Homeschooling Is Not For Wimps

This year, I embarked on one of my biggest adventures.  My husband and I decided to try our hand at homeschooling.  So, with no experience whatsoever, I signed up to not just home-school my son, but also my daughter.

I didn’t share this information with a lot of people.  Of course, our family knew, as did a few friends.  Why did I keep it under wraps?  I suppose I didn’t want to make a big deal.  I didn’t mention it a lot in this blog.  Maybe I was afraid of failure.  The fewer people who knew, the better.

We had a lot of reasons to try it out.  Surprisingly to me, my main reasons did not include opposition to Common Core, or the curriculum being taught in the schools.  I could see my son struggling to understand certain subjects.  I saw how the teacher would spend a little time on it (realizing it was not her fault…she was following the schedule the school put on her), and then move on to the next lesson, whether he understood or not.  We spent hours working on homework.  I could see the frustration…I felt frustrated too.

We also decided we wanted our son to stay a kid for a little bit longer.  Kids in school are exposed to so many things, at an earlier age than my husband and I were.  We also dealt a lot with bullying when my son was in school.  We wanted to protect him for as long as possible.

Homeschooling my daughter was almost an afterthought.  Her birthday falls just barely before the cutoff date & I wasn’t planning on sending her to school this year anyway.  I went in teaching her with very low expectations…not to be mean, but she was very young in the beginning (she was 4 for almost 6 weeks into school).

I remember that first day of school like it was yesterday.  I got up that morning, ate breakfast and started surfing Facebook.   I saw the pictures.  Kids standing on their front porches…holding chalkboards with their name and age…maybe what they want to be when they grow up.  I remember having what I can only describe as a small panic attack.  “What did I just do???  Was it too late to run up to the school and change my mind??”  After all, I hadn’t told many people what we were doing.

That initial panic wore off.  I started to appreciate the small things.  Sleeping until 7:30.  Doing math in our pajamas.  Taking a week off when my parents and my in-laws came to visit…even though the schools were still going.

Homeschooling is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I was with my kids pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  All day long.  Every day.  I would get frustrated when my kids didn’t grasp something and I had no idea how to explain a concept.  I would get tired of hearing the whining…oh the whining!!!

Homeschooling is one of the best things I’ve ever done.  I was with my kids pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  All day long.  Every day.  I would get elated when I saw that light bulb click and they understood a concept.  I loved watching them learn.  After my daughter was done today, I found her in her room, reading.  She looked at me and said “I love reading Mom!”  It’s days like this that make it all worth it.

I can’t say I did this all by myself.  My husband was a great support to me.  He was the “principal”.  When I felt like I was failing, he would gently encourage me.  He nicknamed me “school marm”. A name I have grown to…appreciate…

We went through the K12.com program.  Not only did they provide all the curriculum (for free, I might add) and planned out all the lessons, we had access to a great team of teachers.  My son was in virtual classrooms 4 days of the week.  They were there if we needed help or clarification.  They organized field trips, science fairs and so much more.  If you have ever thought about homeschooling, but the idea of coming up with a curriculum and lesson plans scare you & the thought of doing this by yourself is more than you can handle, let me highly recommend the K12 program.  The curriculum is well done and I feel like my kids have had a well rounded education this year.  And, I had a great built in support system.

Today, as we wrapped up the last of my son’s math lessons, I had a feeling, similar to the one I had at the beginning of the school year.  Only this time, it was “Check out what we just did!  We made it through the year!!!”

We still have a few courses to complete, but we are definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Would I do this again?  Absolutely!!!  Would it terrify me?  Probably…but not as much…maybe.

So, now that we’re staring summer break in the face, am I looking forward to it?  You betcha!!!!  I can’t wait!  Will I miss the day to day routine?  Sure.  There’s something comfortable in routine.  But, I’m sure we’ll fill our days with lots of little projects.  Water gun fights with the neighbors, s’more making around the firepit at nights.  Catching lightening bugs because we don’t have to be in bed at a certain time because it’s “a school night”.

Will we home-school again next year?  Possibly.  We decided to make this a year by year decision.  I need some time to sit down and process everything and talk it over with my hubby, but at this moment, we’re really leaning towards going through this crazy adventure again.

One big adventure in the books.  Who knows how many more await us!

Date Night!

I have to admit something…I had a date with a guy on Tuesday, and he was not my husband.  He’s actually a lot younger than my hubby.  Very cute…but he doesn’t have a job and lives with his mom.  In his spare time he likes to play video games and watch cartoons.  He’s still in school.  I had to pay for dinner too, and we took my car.  Good thing he’s cute.  Oh, and he’s my son!!

Our local Chick-fil-a had a Mother/Son Date Knight last Tuesday.  It was sooo much fun!!  They decorated half of their restaurant to look like the inside of a castle.  The tables had tablecloths on them.  You paid a set fee and a waiter came to your table to take your order.  After dinner, you could visit the sundae bar!  The Chick-fil-a cow was dressed up as a knight in shining armor.  There was even a lady who came around and made balloon animals!  What a fun night!!

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I think at first, Brayden thought we were just going out to eat and I don’t think he was too thrilled about going out with old mom.  Soon after we arrive, I think he started getting a bit more excited!

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After he protected our food, we got our picture taken with the Cow (sorry for the blurry action shot!).

It was a great night!  I love that our Chick-fil-a (and I’m assuming others) do things like this.  Several months ago, they sponsored a Father/Daughter date night that Michael and Sophie attended.  I love the idea of fostering these special relationships.  At the table, they even had starter questions and suggestions if you needed some help to get the conversation going.

I have no doubt that Brayden will remember our special date in the months to come.  I hope we can make this an annual event (until he gets too embarrassed to be seen with me…which I hope is never!!).

Take some time today to spend with your kiddos (or a loved one).  You don’t have to wait around until a big event comes up.  Go to the park, play ball in the yard, sit down and actually talk to your kids.  It’s the little things that really matter to them.  Time flies by at an alarming rate.  Make these minutes count!!