Year One of Homeschooling, A Review
We're about to finish up our first year of homeschooling everyone and I'm pretty proud of us. We did it. Almost. By sometime in June we'll be done!
The year was one I knew had to happen. In years past our plans weren't so clear regarding schooling. This year I knew home education was our calling and my primary responsibility. Not so long ago I remember praying, "Lord, I just want to be a Mom" and boy did He answer that. I've got my kids with me most all the time now and all the things I had been working at to make some extra income for our family started to fade. Schooling our kids would be my priority and I'm so glad for where we're all at now, myself included.
Apart from the fact that my kids don't wake up to an alarm and I'm not stressed about bedtime because of said alarm clock in the morning, I'm sure they'd say they've enjoyed it too. In fact, I've asked my 10 year old for his final paper this year to write me an essay about his first year of homeschooling. I'm guessing sleeping in may appear in there.
We've traveled and explored. We've read books on the couch, gone for walks with friends, and overall learned a lot separately and together. We've done the best we could in a lot of ways, and in others I can see how we can improve next year.
We fell into a rhythm somewhere a few months in and knew that we'd start our day with Bible and History or Science reading. We'd hopefully do math and language arts before lunch too. I pictured us having leisurely read aloud time together after lunch but the reality was there was more work to be done and the bulk of book reading happened before bed. The other day I was reading Around the World in Eighty Days and one of my son's said, "wait, is this history?" That's just one of the things I love about homeschooling. All of the sudden they realize they're learning all the time, even when a book is fun and exciting.
The biggest thing I'd tell anyone about home education is that I love how I can teach my kids where they're at. While they know their grades, I often forget them. I'm not as concerned with which number curriculum book they're on because a Kinder Math book from one company may seem more a pre-k level to me and so on. We use what works and I love that they're not comparing themselves to their peers when it comes to grades or where they "should be at."
Our days took longer than I would have liked some days, but there was learning in there too. We tried to be done by 2 PM. I was done, they were done, everyone was done. Maybe next year I'll throw in more science experiments or art projects in the afternoon so the day doesn't so abruptly end. We'll probably do a more intentional lunch break and our day will end a little later.
We got to cook a lot more, make meals from scratch and we were barely in the car. That's a huge praise! We used to eat a lot of Chik-fil-a, now we eat copy-cat nuggets from Costco instead. I used to think my oldest wouldn't get much time with my youngest because of their school schedule, but now they're together all the time. We've grown as a family and they've grown as brothers.
We had hard days too. We had days when the plan didn't happen, when frustrations rose up and tears were shed. We had to figure out what expectations were, mine and theirs. I had to let go of a lot of mine. I had to talk to my husband who was homeschooled and tap into his knowledge.
I had to give myself grace and not look at what others were doing. As much as I wanted to think I could work out and read my Bible and get ready for the day before school happened, it didn't. Wake up, drink coffee, read Bible, feed children. Next year I'll get better at washing my face before 3. Truth.
We're one year down and many to go. I'm not sure how many. I've learned to hold things more lightly, to not plan as far out as I may like. For next year, I know we'll be homeschooling again. After that, well in the words of Elisabeth Elliott, "Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now."