People have been asking me here and there how homeschooling is going. So I figured I should just write it all out it in a candid post.
A lot of my shares here lately have been showing bits and pieces of our journey thus far. Learning outside, learning at the mall, and finding our community, but I wanted to take a moment to just, well… Blab.
(Super cute printable from Fly on the Wall Ink)
We started over the summer and had been at it for a couple months, but we called August 22nd the “first day of school” when everyone else in our district started.
We technically began the day after the school year ended because I felt like I wanted to homeschool and I thought that if I didn’t jump on it RIGHT AWAY it wouldn’t happen. I’d wind up moving onto something else, and ignore that urge I’ve been having for a long time.
We didn’t start with any specific curriculum. I literally just googled first grade math worksheets and started from there.
Then I stumbled upon more and more free resources and friends told me about some (like Ambleside Online) and I planned a very loose curriculum around library books and whatnot. Meanwhile I was printing free samples of different box set curriculums because I knew ultimately I’d want a pre-planned package I could go by day to day to help myself feel more confident in what I’m doing.
I landed on Heart of Dakota for the main curriculum then I bought All About Reading for reading/phonics supplementing and Math-U-See for math studies. I’m LOVING them all so far. Heat of Dakota has each day planned out by subject, and each subject takes between 10-25 minutes to complete and when it comes time to do the math and reading I just switch to my other curriculums for that time.
Starting this week Mondays are co-op days where we meet for literature/poetry, science and art. Every other week we’ll take field trips. In the co-op we each have jobs. My assigned job is… Try to guess…
I’m Yearbook Photographer/ Editor!
You know I’m not the least bit excited about that duty *wink*.
I also helped with the art lesson plans for the kinder-aged kiddos and I’ll be a fill-in guide.
Then, we also joined a Wild Explorers club where every other Thursday we’ll meet for a nature hike and activity where the kids earn badges for completing assignments. Kinda like Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts but we’ll do it all together.
It seems like every week I’m finding another club or activity going on for homeschoolers and I’m wanting to take advantage of it, but I’m also trying to pace myself because while I LOVE all of the friends we’re making, my favorite part of this whole experience are the sweet moments in the time we spend together as a family.
It may be easier to explain how it’s been my breaking it down brutally with the good, the bad and the crazy.
I absolutely love the time aspect. This seems counter-intuitive because the kids are home with me all day, but I feel more productive in a short amount of time. Yes, I’m doing all the teaching, but it’s done in 2.5-3 hours. Instead of rushing out the door to be at school before it starts at 7:25, we are leisurely waking up around then, or later. Most mornings my kids clamor into my room after my husband has left for work and we snuggle and sleep in until about 8.
Then we spend the day together. And I actually love it.
I appreciate seeing exactly where my daughter is struggling, and watching her improve. I adore her “ah ha” moments and witnessing the lightbulb go off in her head.
I enjoy taking our lessons further, and learning about what she’s interested in, and discovering new interests as we follow our lesson plans.
I can’t get enough of the freedom to learn anywhere and explore.
I delight in the fact that we are done before lunch, and I love our weekly poetry tea parties (with apple cider).
I love making this path as we go. At least right now, I mean, she’s only 6.
I love that we are getting WAY more quality time together. The whole experience has given me a mental shift and my focus on family has heightened tremendously. But that also brings me to the bad…
It’s not all roses and buttercups. There are a couple challenges so far.
For one, I’m still adjusting the rest of my life around homeschool. This has moved to the top of my priority list so finding time to get all of my work done hasn’t been easy.
I’m behind on emails, blogging less, and I kind of feel like doing the bare minimum to keep going professionally. But obviously that’s not good either.
I’m spending a lot on supplies. Of course this isn’t a requirement but I WANT to laminate things and buy new art supplies and math manipulatives. It’s my new craft supply addiction.
It’s not always easy with little brother at home. He’s gotten better at knowing when it’s homeschool time and I try to give him little activities to do, but it’s definitely more distracting and slow moving on the mornings he’s home. I give her more breaks to play with her brother. Now he’s going to a gymnastics preschool for four hours twice a week and we really knock out a lot on those mornings.
Then there’s the alone time thing. I’m most inspired to write and create content when I’m alone with my own thoughts. My alone time necessity tank is at a critically low leveling right now.
I used to work at night but now I’m too exhausted not long after the kids’ bedtimes.
Thankfully my husband has come to the rescue. Last weekend he spent two afternoons taking them out of the house so I could be alone and… Well, actually catch up on some deadlines. He’ll also keep the kids off me so I can take a midday nap and then work a little longer after bedtime.
Hopefully I’ll get into my stride and come up with a work/homeschool balance that works for me.
Homeschool is on the brain all the time. It’s like a new obsession.
Instead of editing photos, I’m researching homeschool math tools.
While catching up on a show I love I’m laminating Bible memory verses and making sight word flash cards.
In the car my kids listen to podcasts.
I’ve deleted un-educational apps from the iPad they use and installed Starfall and educational games in its place.
Even on weekends and holidays I find we are continuing our lessons and practices.
It’s not easy to turn off. It’s more of a lifestyle switch we’re making.
Before I felt like she was at school all day and deserved a bit of a break when she got home. Now we’re done with school so early, but I still feel responsible for her learning 24/7. So I want to seize every moment for her to be able to absorb quality information.
From audiobooks, to story podcasts to playing games together, and going outside to observe and talk about and draw what we see in nature… I can’t really turn my “teacher brain” off.
This is crazy to me. I mean… Who is this person I’ve become?
She’s kind of scaring me. But I think I like it.