The End of an Era

The End of an Era

 This is kind of a sad post for the end of the year.

I have been homeschooling for 11 years. Besides kindergarten, Westwind Alternate School has supported me all along the way. In Alberta, you need to tell the government that you homeschool. You can choose to go off the grid completely and not get any support, but if you want to, you can go with a school provider.

When I first started Westwind, the founder of the Westwind homeschool program, Granny Wendy, was my facilitator. 

She would do one on one tutoring with Maxwell every week. She was a wealth of knowledge and love, and I sincerely appreciated everything she taught. 

Then she retired.

That was okay because her son took over. 

John.  He is full of enthusiasm and love of learning. I was in good hands again.

And then a year or two later, Heather Burton was hired. She had so much to bring to the table. She has studied the Arbinger Institute philosophies and helped our kids think deep and broad. She also taught them to love plants.

This was an excellent time to be part of Westwind Alternate school. We even had two full-length plays: Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was amazing.

Then there was some government audits of homeschooling facilities, and our school had to figure out how to make a clear distinction from "distance learning" and "home learning." I know it doesn't sound like it should have been a huge issue, was.

There was many tears, hurt friendships, and I'm pretty sure our principal had some more grey hairs by the end of it all, and she quit soon after. I wrote about it in this blog:

I was considered "distance learning" and nothing much changed except I needed to have the school's secretary order all my school supplies instead of being reimbursed. 

That was in 2016.

Then, this year...I believe in December 2020, Alberta changed a sentence or two in their definition of distance education, and just like that:

I was no longer in distance education.

Mike, our principal, spent hours and hours and HOURS trying to figure out what parents wanted and how to make a distance education that would work. They are trying it out this year. I hope it works, I sincerely do, but I knew from the on set that it wouldn't work for me.

I want more freedom in my curriculum and learning style, and I'm going to be gone for half the year. Ironically, that doesn't work with "distance" education.

This means that I have to give up Heather and John. No more collaborations. They won't teach my kids any more. 

It's pretty sad, actually.

I'm still going through Westwind for homeschool. They're even letting us homeschoolers use their facilities for "mom school" and Mike is still over me, but I feel like it's not a team effort any more.

John made me this video of all the years he was my facilitator. It made me cry:

There's still my group of homeschool moms, and through it all, we've stuck together. We all go to different facilitators, but we still support one another. So at least the main reason I even live in Cardston hasn't changed.

Anyway, let's go over what we did our last month of school (yes I'm writing this on September 1st....stop being so observant!)

I'm just going to write about what I have pictures for, because I'm lazy:

Okay so social studies: we learned about latin immigration. I decided to have us watch a bunch of news reports and mini documentaries PRE Trump to get a more unbiased view of what went on. Guess what? We saw cages for children in those documentaries done during Obama's reign. 

Then we briefly watched the current news. It's all so depressing. I certainly don't know the answers. 

We made a pinata for our activity. 

 Then we learned about the women's movement. I really taught differently than most would. That's for sure! I did a pendulum of women's struggles. On one side it showed how bad women can have it. The men get paid more for the same work, men are womanizers and that is deemed alright, women should be domestic slaves, the male gender is better than the female gender, judges chose the men's side when at court, men are predators, women are useless without men, and there is a stereotype of what the perfect man should be. 

Then there is the opposite side of the pendulum swing. (Where much of society is right now.)  Where all men are considered womanizers until proven innocent, all men are idiots and ridiculous, the female gender is superior, motherhood is not something to aspire to, in fact, it might wreck your life. Men's rights are overlooked in court. All men are predators until proven innocent, and a family with no dad is great. No one needs a dad.

We watched this TED talk as part of this:

And then we talked about how there is a balance that we should strive for and to stay away from each of the extremes. This balance includes getting paid the same for the same work, mutual respect for each gender, an involved dad who is needed in his family. Getting equal rights in court. Realizing each gender has household duties. Men should be the protectors of their family of predators. 

Yep. That's the kind of men I want my boys to be. And ones not ashamed for being born the way they are.

We also got our McDonalds burgers out. It was pretty depressing. The fries worked (the homemade ones were gross and the McDonald ones were perfectly preserved) but the burgers were both gross. So much for that lesson.

We also learned about GMOs and the green revolution. I tried to be pretty non-partisan about it, but some of we really know the long term effects of these things? Specifically on bugs? We quickly went through the history of agriculture, and man, we've done some dumb things that we've had to correct. Some dumb dangerous things.

For our activity we did the "before and after" of GMO crops.

Oh and we also learned about Nelson Mandela. I haven't studied too much about him, but he appears to have really accepted white people and refused to be bitter towards them. That is truly remarkable if you think about it. Boy, South Africa sure could use his leadership right now.

We watched "Invictus" as our activity.

And lastly (well I don't have any other photos at least) we learned about Sept. 11 2001. We did talk about Malala, and the fall out of 9/11 as well, but that was just a refresher since we had an impromptu unit on Malala earlier this year. 

We took balloons and wrote messages of hope on them as our activity. 

Also, since this lands in the social studies sector, we observed May 31 as another Orange Shirt Day. We've always been taught the horrors of the residential schools, but the graves were finally found and brought to light. We went to the residential school 10 minutes away in recognition and we also put shoes and stuffies on the gate of the reserve.

Now onto science. 

We learned about the ear and we dissected...just kidding we didn't dissect anything, but we did make a model of an ear. If you clapped in front of it, it would make ripples in the water.

We also learned about DNA and heredity. I wish I spent more time on this. I remember loving learning about this from my highschool biology teacher. 

Did you know you can make it so you can see the DNA of strawberries? Well you can, so we did.

Also, we turned ourselves into strands of DNA to understand mitosis. 

We also had a class on plants. This is of our flowers that we put in coloured water.

And I think that's it for science.

And as for other subjects, Westwind had an art show:

And here's some random worksheets:

It was also Abraham's Birthday. He wanted an EYEBALL birthday party. A SIX LEGGED eyeball party. That is his cartoon character he's been drawing all year. Eyebee is his name.

And Hyrum's birthday where they went to laser tag (thank goodness they were open! COVID rules had recently changed or something.)

And last but not least, MAXWELL WENT TO PROM! Well, not really. It was "homeschool grad" that Naomi put together. It was SOOO cute. I loved it. 

And now it's time for SUMMER!
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