Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Back to School

I'm going to try to do some blogging about home school this year. I obviously have a hard time committing to blogging, but I really would like to put down some of my thoughts, if only for myself to look back on later.

Anyway, we are ready for another year of school! We started on the last Friday in July, because I like to start early and therefore, end a little early. There's nothing like that feeling of being through with school while everyone else is still slaving away. Just kidding! (I wish there were emoticons in blogging)

Kade is in second grade this year and Luke is doing pre-K/Kindergarten work. He's only 4, but he's so eager to learn that I wanted to do some structured lessons with him. Of course, we had to do the obligatory first day of school pictures!

Kade said this was a second grade pose.

We start our school year like pretty much any classroom. We get settled, go over basic things like the calendar, and do a first day of school activity. I found a worksheet on Pinterest that had a place to draw a picture of yourself and then had the student list all sorts of things about himself or herself--name, birthday, date, favorite food, favorite book, favorite color, etc. We did something similar last year and a friend of mine (who is also a retired educator) told me that she thought it was neat that I did "normal school things with my children". Well, yeah.

Luke was very excited about starting the day. He told me to take this picture while he yelled, "School time!"

This year, as usual, I'm using a variety of curriculum. I'm not really one to use a boxed curriculum. I like to piece together different programs I find or hear about. Here's a list of what we're using for each subject:

Math-Math U See (Beta)
History-Mystery of History, Vol. I
Science-Easy Peasy (biology)
Spelling-All About Spelling
Language/Grammar-Evan Moore Daily Language Review
Reading-various books

We usually try to begin at 9:00. Before then, I like the boys (or at least Kade) to be dressed, have eaten breakfast, made their beds, and have brushed their teeth. I'm not really a homeschool-in-your-pajamas person. Today is only our third day of school, but I like to have the majority of our school work done before lunch, with only 1-2 things left to do after Grace's naptime. I prefer to use naptime to do things around the house and relax for a couple of minutes while the boys play Legos or occasionally watch something on the iPad.

I love the flexibility of homeschooling. I love that we could begin later in the morning or not do any school until after lunch. I love that our learning is not confined to a classroom and field trips can be anywhere and anytime. I love that we can choose how we learn. I love the fact that I learn almost as much as my students.

This is not to say that every day is roses. There are sibling fights, whining, complaining, stomping, tears--the usual kid stuff. I told a friend the other day that I wish I could remember all of the good moments so that when the not-so-good moments occur, I could let them roll off of my back. The other day, while we were taking a snack break, Kade said, "Mom, you're the best mom. I like how you do everything. You're my teacher, you teach me and Rachel piano--and your other students--and you're just plain mom. I'm so glad." Those are the little moments I wish I could tuck away in my heart forever, but I know I'll forget them unless I write them down. 

It's not always easy being teacher mom and "just plain mom", but it's so worth it. I love seeing light bulbs go off when they realize they can read a word or do a math problem. I love seeing their excitement when they learn about outer space or want to read further into a book to find out what's going to happen. 

Homeschooling might not be for everyone, but it's for us. I wouldn't trade these moments for anything! When I was pregnant with Kade, Michael and I were talking about different thing we would/wouldn't do as parents and I said, "There are two things I will never do: stay at home or home school. Homeschoolers are weird!" Oh, how we eat our own words!

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