As most of you know we finished up our first full year of homeschooling and now we’re beginning our second. The past school year was a year filled with ups and downs, challenges, struggles, blessings and achievements. The past year helped me to learn so much about the way I teach, my expectations, my planning habits and my flexibility. Not all good things, of course. It also taught me about how my son learns best; how he likes to learn, when he likes to learn and the impact his confidence or lack thereof can affect his learning. Sometimes our expectations and ideals of each other didn’t quite line up and that was when we hit some rough patches.
Before becoming a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling mom I taught kindergarten for 5 years. Though this experience was often a huge benefit to homeschooling at times I felt as if it locked me in an unnecessary box, one in which I forgot I had the key. I started off with intense planning that had a laid out schedule of how the year, broken down in to daily routines would go. Turns out my son has about a 3 month rate of patience with my routines. After about 3 months he would be bored of routines, certain books we were using to learn, etc. At this point his behavior was less than ideal (that’s me being kind) and my trying to teach and him learning became a source of frustration for the both of us.
Being open to learning this and reflecting on it allowed me to be more open with changing things up. I’d been so ingrained with the importance of routine that it was quite hard for me to recognize, let alone apply new strategies. When you teach twenty-some 5-6 year old children if you don’t have a some serious routines in place chaos can ensue pretty quickly. I forgot though, the biggest beauty of homeschooling…freedom. When I was reminded of this by a fellow homeschooling mom with just a simple quote posted to her facebook page I was enlightened to slow it down a bit and focus on what was important, my son learning…it didn’t matter how he learned or when he learned, just that he was learning.
I might add that we had one more challenge we were facing…little brother. We began kindergarten homeschooling in July 2016. Little brother was 6 months old. When we finished kindergarten in May of 2017 he was 16 months. In this time we were not only dealing with an adorable little distraction but one that was learning to crawl, pull up, pull things off shelves, walk, dump things out, pull things out of cabinets, climb and then basically become a small walking tornado. I will add that I have no idea how but I seemed to be far more distracted by this little force than big brother was, which was good…however a distracted teacher can be an issue too.
Last month we started first grade. We eased in with learning however having a very flexible routine so that we could still enjoy all the beauty of summer.Last week we tried to lay out more of a routine and we’re excited to be starting back up again. Little Brother will be attending pre-school two days a week which will be good for him while also allowing us to delve more deeply in to homeschooling. I look forward exploring first grade with my son. I think it’s going to be a great year. To all children attending school, whether public, private or homeschooling we wish you a wonderful school year with a lot of learning and tons of fun!