Tag Archives: Teaching

5 Things I learned in my First Year of Homeschooling.

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Our first year of homeschooling will be over in a couple months and I’ve found myself reminiscing ( and yes I’m using the correct word here) about all the worries and anxieties I had leading up to the beginning of the school year.  Here are 5 things I’ve learned about myself and homeschooling.

1.I AM NOT A TOTAL REJECT!! 

To explain, I have never been very confident in my ability to make friends with women as an adult woman. Now to keep me from sounding like a recluse I will add that I have a lot of women friends but the difference is that I made these friends when I was just a girl. When we were just girls. I still have friends that I’ve had since elementary school, those are some of my closest friends. I have friends that I made when I was in a youth/college group at church and a very good friend that I made at my first ever job, Hobby Lobby. But the entire realm of women makes me shutter. Now as a homeschooler, you might not think I meet very many grown ups or see anyone at all ever that is over 4 feet tall but in all actuality I do and it was one of my biggest fears going into this. The kind of homeschooler I wanted to be was not the one that came natural for me. (Hey look, I have social anxiety and I was public schooled… more info on this in # 4.) We got out of the house, we joined a co-op where we knew practically no one going into it. We have play dates consistently and guess what… I am surviving. I sweat a lot but not as much as I did those first couple months of Thursdays, meeting people and trying to get to know all the different mothers.

I like the word mothers better, makes me sweat less than the word women, lots of different women. Eek. And I really can’t explain the fear because I am one.

2.HOMESCHOOLING CAN GET REALLY EXPENSIVE!! 

I didn’t really realize this until I started searching around for next years curriculum. We are doing My Father’s World 1st grade curriculum right now (which was not so cheap itself) and looking at future purchases with them would be going into a lot of several hundreds of dollars, not just several. I’ve realized through blogs and blogging myself that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to teach your child. You don’t have to get one big curriculum package. You can buy used, which is what I’m looking into for this next fall. Going cheaper does not mean you will lose any of the quality that you are wanting. My son is only 5 and we are doing 1st grade this year. He is amazing and a super fast learner, I don’t know if all my children will learn at this rate but if so I shouldn’t have to spend much on anything else right? :/

All that being said, we do absolutely love My Father’s World so may still get the bulk of it through them.

3.IT’S NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!

Going into this I really didn’t know what to expect but I had a feeling, after hours of searching for curriculums and subjects and grade levels that I was in for quite a ride. And it really is hit or miss. Some things that we have loved this year and last (preschool) others have not so much. For instance we absolutely loved almost everything about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, my child really took to it and the only thing I had a real problem with was the stories got kind of repetitive. My son got a little bored with it so we skipped a few here and there. He picked it up quickly though. Now once I started talking to other mom’s in our co-op I learned that some of them didn’t care for it because it didn’t click for their kid and they found something else that did. I think I will find this happens a lot more as we go along and my own children have a different way of learning.

4.MY CHILD IS STILL NORMAL AND I BELIEVE HE WILL CONTINUE TO BE!!

I’m not gonna lie and say this wasn’t a huge worry I had, probably because it’s one of the most common misconceptions people have about homeschooled children. They will be socially awkward or they seem just a little different. Honestly it’s really funny now that I think about it. I went to public school and I was a a little weird and awkward so if my kids ends up like that it’s most likely genetic. Here is a great post about this very topic. It’s Because They’re Homeschooled: No, Actually It’s Not. I know several homeschooled children and several public schooled children and you know what… I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Some kids are shy, some are not, some are very active, some are not.

Personality, Personality, Personality!!!!

5.IT’S A LOT HARDER AND A LOT MORE REWARDING THAN I EXPECTED!!

Don’t get me wrong, I had a feeling it would be hard but it’s a different kind of hard once you are deep in the thick of it. Before we started I was worried about all of the above, about curriculum choices and normal kids and me being the biggest, nerdiest mom ever. But now those have pretty much faded away, every once in awhile they will pop up again but it’s nothing I can’t handle. What was unexpectedly hard is realizing that there are some days when neither of us want to do school. Somedays my temper is a little shorter than I would like. Some days showing grace doesn’t seem like much of an option. While we make school as yell free and stress free as possible that doesn’t mean that some days aren’t harder than others. There is a fine balance in being the mom and the teacher of your children. I don’t think I have quite gotten it down yet but I’m working on it. Another hard thing is just wanting them to succeed, wanting to do the best thing for my child and when they are struggling with something or not figuring it out the thought pops into my head, “Maybe I’m not good enough to do this job.” and then that’s about the time the rewarding part comes in. I have found that about the time when I am starting to second guess our decision to homeschool there is a grace that blankets our house and it’s definitely not from me. Whether it’s just peace that washes over me or me seeing my son figure something out that he’s been struggling with. I’m reminded that I didn’t go into this decision lightly. Lots of prayer and thought and discussion went into this and I know that at this time in our lives this is what we should be doing and God never fails to remind me of that when I am starting to get a little stressed out.

I really was not expecting or planning on writing down all of my thoughts that I have been having this last month or so about schooling but I’m so glad I did. It was a great way to reflect and see that the prayers and worries I had earlier on were answered in one way or the other, which then gives me hope and faith that the worries and struggles that come along now and in the future will not overtake me.

If you are struggling with a decision about homeschooling, whether it be to try it out or not or just how in the world to start off, I’m always here. I definitely don’t have all the answers but sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who gets it. Support is a very necessary thing, whether you homeschool or not!!

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3 Day Quote Challenge (3) Wreck it Ralph

There is no one I’d rather be than me.

Last day of the 3 Day Quote Challenge, I had to throw in one from one of my kiddo’s favorite movies. And the fact that it is spot on totally helps.

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I had a more serious quote picked out when I first started putting this together (which you can see at the end of this post) but just couldn’t seem to get the wisdom of Ralph out of my head. I do believe the quotes could be some what related with a little reaching.

Anyways something my kids and I talk about quite a lot is being happy with ourselves. Not wanting what someone else has and being content with what we have. Basically a “get what you get and don’t throw a fit” mentality but I feel like we try to go beyond that a little. We not only try to not throw a fit when we don’t have what we want or we don’t like something but we try to find happiness and appreciation in the things that may not be exactly what we’d hoped for. So here’s a little inspiration for today from a very insightful kids movie!!

These are my last 3 nominees for this challenge. Just post a favorite quote for 3 consecutive days and nominate 3 bloggers to do the same.

http://angelicscalliwags

Paintbox Mum

God’sCharacter

Here’s to happy quoting!!

This is the quote that I was going to choose. Didn’t make the cut though:/

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School Madness at Home

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Today I got My Father’s World 1st grade curriculum for my oldest son. We won’t start until fall of this year but it has been between this or Sonlight for about a year and I just couldn’t go back and forth in my head anymore (I’m about to go nuts!) so I went ahead and jumped the gun and bought MFW.

My reasonings for this was because they both have great reviews, they both have a schedule laid out for me, the only difference and really deciding factor was the price. This being our first full year of homeschooling I just couldn’t imagine shelling out almost a thousand dollars when I’m not sure how it will even work for us and at this time I’m only planning on homeschooling the elementary years but I’m always open to whatever comes our way.

All that being said I got this box of books and worksheets and ideas and activities and although there is a laid out plan I can’t help but feel overwhelmed. I’m sure once I get it organized I will feel a little better. Lets hope anyways.

So what are your thoughts? Has anyone ever used or is using My Father’s World? How does it compare to other curriculums? I realize that I have already bought it but would still love to hear some feedback.

Here’s to over preparation and uneasiness!;)

How to Encourage our Kids to Be Healthy in a Healthy Way

I ran across this article on Facebook. A friend shared it and then I shared it and now I just can’t resist sharing it on here. This was specifically written for mothers with daughters but I think that it’s fitting for boys and girls alike and really just people in general. It’s a great reminder on choosing our words wisely and putting more focus on positive encouragement, on motivating and training little ones up with healthy habits not unattainable perfection. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Continue to article…

Mud Pies in December – Unheard Of

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Today my children made mud pies for the first time ever. The fact that this was able to happen in late December in Missouri is pretty much a miracle. If you know Missouri at all you know that the weather is unpredictable, there have been days it starts out warm and sunny and is freezing by late afternoon but you can pretty much rely on a pretty cold December, January and February. That is until this year. It has been absolutely gorgeous and play worthy weather the last couple weeks. Not that cold and snow aren’t lovely in their own right. Love love love winter weather but it sure is nice to have a couple surprise warm weeks to enjoy.

Today I gave my kids some old pie pans and plastic serving spoons and they went to town. They added sand and mud and grass and a little love. Today I held my youngest and watched the wind carry the clouds across the bright blue sky and I couldn’t stop thanking God for this opportunity to play and appreciate his lovely creations.

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My daughter asked, ” Is this how we show God we love him?” (This is due to the fact that they watched Boz the Big Green Bear this morning and it was talking about all the ways we can show God’s love) She asked this while mixing her mud pie with all her little 2 year old might.

I told her that when we enjoy and play and love on all that God has made then we are definitely showing him love too.

Today we’ve had some surprise blessings and some surprise play and it was all around beautiful.

Here’s to being thankful for the little surprises that each day brings!

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(Even the guys joined in)

Continue reading Mud Pies in December – Unheard Of

Adopting a Family for Christmas

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“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Just a little reminder to get signed up with a local charity, donation or adoption service in your area for the holidays.

The first few years of having kids my husband and I went way overboard on Christmas presents for them. I’ve realized in the last year or so that they have way too many toys and while we try to teach them to be giving and to be happy for the things they already have without wanting and wanting and wanting more, we struggle because they already have so much so why wouldn’t they be happy? This year we are changing things up a bit. They have picked 3 toys each from their rooms to donate to children in need. Luckily we didn’t have to force them to do this, they were more than happy to once they heard that there are lots of kids who don’t get presents for Christmas. They were devastated by the thought.

We’ve also decided to cut Christmas in half. By doing this it allows us to give more in other ways. My book club, The Pageturners, are adopting a family for Christmas and by cutting our family Christmas down I’m able to give more than I would have been any other year. We are going through a local church and charity service and have already talked with the mother of our adoptive family. I am here to encourage all of you to do what you can and give to those in need. If you aren’t able to give then go and serve at your local soup kitchen and take your kids with you! Let’s remember what Christmas is actually about and not what we’ve made it into.

Feel free to share about ways you have given in the past during the holidays? This is not about being boastful or prideful (this post is about our struggles in the past to give and how we are changing that now) this is about encouraging ourselves and others to give more this season. Would love to hear and would also be nice to get more ideas on how we can give of our money and time!

Here’s to giving a helping hand to our neighbors this Christmas!

Defeated by High Expectations

Today I learned from my sons part-time preschool teacher that he is extremely smart academically. He’s 4 and can read sentences, knows how to spell small words etc, etc… but… his hand writing isn’t very good. His letters are two big and sloppy. My son is 4 and he has bad handwriting… was I surprised? Yes. But not the way you may be thinking. I was surprised, not that my sons handwriting was sloppy (I homeschool so I’m aware) but that this was even an issue. I nodded and said I would work on tracing more and using scissors and I smiled and I got in my car and that’s when my brain clicked back on and I started to think and wonder…

Why are public school’s expectations so high?Don’t get me wrong I’m all for having expectations for my kids. I expect my 4 year old to have manners, to be kind to others, to try his best, to have good listening ears. I expect him to still have an eagerness to learn after the elementary years are over. I don’t expect him to stay seated for more than 20 minutes without getting wiggly butt, I don’t expect him to write his letters in 1 inch lines that are always legible. I don’t expect his cutting skills to be immaculate, all of that will come with time and patience.

A little background on our schooling plan. When we decided to homeschool full-time about 6 months ago I had already put my sons name on the waiting list at our public school’s preschool. So when I got the call about him getting in I was a little apprehensive because of our homeschooling decision but my husband and I prayed about it and decided that since we wanted to eventually do a hybrid homeschooling plan that we would go ahead and start part-time preschool and see how it goes. And all in all it’s been great. His teacher is awesome and the activities they do are fun and its only a total of 4 hours a week and I homeschool the rest of the time.

Until this latest update I’ve been pretty happy with how it’s been going but now I’m feeling a little stumped. While we were talking I immediately felt deflated, not only as a mom but a homeschooler as well. When my brain clicked back on in the car, all that deflation went away and I felt frustrated. Frustrated at the school system for making me feel so defeated. Frustrated that my child and his abilities are lumped together with 10 other kids his age and they are all expected to go at the same speed. All kids excel in different areas, kids do not learn the same. While my child excels at reading and is more visual, another child may do poorly in that area but excel in hands on activities such as writing. Knowing all of this, again I have to ask the question why does the school system expect so much?

There are so many studies showing how preschool and kindergarten in the US are getting it wrong (and public school in general) less recess, more academics when in all actuality it should be the reverse. Here are a few articles I love on the subject and what caused me to ultimately choose homeschooling.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/09/01/the-decline-of-play-in-preschoolers-and-the-rise-in-sensory-issues/

http://www.woodlandadventurers.org/news/forest-kindergarten-finland

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/09/13/15-key-facts-about-homeschooled-kids-in-college/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pauline-hawkins/my-resignation-letter-teaching_b_5160721.html

All that being said, I have some great friends that are great teachers in the public school system and my son’s preschool teachers are great teachers. So my concerns don’t fall on those awesome teachers out there.There are a lot and they don’t get enough credit, that’s for sure. I am questioning the school’s expectations only because they do not make sense to me nor do they make sense to impress on my little ones. We actually moved to a great school district to make sure that if we don’t homeschool through high school that they will be in good hands. And I’m hoping that the expectations they have in high school will actually be something that is attainable. Please, before I get any haters out there, research for yourself, check in and see how many expectations your little one has to meet to move on to the next grade. I’m only looking at elementary so please to do not chastise me for coddling my old children. All that I want is for my children to be excited about learning throughout their schooling years. I don’t want them to have so much pressure to live up to their peers that they lose that joy and that love of learning.