available if her interest moves that way. Generally speaking she likes the "curriculum of serendipity" for science, but feels that she would like some systematic materials on hand especially for the physical sciences.
Has some vague interest in learning French. Might try out the DuoLingo app.
Reads copiously for pleasure, a big change from this time last year.
Takes a real interest in films and dramatic TV series. She's always interested in the relationship between films and the novels they originated from. Enjoys tracing back movies to the sources they are derivatives of -- historical events, earlier films, novels, styles, etc.. She does a lot of re-reading and comparing books and movies. She's taken big jags into social commentary documentaries, horror/suspense films, classic cinema and various writers' or directors' bodies of work.
She says she actually enjoys writing but not when it's done "to task" for the purpose of submitting something for evaluation. We talked about our liaison teacher's interest in receiving occasional writing samples. She understands better now that it's just to help him create a record of the fact that she can write in case anyone ever questioned the DL program's value and procedures. It's not that he wants to secretly judge it. (We did not submit writing samples last year and there was no real pressure to comply, but we know it would be preferred.) She would enjoy participating in the local high school's on-line book club discussions if those take place this year. Otherwise, she is hoping to do bits of fiction writing for pleasure and to communicate with her summer music friends, and will be happy to copy & paste bits of this writing into a separate file as she goes along. We talked about the biggest determinant of good, clear writing being good, clear thinking, and how I am confident that her current path is making her a great writer even if she doesn't strew that path with the kind of exuberant paper trail schools are used to seeing.
Physical activity and health ... we've got that pretty well-covered by way of her interests in dance, gymnastics, swimming, snowboarding, hiking, yoga, cooking and meal-planning and such. Because she'll have gymnastics only once a week, she plans to keep up a program of stretching and conditioning at home.
We pulled together these ideas based on her interests and the loose headings ("Wellness," "Language arts and communication") that our umbrella program asks us to use for our learning plan. She's not naive to what school subjects are and how they're organized being well-versed in her older siblings' school courses, and she is an organizer and categorizer by nature, so she does naturally tend to break things down by subject area. So if it all sounds fairly schoolish written down like this, that's partly the result of being the youngest sibling of a bunch of kids who go to school and partly the result of her temperament and academically-inclined nature. At any rate, I doubt I'll have to do much tweaking before submitting it and getting the okay from this year's liaison teacher.
And if for some reason we don't get the okay, we'll leave the program