Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Teachable Tuesdays: Homeschool Series Part I: Homeschool Bliss

The Hubster helping out in the Science department with an experiment
Now is the time of year parents start thinking about the next school year. Do we want to homeschool our kids? Do we continue homeschooling?

We went through this same process a couple years ago. At the time, I had our oldest who was turning five in June, Mr. Mouse who just turned one in February and another little bundle due in April. Was I crazy? How in the world could I homeschool a Kindergartner with two babies in tow? In all honesty, I was absolutely terrified!

But, I knew I had bathed this decision in prayer and thisthis was what God had called me to do. I knew I needed to trust Him and allow Him to guide me through this process.

I said I was terrified. But, that’s only half the story. While I was terrified, that was simply whether or not I would/could fit it all in during our already busy day. I was not, however, terrified about the actual schooling itself. In fact, that excited me. I loved school growing up and I just knew my kids were going to love it too.

HA! Unfortunately, my oldest does not share my sentiments. In fact, we’re quite opposites when it comes to school. To be honest, I had visions of BLISS! I just knew homeschooling was going to be wonderful!! I was most nervous about teaching him to read. And that was the easiest thing I did!! He picked it up so quick. It was like a dream! Literally!!

I love paperworkHe loathes paperwork.
I love English, GrammarHe despises Spelling, Grammar.
I strongly dislike Math (although I’m good at it)He loves Math and numbers.
I loathe HistoryHe eats up our History lessons.
I loved Handwriting in schoolHe would rather have his teeth pulled out!

So, as you can imagineour first year was quite the struggle. And, truth be toldour second hasn’t been much smoother. (Although, I have some new techniques I’m starting to implement, so I’ll let you know how they go.) I have really had to work at school with him. Now, I can already tell Mr. Mouse is going to be an all-together different challenge and my oldest daughter is going to be like her mother. She loves to color, write and learn.

In fact, as I write this post, my oldest is sitting at the table working on his papers. Now these papers should have taken him 30 minutes or less-literally. And now we’re going on 50 minutes!! I’m telling youit’s like pulling teeth!

I hope I am not alone in this. Surely some of you out there also thought your homeschooling experience was going to be quite different than it is! I have to be honest, it has been taxing. I am exhausted on school days and I often wonder if I can, or even should continue on. But, I know what the Lord has placed on my heart. I know I am called to teach my children at home.

So, here are a few steps I have taken and found to work when encountering one of those particularly difficult school days.

  1. Start your schooling session with prayer. I know we begin our days with prayer, but starting your schooling session with prayer will re-focus not only you, but your kids. We often do our Bible time at the beginning of our lessons to give us even more focus.
  2. Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit. If your child is having difficulty learning fractions, ask them to help you in the kitchen! If they’re having trouble with concentration, give them an activity to do while you’re teaching. My son often stands at the table while we read our Science or History lessons. Sometimes I find him standing to do his Math papers too. This does seem to help, so my OCD self has learned to let this be okay. (Hopefully my daughter will be the quiet onebut that’s not looking likely either! She has two older brothers for pete’s sake!)
  3. Let loose of your OCD ways and have FUN!! Science lessons and experiments should be FUN and EXCITING!! So, find something active they can do to enhance the lesson. Take a nice nature walk outside and collect leaves or name clouds. Or better yetlie down with your kids on the driveway or even your trampoline and make shapes out of the clouds!! I remember doing that as a child and loving it! What a FUN and relaxing time you will have. Just throw in some learning while you’re at it and you’re good!
  4. Don’t be afraid to get messy!! Okay, I’ll be honestthis is my most difficult one! I don’t like things to be messy. I love to be organized, although my house might reflect otherwise. But, hey! I’m working on it! I find some of the cutest and most adorable crafts on Pinterest for my preschoolers and I find myself not doing them because it will get messy. SHAME ON ME!!!! Kids, especially preschoolers, are so tactile that I am doing a dis-service to my own children if I don’t take advantage of it during these most impressionable times!
  5. Don’t be afraid to change curriculum-even in the middle of the year! If the curriculum you loved for your 2nd grader is not working with their learning style for some reason Change it! I have been struggling with this one in Math. The curriculum I use is really great, but I think he needs more. I just can’t find what I think will work. So, I will continue to pray for God to lead me to the right one. (P.S. I just hope its soon!)
  6. And, lasttake a break! Don’t forget to take a day off every now and then. And don’t be afraid to take an impromptu day off if you and/or your child(ren) need it. We frequently visit the Zoo on nice days (we have a membershipWOO HOO!!) and do our learning there. We find new signs to read or print off a BINGO game to play while we’re there. It’s a great way to have fun while learning and spend time with the family.
These are not scientifically proven facts, but simply my opinions and I have found they work pretty well for us. Some days are definitely better than others, but learning how to defuse those difficult days has helped tremendously.

What are some “de-fusing” techniques you use at your house? Leave a tip in the comments below!! I would love to hear your tips and ideas!


Linking up to these wonderful parties:
The Imperfect Housewife

Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling



Kate said...

I have loved homeschooling!! We are in year 23 with still 7 more to go. It's been such a fun journey and my Thankful Thursday post is the joy I've had.

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

Oh Kate...I hope didn't misunderstand me! I LOVE it too!! But, as you well know I'm sure, there are challenging days as well. I hope I conveyed that properly. I will have to check out your Thankful Thursday post! There are so many things I am very grateful for in this journey!!