Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling’

As I’ve started to dip my toes into the homeschooling experience I’ve found myself swarmed by an extremely kind and generous community. Long gone are the days of isolation for homeschooled children.

5-mile-dam

Homeschooling friends old and new seem to be coming out of the woodworks, and I feel like soon enough, we’ll know just as many people whose kids go to public school as are schooled at home.

My heart has been pulled toward homeschool for years. A quick search of my blog last night revealed that I’ve even shared those thoughts here multiple times. And now here I am. Invested (literally, I’ve already dropped nearly $200 on curriculum and materials) and excited.

cherish365-playing-in-water

One of the first things I wanted to do was find a co-op I fit in with. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I figured I’d know it when I found it.

I wanted a co-op that would involve being outside and exploring. Preferably a diverse group with open-minded people. And would you believe that I found one pretty quick.

It was thanks to a friend of a friend I met at a “last day of school” party. I was lamenting about wanting to homeschool and she spoke up about how the process works for her.

A couple meetings and dozens of questions later, I’m all in baby!

Finding homeschool co-op friends.

We went to a co-op meet and greet at the park a couple weeks ago. The BYOP (bring your own Popsicles) party was a hit, and we wound up bumping into others we already knew who are also beginning their homeschooling journey. By the way, if you’re looking for a fun way to break the ice (no pun intended) with new friends, a Popsicle party at the park is the way to do it. We brought TMNT popsicles to share and they were a hit.

Finding homeschool co-op friends.

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The truly amazing part of all of this though, is even if we didn’t count the fact that we lucked into a co-op opportunity at the perfect time, we’ve had SO many friends reach out to give advice. I say give advice, but no one is trying to coming across as an expert. However all of the moms I’ve chatted with are more than willing to share what’s working for them, and encourage me to follow what works for us.

Finding homeschool co-op friends.

We’ve had a playdate at a river with new homeschooling friends, gotten together at friends’ homes, where I can browse through their curriculum. And then online I’ve gotten countless emails and message. Some from blog readers and others from people in Facebook groups, or friends I’ve connected with online through the years. All are offering more encouraging words and helpful answers to questions.

I don’t imagine I’ll become a source for how-to homeschool, but I’m excited to share our journey in this new adventure, things I learn from others along the way, and hopefully those of you who have been there or are considering taking this route will chime in with your thoughts as well.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I’m so glad I’ve found my tribe.

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*I’m passionate about making memories with friends old and new, which is why I’ve partnered with Mirum Shopper on behalf of Target and Popsicle on this post. All opinions are my own.

This summer I am deciding if I’m going to unenroll my daughter from public school and homeschool her next year. But if you were to ask me for my answer today it would most definitely be yes. Yes I am.

I’ve told a handful of friends and my husband and the first question is always the same.

Why?

I have so many reasons. But the strongest one is because I want to. I’ve always had that option as a top choice in the back of my mind. All this time I’ve just been making excuses for why we should give traditional school a try.

So she could get socialization and make friends. Because I loved school. So I could get a break during the day.

I wanted to homeschool before my daughter started kindergarten but told myself she would be missing out if I didn’t let her go. Some of my friends told me kindergarten was so fun and I didn’t want to take that away from her.

But this year came and went and it was fun, I loved her teacher, loved her school, but like a brick wall on the last day of school it hit me in the face. This was fun. But I still want to homeschool. Public school certainly is a place she can do well. But just maybe not the best option.

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It’s as if she has been a bird stuffed into a box lined up to 17 identical boxes. Sure, she can fit in too; but she’d do much better with the freedom outside of that box. It’s just the way the system is set up. And maybe learning how to conform to a system is important at some point but, she not even 6 yet. I think she will be ok to wait awhile.

Yea, but but WHY are you going to do this?

I feel like when you’re talking to a homeschooling parent we feel the natural desire to explain why we can’t, don’t, or won’t homeschool our own kids. When I’m describing the reasons for our choice it’s definitely not against anyone who chooses differently.

I’m a sucky school mom

If I’m being totally honest I feel like I sucked this year as a parent with a kid in school. I went to the parties and parent meetings in the evenings, I read the amazing 7 Mindsets book the school is using as a program, and I sent supplies and tried to keep up with other news. But I dropped the ball on so many things. Some silly (I forgot to order her field day shirt) others more serious (I didn’t realize she was having problems paying attention the last quarter). Then add in the fact that she missed quite a few days for family trips.–I’m a terrible mom. At least that’s what I told myself repeatedly this last school year.

I wasn’t exactly sure how hands on or hands off I could or should be in the classroom. I didn’t want to be distracting. But perhaps the more I was there the less distracting I would have been.

Maybe more time helping at the school would have made a difference. But it just wasn’t always plausible with my son and schedule.

Speaking of which…

Time.

At the beginning of the school year I thought the seven hours my daughter was away at school would mean lots of extra time for work. And since school started at a gruesome 7:25, she’d be home fairly early and we’d still have the rest of the afternoon to go out and do things.

The reality was by the time she got home, ate a second lunch did her homework, and whatnot, we were exhausted. Not including other after school activities like dance and girl scouts. We wound up dropping a dance class because she was not practicing or looking forward to it. Plus it’s more shuffling around during the day.

Counting the hustle and bustle of getting out the door and to school in the morning (which we were tardy an embarrassing 15 times-(but to my credit the 10 minute earlier time switch mid-year didn’t help)), the rushing to pick her up after getting her brother, and time spent on homework and projects in the evening, it’s about a 2-3 hour ordeal. That’s all the time we need to do a full homeschool day with one-on-one (or one-on-two) attention.

But really, HOW are you going to do this?

Honestly I’m still figuring this out. I still have a full-time workload and deadlines up the wazoo. But my husband is supportive of us giving it a go this summer then seeing how we feel come fall.

It may mean cutting back on work for me, or adjusting my schedule so that we have enough time for learning and trips in the morning, then the afternoons I’ll work on my projects and deadlines. But I’m ok giving up some spending money if it means I can make this a priority.

So you’re really serious?

Deciding home school: Homeschooling water color activity.

As a heart attack! But I’m giving myself some grace. Time to have fun with it and test the waters this summer. A homeschooling friend of mine told me not to feel the need to dive right in, but just enjoy dipping my feet in for now. And that’s what I intend to do.

We’re still working out a routine and we are discovering new ways to learn different subjects. I’m researching like crazy, asking other homeschooling parents lots of questions, and toying with a free curriculum. I’m hoping summer is full of learning and fun, and that we can continue it right on into first grade at home.

It’s actually scary putting this out there and stating my feelings so strongly knowing there’s a possibility I’ll fail and send her back to school. But whenever I get into a deep conversation about deciding to homeschool my heart throbs and I get emotional. I feel like this is what I’m being lead to do. What I need to do. I just need to find a way to make it happen.

“Summer isn’t as fun as it used to be,” my husband told me the other day in the kitchen. “When we were kids I loved summer, and always looked forward to it. Now I hate it.”

Speak for yourself buddy!… I wanted to say.

He went on to tell me how awesome fall is because it’s not as hot, and there’s football.

Yea yea, I get it. We’re grown up now and some of the novelty has worn off. But for our kids, summer means swimming, and popsicles. And from here on out it’ll be known as the time for vacations, no school and playing with friends.

I can’t help but feel like I haven’t been the most fun this summer (ok, this was before we left for Disneyland, now my daughter REALLY can’t complain). But when my kids are at school their teachers have lesson plans and activities and all sorts of fun things planned out.

I see other moms with all these screen-free goals, and crafts and activities. And here I am, an unorganized mess just flying by the seat of my pants (how I thought I could homeschool I have no idea).

I decided to challenge myself to come up with some fun preschool water activities we can do at home to liven up and cool down these hot Texas days.

So far we’ve done one. HA! Ok, I’ve got three more weeks to improve my record. Oh, and if you could trips to the pool then that improves my score.

Preschool summer water activity DIY Alphabet Soup

When I was at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago I noticed a foam alphabet puzzle. I grabbed it cause for a dollar, it could be fun to mess with. Little did I know my kids would have so much fun with this thing.

Big T loves to take all the pieces out and bring them to me, naming the letters he knows. My daughter likes to try to fit them all back in the puzzle correctly.

I decided it would be fun to incorporate these into a water game we now like to call Alphabet Soup.

Here’s what you need:

  • Letters (the first time I did this I used a combination of foam letters and magnet letters off my fridge) The foam letter packs are just $1 at the Dollar Tree.
  • A big bowl or tub.
  • Water
  • Ladles or big spoons

That’s it! My kids helped me fill up the bucket, we added the letters and then as they scooped them up I had them yell out the letter they found. Lil’ J even scooped up letters to spell a couple words.

Preschool summer water activity DIY Alphabet Soup

So it’s a super easy preschool water activity that they played with this for a good hour, and had fun splashing around, and cooling off a little. Of course this could be done inside as well but you probably will want to put a towel down.

I have to admit, I’m EXTREMELY impressed with my son and his letter recognition. I mean not to brag or anything but he’s really really good at it for just turning 2 thanks YouTube Kids!… I mean, my diligent instruction time.

I recorded it so you can see what I mean. I’m telling you, he knows all but maybe four.

 

As (if) I experiment with more (super simple) activities that are a hit for my kids I’ll share them along the way.

Though I’ve only had a few “mom wins” so far this summer, I think about what I remember from my summer months. I loved playing with my friends, reading as many books as I could, watching every Disney movie we owned, staying up late and sleeping in. My mom didn’t plan specific ways to keep us entertained, and I think it helped me learn to be creative on my own.

So even if I don’t improve my fun-activity record, I think my kids will be ok too. We’re still making memories together, they’re just not all Pinterest-worthy.

What summer memories are you making?

Preschool summer water activity DIY Alphabet Soup

My heart pounds every time I stop and ponder about the fact that my daughter is starting kindergarten next year. It’s more than a year away, but still, I feel like it’s happened too quickly. It seems like just a few months ago I was taking pictures of my pregnant bump, and now, she’s almost four. Soon, I’ll have a memory that spans an entire generation as her first day of kindergarten overlaps with memories of my own.

The only thing is, many things have changed since I was in kindergarten. Schools are crowded, classes are bigger, and people are… Dare I say… Crazier.

Ok, maybe I’m overreacting about the last part, but I do sorta feel like influences aren’t like they once were. Part of this could be the innocence (or ignorance) that shrouded me much of my life.

I remember the first time I had heard people bought, sold, and used drugs in the bathrooms at my high school. I was completely shocked. It was my last semester of high school and to be quite honest, I had been avoiding public restrooms since middle school.

While I’m not worried about her fellow kindergartners offering her a joint in exchange for some Halloween candy, I do wonder if, in general, I could teach her classes better.

Think about it… One-on-one attention versus learning with a class of 25. We can move at our own pace, and focus on subjects that interest her. And I’m no Einstein but I’m pretty sure I’ve got up through algebra down. I may need a refresher on long division but you can learn just about anything on YouTube these days.

It all comes down to this question I’m trying to answer: How can I help make my kids even more awesome?

I always loved school, learning, and the social aspect of it all. I loved making new friends and starting new classes. Come to think of it, not much has changed; I guess that’s just my personality. I think a lot of who people turn out to be just happens to be who they are. I can influence my children as much as I want but they’re going be who they want to be.

My parents always drilled into me that I was going to go to college. Neither of them went, but they wanted that for me. I don’t remember when I decided BYU was where I wanted to go, but once I had my sights set on that, I was determined. I knew I needed good grades so I studied hard, and did what I had to do.

I think because my husband and I both graduated from college, our children should have a good shot at going. I mean, I don’t know the exact figures but I’m pretty sure the statistics lean in their favor.

Senior pictureMy sister Lauren just got accepted to BYU Hawaii and I’m so proud of her. It’s a school I dreamed of attending but never tried because fear, (and a lack of a broadcast program). She’s graduating high school a year early this month. I explained to my daughter how her Aunt Lauren is graduating, and how it’s a BIG DEAL. We shopped for some gifts and cards to send her.

Choosing the perfect Hallmark gift.

If shopping in a Hallmark store with two kids who want to touch everything sparkly, shiny and breakable isn’t nerve-wracking, I don’t know what is.

Choosing the perfect Hallmark card.

The singing squirrel and plush giftcard-holding owl were their favorites. I got her a picture frame and we chose a card. My high school graduation paled in comparison to my college one, but both are worth celebrating, and something I want my kids to remember, and hopefully aspire to do.

Hallmark graduation squirrel gift. So adorable for a high school or college graduation present.

I am glad that there are good influences in my children’s life. People like my sister Lauren, and I hope that I can continue to surround them with others. Is homeschooling a good start?

It seems as though the homeschooled kids I’ve met have a good track record for being very smart. Sure, some of them are also socially awkward, but these days there are so many more groups, clubs and recourses, kids aren’t as sheltered as they once were.

Luckily I still have a year to decide, and this fall I think I’ll give it a dry run with home pre-school. As long as my schedule continues to be as flexible as it has been, I think I’ll be able to give it a good try. If I crash and burn I can always send her off to kindergarten next year. And even still, if public school doesn’t fit us, we can always try homeschooling or private school or something else. Whatever gives my kids the best chance at growing to be awesome.

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I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions. Some of the products featured in this post we selected, courtesy of Hallmark. All opinions are my own. You can find out more cute graduation gift ideas by visiting Hallmark.com.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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