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.
As most of you know we homeschool. I’ll spare you the details of the constant ups and downs of this journey (teaching your own kiddo ain’t easy) but when we made the decision to homeschool my husband and I decided to come up with our own curriculum. We loved the idea of his education being exactly what we wanted from him as a student but also just as a person living life. We wanted lessons that would support him being a smart, kind and creative person. We wanted from day 1 to not plan for just today, or a test in a year but for his future. After we had objectives and areas outlined we would then find activities, workbooks, books, etc that met our son’s specific needs and goals for that time.
It’s almost embarrassing to say that our last blog post was January 7….yes it’s November. What can I say? Life just got crazy. Less than one week after that last post we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our family and life has been a whirlwind since. As parents of 2 crazy boys, I can almost guarantee that our posts will not be nearly as often as they were before BUT we’re back at it!
Our son is 4 years old and we’ve decided to take the plunge into the homeschooling world. The past 2 years we’ve slowly transitioned into homeschooling so it won’t be a huge change for him when we hit it full-time come kindergarten. Last spring my husband and I sat down and brainstormed what we want to get out of his education. One main thing we wanted to incorporate was volunteer time, helping others and service projects.
So far he’s volunteered a couple times but we decided to start our first very own service project. The military holds a very dear place in our heart. We have very close family and friends who are in various branches and have seen up close the sacrifices they make as well as their families. One morning I just asked Gibson how he felt about maybe raising some money for our cousin who is currently deployed. We discussed that he is helping protect us and keep us safe and in doing so he and his family will be separated for Christmas. We talked about with the money we raised we could then go shopping to buy them stuff that would make them happy and send it to him and he could share it with his soldier buddies. He loved the idea and as soon as we got home we filmed this:
After spending a year easing into homeschooling with my son I realized some things that worked great, some things that didn’t work and some things that need tweaked.
I spoke about my ziplock bag method in my blog post “Easing into Homeschooling.” This worked really great! I had my chart printed in the front of the bag and all the materials that were needed stuffed into the bag. That way each time we sat down I could just pull it out and pick a few things for that day. I loved that I didn’t have to plan day by day but could just pull from the bag knowing we were working towards a goal. What I realized I didn’t like was the month by month plan. It was hard for me to sit down and plan just a month and then I had all of these extra materials that we never got to. I decided to start planning by quarter and as we’re about to finish up the first quarter, I’m really enjoying it a lot more. We’ve been able to keep up our routine, add some materials and the only new thing we have to pull out each month are the read aloud books for our theme (since it changes monthly).
After spending a year on “easing into homeschooling” with my 3 year old, the big guy has turned 4! That means we have approximately 1 year to try to really delve into homeschooling to feel “prepared” before beginning kindergarten! After a year of working with my son and creating a homeschool brainstorm outline of subject areas/goals with my husband I came up with a document that tentatively outlines what our year will look like. Below is the document:
When my son turned 3 I decided it would be good to start incorporating some homeschooling into his schedule. He attended a short 2 day a week preschool but knowing we wanted to homeschool, I was hoping to have 2 years to test the waters and work out some kinks before beginning kindergarten.
If you’d asked me 10 years ago if I’d be homeschooling my child I would have politely said “No way!” I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Reading Education. My career was being an educator. I was convinced I’d picked the perfect profession. My child(ren) would go to school with me. We’d have our afternoons, weekends, holidays and summers together. I loved being a teacher and I knew I would love being a mom. Could it get any better than this?