It’s tradition ever since I started this blog, to show 1st day of school photos…well, this is my 2nd year of homeschooling and the official start of the school year is sort of a blur. Do I begin with the kids’ academic classes at a nearby homeschool extension? Do I begin with the day that I go over their schedule, books and basics for the year? Do I begin with my first meltdown?
A few days ago, I was feeling incredibly defeated and then I was reminded…this is part of homeschooling. It’s not just about teaching my kids, getting things organized, staying on task, eating lunches together, reading great books, listening to classical music during the school day, exploring interests…but rather confronting the side of me that I don’t like and making a change. I suppose being home with your kids exposes a lot about yourself. I’ve learned that I’m incredibly organized, I never want to fail, and I have little tolerance for eye rolling and teasing.
So if you think I’m perfect (and I really hope no one does), these are the things I am working on this school year:
- Ignore most of the kids discussions, arguments and opinions.
That sounds so mean! What I mean is that if kids are chatting in the next room and I’m not part of the discussion, I will ignore it. They don’t need me to chime in unless it is absolutely necessary. I think this will help with my overall stress level. I hope most mothers can relate to this scenarion!
-Make our school days longer than last year, leaving more room for one on one attention.
I work 2 nights a week. This kind of schedule works just fine, it’s just that the other 2 days of the school week (excluding Friday) I filled with errand running and activities. I felt so swamped and pressure to keep with a rigid schedule. We usually were done with school by lunch or just after, but this didn’t help with my stress.
SO, the kids already know that we are taking a break after lunch and rejoining our school work at 1pm. Unless I work that day, we will have all afternoon to work on school projects, etc.
So when will I do errands? Saturday morning at the crack of dawn. I’m a morning person and Simon has agreed to help me (he’s my morning guy). Activities? The kids are taking a bunch of enrichment classes on Friday and I love killing 2 birds with one stone.
-Lesson plan every 6 weeks.
Last year, I planned on a weekly basis. I hated it. I thought doing this would allow me to be flexible and “go with the flow”, but it just was a chore.
This past summer, while reading someone’s homeschooling blog, they mentioned that their school year is broken up in 6 week terms. BRILLIANT. All 3 kids have their schedules for the next 6 weeks and I have a really great broad view of what to expect. I can give myself time to plan for the next 6 weeks.
What if something happens and I get off schedule? Not a big deal. All my planning is written in pencil and I am flexible…the idea is to enjoy the process of planning and not begrudge it. What can I say, I’m a planner/anticipator? Maybe NOT a taskmaster (although some may disagree)?
-Wake up at the same time (6am) every day.
A few days a week I wake up at 6am to either go to the gym or to leave the house by 7:20am for classes once a week. Last year, I did not consistently wake up at the same time and I think this really messed me up. It made me crabby and disorganized.
So- this year, I will wake up consistently and spend that time preparing for Penny’s lessons, meditating/praying, and starting some house chores.
-Post on this blog!
I felt incredibly isolated last year. I know I had a lot of support from family and friends, but I wasn’t really sharing what we were learning! Perhaps it was because I didn’t want to put more pressure on myself, but this year I feel ready to share what it is REALLY like to home school.
It is my goal to change the format of this blog and share more links. I especially want to share books we are reading and projects. Hopefully, my genius husband can help me…I am very far from being technical.
-Listen to my kids.
A few days ago, I was challenged by my son. He was resisting schoolwork and had a basically rotten attitude. I can’t say I was the perfect mother. I was annoyed and took his attitude personally (big mistake, I know.). After things settled, he shared with me what he needed…more of my help. Unlike his older sister, he doesn’t like to work independently. I just assumed he would…I know I would have at his age, but I’m not him. To quote him, “I just like being near people, I need to be around people.”.
This is huge. I am so happy he knew what to say, I am so happy I was willing to listen.
On to my students…
I am stunned when I look at this photo. Are these kids really my BABIES?!
Ellie just turned 13 and is in the 8th grade. She will be playing in the local orchestra, participating in a teen home school literature group, taking sewing classes and one Literature class (at our local HS extension).
She and I have committed to going to the gym together twice a week in the afternoons. I respect that she is not a morning person. I’ll just go in the morning by myself once or twice a week. We have already started this routine. It’s been really fun!
High school is next year and we don’t really have a plan. Ellie is open to all sorts of options, so we will have to wait and see…
Simon is in the 5th grade. I’m excited for Si, he is taking guitar lessons and a bunch of classes at the home school extension we are attending this year. He enjoys being homeschooled and the learning environment, but he also enjoys learning in a group.
My Penny is in the 2nd grade along with her BFF Piggy. I’ve really tried to add some fun activities for her that will make her more independent and love to learn. She is at that age of wanting to still play/create, but has an interest to read and write…but…
SO, here’s to the beginning of a new school year! Initially, I thought it started off wrong. But then again, let’s just say it didn’t start until I adjusted…ahem.