Category Archives: Homeschooling

7 Inspiring (But Real) Homeschool Spaces

A few years ago I read Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt.  My Dad recommended it to me when I was taking Economics.  It was a pretty awesome book and I highly recommend picking a copy up and also checking out their podcast.  Anyway, one of the most applicable (to homeschooling) subjects lies in chapter 5. Basically, it says that if you create a learning environment for your children, statistically they are more likely to be more intelligent than their counterparts who regularly visit the library and other places of education, even if you, as the parent, are not actively engaged in their education.  Ok.  I am kind of paraphrasing here.  I encourage you to read the book and draw your own conclusions.  Whether I’ve understood the intended idea or not, I think it’s fair to say that creating a superb learning environment is a positive step toward a well educated child.

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When we moved into a new house, I really wanted to create an environment that will help the kids grow into the amazing little humans I know they are going to be.

Of course I started with my nemisis, Pinterest, for inspiration.  And of course, Pinterest did not fail.  I found a bounty of inspiring homeschool rooms.  Rooms filled with things to inspire the kids, challenge them, spark their curiosity, and invite their creativity.  Rooms that could easily cover the pages of magazines like House Beautiful and Better Homes and Gardens.

But ya know… these aren’t real.  I mean… sure, they’re *real* but they’re not realistic.  Homeschooling gets messy.  There are books and maps and math  manipulatives, and workbooks, and science tools that get spread everywhere.  There are half finished art projects and science projects that you wonder at what point they cross from “science project” to just some moldy stuff laying around on the counters.  Where is all of this in those amazing magazine-perfect homeschool rooms?

And homeschooling happens everywhere.  Those beautifully decorated school rooms are dreams, but the reality of homeschooling is that it happens on the kitchen table, in the living room floor, on the back porch, in bed, hanging upside down from the favorite chair, in the car, at the park, and just about everywhere in between.  I’ve had a lesson or two in the bathroom.

So, I decided to get inspired by REAL homeschool spaces:  spaces that I know are being used every day for inspiring and educating children; spaces that get (or are) messy with all of the learning and living that is done in them; spaces that aren’t magazine perfect, but ARE perfect for that family.  With permission, I am sharing these spaces with you to inspire (and encourage) you.

I’m going to start with my friend Jenny’s homeschool space, mostly, because she is by far the closest to magazine perfect as one can get in real life.  Her homeschool space takes up two rooms that would traditionally be a dining room and formal living room.

    

    

Jenny’s space is perfect for 2 boys filled with legos and a sports themed alphabet on the wall.  She has a lot of different spaces for the boys to sit together or alone and work on projects.  Her walls are covered with fun and interesting learning tools like the calendar and word pockets.  I love the curtain that can be tied up or let down to shut off the rooms for some privacy/quiet.  I can see this space growing with the boys replacing the little chairs and tables with bigger chairs and tables.  And you can be sure that however this rooms grows and changes, it will be fantastic.

The next space I want to share is the bedroom of my friend Gabby’s son.

One thing that most of us learn early on is that dedicated homeschool space can be hard to come by unless you are fortunate enough to have a home with an extra room you don’t need.  A lot of homeschool spaces are in the kitchen, living room, dining room, and even the bedrooms.  Gabby created this space for her son, L, when he was a little guy, and given that he is very gifted, I feel quite confident that this space inspired him quite a bit.

There is so much color!  And what little boy wouldn’t be curious with a model plane hanging in his room and a trains poster?  Plus, the BOOKS!  Lots and lots of books!  This room sparks interest in the world around him which inevitably leads to curiosity about that world.

I think this next space from my friend Kristie is quintessential homeschooler.

  

The reason I think this room is so quintessential is because it’s jam pack full of learning.  Kristie is an admitted curriculum addict and has nearly every type of curriculum known to man.  Her kitchen table serves as their primary school table.  The living room is filled with educational games and books.  The walls are covered with the kids’ artwork and school work.  Every inch of Kristie’s house is a space for learning, creativity, inspiration.  It’s not magazine perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a true working homeschool space for her 3 daughters.

The reality of a true homeschool space is a certain amount of chaos because one of the benefits of homeschooling is that we don’t just sit at a table and learn.  And our spaces reflect that chaos.  They reflect the comings and goings of our kids; the life that is lived in the homes; the changing from one subject to another even when we’re not finished with the first subject.  Many of us homeschool more than one child and might have 2, 3, 4, or more projects and activities going on at once.

One of my favorite organized chaos homeschool rooms is my friend Sandi’s.

  

Sandi has more education jammed into one room than I would think is possible.  And honestly, I think this reflects a lot about Sandi and her homeschool style.  She crams more education into her 3 little ones’ heads than one would think possible; more into her day than is physically possible; and more into life than is humanly possible.  I absolutely love all of the showcasing of the kids’ projects.  The accessibility to things like the art supplies is pretty great too because it allows the kids to immediately pursue any creative inspiration that may strike.

While Sandi’s space is full to busting, Leigha’s space is more minimal.

   

There’s still the standard book shelves, and a few educational posters, and… a telescope!  (Adding to my wish list now.)  But here’s the kicker… Leigha, like so very many of us do homeschool everywhere BUT a homeschool room.  She sent me these pictures, because she wanted to share that while she has this amazing space, her REAL homeschool spaces look more like:

   

Yep.  This is where true learning happens.  In fact, you can see one fuzzy student has taken so much in, he’s passed out from the intellectual exhaustion.  Knowing Leigha’s 3 girls, I can imagine them piled in the bed, fuzzy butt right in the mix studying science, math, and language arts.  In fact, one thing that is important in a homeschool space is our furry, scaly, or otherwise family member(s) being active parts of our learning.

Vickie sent me a picture of her dedicated school room, but clarified that, like Leigha, school usually happens at the kitchen counter, kitchen table, and on the couch…

Still, even if this space is only used minimally, it’s still pretty awesome.  I’m totally drooling over that white board.  This space feels the most like a classroom to me.  I guess the large white board and pocket charts are screaming CLASSROOM! at me.  Whatever it is that makes this feel this way, I really love that white board giving the opportunity to write lessons out, write math problems, spelling words, diagram sentences, write poems…

Now, I can’t share all of my friends’ spaces without sharing my own.  That seems pretty unfair.

We have a dedicated school/play room situated over our garage.  It’s a unique space.  It’s very large and includes a closet where I can store arts and crafts supplies, curriculum we are not using, manipulatives, board games, etc.  The ceilings are angled, however so my wall space is limited for hanging informational posters and the kids’ schoolwork, although I did pick up 2 large maps (a world map and a U.S. map) and hung them on one of my few large walls.  I love, love, love my table because it fits perfectly for the little kiddos, but is not at all uncomfortable for me to sit at, plus it has these cubbies where I keep current curriculum and the chairs have storage space underneath where I keep misc. supplies like scratch paper, coloring books, and pencils.

You’ll also notice my book shelves.  These aren’t even a fraction of the books I own.  I am a book hoarder and have boxes upon boxes of books, but I went ahead and loaded up some of the kids’ books on this Ikea book shelf.  Eventually, we will have some built in bookshelves in one of our rooms downstairs and my book collection can be put out in full.

  

Since this space also serves as our playroom, we have all of our toys in here.  Sometimes that can be a distraction because the kids want to get in there and play, but other times it can be a good thing because the littlest can be playing quietly with Legos or trains or the kitchen set while the oldest can be writing or filling out a map.

I have a TV in the room which is very useful for putting on YouTube when I want to reinforce a lesson or turning on an educational program for the kids to watch or as background noise.  The old couch we have in the room is great for snuggling up and reading which we do a lot of, but it also serves as the literal spring board for the kids to launch themselves off of.  I guess our Snow Day antics taught the kids the couch is a trampoline.

We love this space, but unfortunately, it isn’t always very usable.  The room lacks sufficient insulation currently and so in the winter it is freezing cold and in the summer it is burning hot.  We have a space heater in the room for colder days, and will hopefully soon get quality insulation in there.

Until then, I have to confess where we really do school…  Our TRUE homeschool space…

  

And… if I’m REALLY being honest, a large majority of our schooling is done here:

Yep.  Right here in the car.  I keep a travel bag with books and audio books in the car.  We also have many, many discussions during our drives as the kids see and hear things in the world that passes us by.  Not to mention the fact that when we are in the car, we are going somewhere, whether it’s a field trip or class or club meet up or just to the store or the doctor, and inevitably, there is much to talk about regarding those outtings.

No matter what your homeschool space looks like, I think the most important thing to remember is that those Pinterest-worthy, magazine perfect spaces aren’t always realistic.  Even my spaces were cleaned up specifically for this post.  A homeschool space is supposed to fit with your family, your home, and your life.  It should get cluttered and messy because learning is happening there and learning is more than a nice neat book and sheet of paper.  Homeschool spaces need to spark imagination, creativity, and curiosity.  They need to have the tools readily available for endless possibilities.

So, what do you think?  I would love to see your homeschool spaces.  And definitely comment on anything you would suggest for our spaces because I’m always looking for suggestions to make our space better.

Homeschool Schedules Are For Losers

If you know me at all, then you know I’m a hot mess.

I have a strong tendency to kinda live life by the seat of my pants.  I’m highly prone to moods, shifts in the weather, days of the week, and wild hairs that sometimes lodge themselves in unwarranted places.  Maybe it’s the free-loving hippie in me or maybe I’m just irresponsible.  Whatever it is, one thing I really struggle with is keeping a decent schedule.

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There are obvious dilemma in my scheduling deficiency like the fact that group functions (co-ops, classes, field trips) are all coordinated efforts with other people and places that DO have a schedule.  And there’s the fact that three little people are dependent on me to help them achieve certain academic goals, not to mention life goals.  And let’s not forget those daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.  A schedule helps pull it all together.

But a schedule needs to make sense for a family.

So, I’m on a mission to find a schedule that even the most capricious side of me can follow.  I’ve started by seeing what other people are doing.  There are a lot of scheduling ideas out there-  cleaning schedules, school schedules, etc.  But can they work for me?

Ok.  I have a few scheduling demands:

  1. I need a schedule with a lot of flexibility.  Something that allows for sleepless nights when there is not enough coffee in the world to get me motivated through the day.  Or sick days when one or all of us need a little extra TLC and attention.  Or PMS days when the mere thought of having to be anywhere or do anything can send me (or one of the kids- because they seem to PMS too) into a fitful rage or a tearful meltdown of epic proportions.
  2. I need a schedule flexible enough to allow for my whimsical days when I wake up and decide today is the perfect day to… [fill in the blank here].
  3. I need a schedule with enough flexibility that on those days that cabin fever strikes I won’t be on the verge of a panic attack trying to force myself to stay home.
  4. I’m not a morning person so my schedule can’t expect me to be up at the butt crack of dawn and accomplish much, but… guess what?  I’m not a night owl either, which means my schedule also has to accommodate a decent evening cutoff.  My functioning hours are like 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.  Anything outside those hours needs to be relatively mindless.
  5. We don’t live in town per se which means for co-ops and group classes, trips to Target and Chick Fil A we have to travel.  I need a schedule that allows for travel time, but does not waste that time in the car.
  6. Remember how we like to party?  If we are going to continue our Rock Star lifestyles and be the social butterflies that we can’t help being we need a schedule that has plenty of party time worked into it.

Is this a lot of demands?  Is there any possible way a schedule can be created from this?  And then the real question is if I can create a schedule that allows for all of the above I still have to adhere to it, can I do that?  Will I?

While I fail at a schedule, I’m pretty good at planning;  I’m not bad at researching; and I am a genius at making lots and lots of lists.  I think I can put these skills together and hopefully come up with a schedule that will fit my needs and the needs of the family and the homeschool.  And maybe with a decent schedule, some liquid motivation (i.e. coffee), and a good kick in the pants I will be well on my way to living a more consistent and stable life.

Or… maybe I’ll just waste some time and brain power, have an awesome schedule to share with all of you, and then continue to be as mercurial as ever.

I’m open to any suggestions.  Leave me a comment here and let me know what you think might work.

What is Free Range Homeschooling?

As if the decision to homeschool isn’t daunting enough, what with thousands of curriculum choices, hundreds of educational philosophies, an overwhelming sense of self-doubt, and the weight of the huge responsibility we are taking on, but we are also faced with the choice of HOW we choose to homeschool.

  • Do we mimic school at home with coverage of each subject, grades, and tests?
  • Do we let kids learn through life with no curriculum, tests, or subjects?
  • Do we join a blended school where part time we homeschool and part time we attend school?

There are so many different ways to homeschool, and no one way is the right way.

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We entered our 3rd year in homeschooling starting in August.  Up to this point I have suffered what I can only describe as a manic depressive attitude towards our homeschooling adventure; loving it one minute and despising it the next.  As you may remember from my post, “I Hate Homeschooling” I came to realize that as time passed I disliked the adventure less and less.  This year proved this to be true.  While my first year was spent hating homeschooling 90-95% and my second year dropped to 60-70%, this year has been an all-time low of 10-20% of the time.

What made the difference?

BECOMING A FREE-RANGE HOMESCHOOLER.

(I’m coining this new term as the category that most of us fall under.)

Definition time.  Free range is defined as “kept in natural conditions, with freedom of movement.”  Of course this definition is mostly applied to livestock, and more specifically chickens.  But I think in our case, this term works as well.

When I say Free Range Homeschooler, what I mean is a homeschooler whose style is fluid, learning through a variety of ways including but not limited to life learning, learning-through-play, learning through a curriculum, and even learning through osmosis.  Basically, learning in the way that fits best at the time we are learning.

So, what makes for a Free Range Homeschool?

First, everything should be a lesson.  When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.  The grocery store, the gas station, cleaning the house, changing poopy diapers, laying around watching crap-TV (you know, like Fairly Odd Parents and other shows that I am sure reduce my kids’ IQ’s.)  We talk about every single thing we do, why we do it, when we do it, where we do it, who else does it, who doesn’t do it, etc.

 

The best example of this is our lesson on butts about a month ago.  Yes, you read that right.  BUTTS.  My kids are at that wonderful age when you can add the word ‘butt’ to anything and it’s funny.  A lot of times they just say ‘butt’ over and over and over and over and over…  you get the idea.  So one day I made it a lesson.

We started by talking about what comes out of butts and why.  Poop and farts also being big topics around the house their attention was pretty much caught.  The Husband told the kids all about farts being made up of a gas called methane and how this gas is flammable but should one light their farts on fire it causes spontaneous combustion.  We also talked about how methane from cows and other farm animals is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases which are causing global warming.  Yep.  We really stretched that out.

Later that night we covered more butts (pun intended) and talked about butt songs.  We started by watching several music videos on YouTube beginning with Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins, then Sir Mix A Lot’s Baby Got Back, and last Bubble Butt by Major Lazer (feat. Bruno Mars, 2 Chainz, Tyga, and Mystic)WARNING: THIS LAST VIDEO IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR MOST AUDIENCES.

Our goal was to cover a wide time frame and different musical genres and compare and contrast them.  We were able to talk about the historical evolution (and lack of) regarding the view of the butt.  We then tied our discussion into our MLK lesson from the day before by talking about loving ourselves no matter what WE look like and transitioning to loving others no matter what THEY look like.

The kids were enthralled!  Even the 2 year old was talking about it days later.  I feel like I deserve some kind of homeschooling medal or award for pulling that one out the way I did.

Second, we learn through play.  A lot.  A Whole Lot.

The kids spend time playing (or rather fighting) together every day as they figure out their role in the family and their relationships with each other.  We play outside and explore the outside world touching dirt and trees and leaves and grass and bugs and rocks and… everything.  We are serious party-ers, taking pretty much every opportunity to party with friends that comes our way.

For the Littles, learning through play is essential.  Play allows them to explore their world, figure out their social environment, develop their personalities.  One way I help facilitate this, is we participate in a pre-K co op every Thursday with other kids in the 2-5 age range.  The kids are given the chance to learn, and then play with friends.  We also visit several different museums weekly where the kids get hands-on opportunities to explore everything from weather and animals to tree houses and dinosaurs.

    

S needs a little more structured play.  For her, we go roller skating, bowling, trampoline parks, and other fun places.  Don’t get me wrong, she also still runs around at the park and museums; she still gets her brother and sister involved in games of imagination.

And of course, don’t underestimate the power of playing with games.  There are so many games that encourage learning.  UNO gives the chance to learn about numbers and colors, while Monopoly allows for financial considerations.  Plus, there are a ton of games specifically geared toward educational purposes and goals.  Many a homeschool day is started with a game.

Finally, Free Range Homeschooling is allowing your children to follow their interests.

Currently, S is interested in robotics.  We have found several books about robotics that have not only taught her about the technical side of robotics, but also provides projects so she can build her own robots.  Robotics: DISCOVER THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF THE FUTURE with 20 PROJECTS by Nomad Press is a fabulous beginning book with simpler projects.  A more advanced book that goes into more details about the mechanical side and science of robots and has more complicated projects is:  The Robot Book: Build & Control 20 Electric Gizmos, Moving Machines, and Hacked Toys by Bobby Mercer.

Following her interests we have also learned to crochet, sew, and bake.  We have learned an absurd amount about real Princesses/Queens throughout time.  We have studied inventors including Leonardo Da Vinci.  And I am fairly certain that I am all but waiting on the CIA to contact me offering me a position as a spy based on all of the knowledge on spying that I currently possess.

Plus, never ever pass up the opportunity to consult Dr. Google when something comes up.  My Little Man is constantly coming up with questions like, “How do you make a metal plate” and “Why are Hamburgers called ‘hamburgers’?”  We consult Dr. Google many times a day to answer the random and fleeting interests of the kids.

Ultimately, I think that free range homeschooling works because it allows parent and child to work in ways they work best.  It allows freedom to ebb and flow as the day or even hour takes you.  If someone is sick, if the weather is nice, if relatives are visiting, if the husband gets an unexpected opportunity for a business trip to somewhere you’ve never been before… where ever life takes you, as a free range homeschooler you can adapt your school accordingly.

Do you think Free Range Homeschooling would work for you?

Homeschool Snowdays

So, it just so happened that Snowpocalypse 2015 hit about the same time our first real colds started.

Yeah…  ^^^ This picture kinda sums it all up.

We were stuck in the house in a sleep-deprived, snot-filled, teary haze.  The Little Man, who was grumpy and clingy, not to mention throwing up started the whole event. Then the Baby, who has sleep issues on a normal day, came down with it and her inability to breathe severely exacerbated her sleep issues. Plus, because of all of the cold I had all 3 kids in bed with me so getting comfortable to sleep even when I could sleep was impossible… king sized bed or not.

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Ok, fast forward to week two.  We’ve slept and subsequently woken up from our haze. The kids are feeling better but not well enough to take in public even if we could.  We have major cabin fever.  So, what do you do with 2 sick-but-getting-better kids who suddenly have pre-sick energy, 1 grumpy kid who has basically spent the last week playing Wii while Mommy and Daddy take care of the Littles, and snow keeping us all cooped up?

An obstacle course of course!

I pulled out chairs, beanbags, foam blocks, and anything else I could think of and made a path through the playroom, into the kitchen, down the hall and back into the playroom.  We started with one course and kept changing things up as the kids went through trying new things to make it better.

An added bonus was taking the time to make this a direct learning experience for the Little Man with a lot of opportunities for him to learn OVER, UNDER, AROUND, IN, OUT, and THROUGH. Plus, we worked on our gross motor skills as we hopped, jumped, climbed, crawled, skipped, walked backward, etc.

What I really like about an obstacle course is that it doesn’t take any extra things.  No stash of craft supplies, ingredients, or ingenuity needed!  And the kids loved it!  I’m usually wordy, but in this case a picture is worth more than words here:

We spread the pads apart and pushed them closer together for different challenges.  The Baby wanted to do everything big sister and brother did so we had to make sure she could.  The stool swiveled so sometimes they would sit and swivel and sometimes they would just climb over.  At one point, they were jumping off the couch, which probably wasn’t a great idea, but they were having so much fun I overlooked it.  (Hopefully, they aren’t learning that couch jumping is a good idea.)  We had a large bucket that became all kinds of different obstacles- climbing in and out, climbing over, climbing under.

Of course, all of this crazy did make the house a mess!  But I think it was worth it.  At the end of the day, we used up some energy, and had a lot of fun.

I read the book Going on a Bear Hunt by Little Simon after the obstacle course became uninteresting to the kids just to repeat a lot of the directional concepts (over, under, around) we learned through the obstacle course.

What did you do during Snowpocalypse 2015?  For that matter, what do you do during snow days period?

I Hate Homeschooling

Probably not what you’re expecting from a homeschooling blog.  And “HATE” is probably a strong word.  “Dislike greatly” might be a better fit.  But guess what… I think it gets better.

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First, let me tell you what brought us to the decision to homeschool in the first place.

My daughter, S, now 7 years old, is an advanced reader.  If you’re anything like her kindergarten teacher you’re shaking your head with that all knowing, “yes, yes everyone thinks their child is a genius” look about you.  But listen.   About 4 years ago I was on a kick determined to read some of the literary classics I missed in life. My first book was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.  After 3 or 4 children’s books, I would lie in bed at night and read my book aloud as S would drift off to sleep.  I mean, what 3 year old is interested in Great Expectations?

Apparently mine.

 

Not only would she stay awake and listen, but one night I realized she was actually reading along with me!  How did I know?  I had skipped a word and in her sweet little princess voice she pointed it out.  Later that same night I said the wrong word and she corrected me!  Yes. My 3 year old was reading Charles Dickens.  Now admittedly, we weren’t having deep and meaningful conversations about the book. She knew the words, not what the book was really about.  And not just the simple words either.  We’re not talking “cat” and “bat.”

Ok.  Skip ahead 2 years.  It was time for her to start Kindergarten. She’d gone to a cute little half day preschool the year before and now it was time for school.  She was one of the youngest in her class having just turned 5 at the end of July, but she’s very tall and mostly mature and smart so I figured she would do just fine.  And she did.  Socially.  But the school was having to bring in 5th grade material for her.  Not only was she reading it, but she was comprehending it.

I knew public school wasn’t going to work for her.  The rest of her class was still learning their ABC’s.  What were my options?  We lived in Cary, NC and the school systems were excellent.  There were plenty of options including magnet schools, private schools, Montessori schools.  But the more I thought about it, the more I mulled it over, and with the encouragement of my dear sweet neighbor and friend, I kept coming back to homeschooling.

My overly creative mind went wild with the possibilities!

Six months after I discussed and decided with my husband, reality set in.  Homeschooling is hard.

First there is the daunting task of picking (or choosing to not pick) a curriculum.  Then there’s a schedule to make… and stick to.  Oh, and when I started my homeschooling journey let me also add that I was on bed rest with a complicated pregnancy, had a very active almost 2 year old son, and was trying to help my very reluctant teenage daughter get off to her first year of college 5 hours away from home.  Needless to say, starting our homeschool was fraught with distractions.

Despite the distraction I was determined to give it a try and we muddled through the first few months with a very relaxed attitude.  Mostly we filled our days with a little schoolwork and a lot of free time.  By December I knew we needed to buckle down and really get serious about this so I started insisting that we do work every day.  My dear sweet princess had other ideas.  She liked the free time a lot more than the school time.  We butt heads.  A lot.  I lost my temper daily.  I threatened to quit and take her back to “real school” every day, sometimes several times a day.  We got behind every day even though our school work should only have taken about an hour to finish.  By the end of the “school year” we were both spent.

Then August came again.  We had put 2 months between the end of the school year and the beginning of the next.  I had given a lot more thought to how our school should be run, made a plan, changed my thinking, relaxed a little.  And the beginning of this school year started out beautifully.  We were staying on task and getting stuff done.  Our school day was now taking a total of 2 hours, but we were getting it done and not getting behind.

  

Until… fall came and with it came the sniffles.  My very active 2 year old boy became an insanely active 3 year old that didn’t listen or mind or want to participate.  My newborn baby that slept a lot became an active 1 year old that walked and wanted to be a part of things.  And my sweet princess just wanted to play.  By this past December I was starting to dislike school again.  We were getting behind again. We never got to do the fun stuff I planned.

So now we’re to the present.  I was talking with a dear sweet friend of mine who just began her homeschooling journey with her 2 sons this year and she was saying how she wanted to quit every day and how she just didn’t enjoy homeschooling.  She said she was going to quit after this year and maybe try again later.  This made me think about how I’ve been feeling lately.  Should I quit?  Maybe this just doesn’t work for S and me.  Maybe instead of helping her stay ahead I’m actually holding her back.  Maybe, while I fight to teach her, my other two sweet littles are suffering from lack of attention.  It’s hard to say I’m failing.

And then it hit me.  Sure, I don’t love homeschooling.  There aren’t those sweet beautiful moments with my kids where I look at them and think, “This is all worth it.”  I’m not that kind of mom.  But I am the kind of mom that realizes that while I don’t love it this year, I don’t hate it.  My desire to quit is only about once a week now instead of every day.  I have learned more this past year about my daughter and myself- how we learn, what we need to learn, and where we need to be going in this journey than I did last year or ever before.  I already know how to improve for next year.

I think that homeschooling gets better.  I think that each year I’m going to dislike it less and subsequently liking it more.  It’s already happening.  So I’m not failing.  Oh, but wait a minute, what about my sweet princess you ask?  Well, she never ever asks to go back to “real school.”  In fact, she says she loves homeschool and wants to do it until high school.  Is she learning?  Yes.  Last week my 2nd grader did her multiplication tables through 5’s, she can divide, she knows about the solar system and we read an entire book about Europe including the geography and government, she crocheted her sister a scarf for Christmas on her own by reading a pattern and teaching herself the afghan stitch and tunisian stitch, and she has yet to not make a perfect score on her spelling tests.  We’ve read 15 classic children’s books so far this school year and she has read numerous books on her own.  She still loves me and life and learning.  So yeah. I’d say she’s not failing either.  I think we’re actually succeeding at this homeschool thing and I’m actually looking forward to another year of it.

Of course, first I just have to get through next week.  Ha!

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