We’re coming up on our summer break, and I’m feeling reflective. What a journey this first year of homeschooling has been!
What I love…
- researching and choosing and purchasing curriculum and books and other stuff.
- watching my kids aha-moments when something just clicks!
- finding fun ways to learn things, like flying paper airplanes in the bath tub , for example.
- learning right alongside my kids. This year I’ve learned that I like history. A lot.
- our relaxed family life of getting to sleep a little later in the mornings, take time off when we need it and go to museums and other public places when most of the rest of the world does not.
- the atmosphere of learning that has blossomed in our family. It’s hard to explain. I used to teach my kids stuff but I also thought, “Oh, they’ll learn how to read/how to do that specific math skill/etc. in school so I’m not going to worry about it.” Now my focus is more like stop and seize the learning opportunity whenever you can. It is my focus and my passion and it’s caught on with The Husband and the creek kids. The kids are seeking out opportunities, getting super excited about them and it warms my heart.
- Of course, you know my number one challenge is my toddler, the adorable and mischievous Love Bug. Life was so much easier when he went down for a nap at 1:00 every afternoon. Never did I imagine that he would stop doing that so soon. Being flexible, keeping him occupied and knowing when to put away the phonics book and head for the park have been our best coping tools.
- Whining, oozing out of one’s chair and other forms of resistance (you know who you are, Firefly). It’s certainly better than it was at the beginning of the year but it’s still a challenge to read what this is about: Is he tired or bored? Do I need to forge ahead or readjust something? Or does he just need to get over himself and do his darn math?
- The bumpy road of learning how my kids learn best. One of the main reasons I pulled Firefly out of public school was so that he could learn at his own pace. Finding a gentle rhythm of when to push and when to back off has been a lot of what this year has been about. Part of that has been defining my own homeschooling style. I love some of the natural learning aspects of relaxed homeschooling, but I also believe, that for me, personally, I would never have wanted to learn about things like psychology or geography or how to craft a well-written essay, if someone or something hadn’t given me that spark. So I aim to expose my kids to a variety of things. Some are bookish-schooly things and some are not. But what they choose to focus on is theirs to define.
- Scheduling. This is mainly an issue for my middle child, The Queen Bee, who turned 5 last month. It seems that when I finish math with her brother and then try to do reading with her, she’s already deeply involved in playing with her horses and ponies and doesn’t want to be disturbed. And that’s okay, she is in preschool after all, but I just wonder how this will play out in the future. She’s a night person and I so, so, so am not, but I bet if I summoned the energy, I could teach her how to read between the hours of 9 and 11 p.m. and it wouldn’t take very long. Alas, I’d really like to do this during mostly daylight hours so making sure she gets my time and attention has been, and will probably continue to be, a challenge.
What does the future hold?
We’ll take a break for the month of June. We’ll lightly school for the rest of the summer, focusing steadily on reading and phonics for both Firefly and The Queen Bee. And we’ll delve into our history curriculum, Story of the World, Ancients with an emphasis on lots of fun projects, museum visits, go-along books and crafts. Firefly loves history and is especially interested in ancient Egypt so this should be a fun way to spend our summer.
The Queen Bee goes back and forth about whether or not she wants to be homeschooled or public-schooled for kindergarden. She so wants to ride the bus like her brother did, to drink chocolate milk for snack and…..well, that’s pretty much the extent of her desire to go to public school.
Sometimes, she says she’d like to go for ten days and then be homeschooled. For now, we talk about it when it comes up, gently explain the realities and then let it go. Honestly, if I thought she would get ready and out the door every day and had some compelling academic, or even social, reason for going, I’d consider signing her up. It’s only half day kindy after all. Think of all the stuff I could get done with Firefly. Love Bug would only have one sibling to compete with….
There’s so much more I could write but I think I’ve hit the highlights. Plus, it’s a beautiful Spring evening, my wonderful husband is building a fire outside in our fire pit and all three kids are in bed early. I’m signing off!