1) Why did you decide to home school?
Well, there’s a lot of different answers. Joel would answer this question differently than I would, but we both agree. It just depends what kind of mood I’m in. Which is interesting, because when you homeschool, your mood altering has to be constant and creative. One must maintain!
We decided to homeschool because: I have been working for a homeschooling group for going on 6 years, and the community and practicality of all of us going to and being in the same place seemed attractive. I am also done having babies (unless God throws us a curve ball, which is always a possibility) and I have very little experience in the professional world to enter it with any great merit, so my new chapter, my new job, is to take full control over my children’s education. It seems very natural to me. Our beliefs and priorities in our family were outgrowing the school system, and even though I grieve not having Battle Academy in our life, it stings less and less each day. I want to teach my children what they need to learn when they need to learn it. And THIS, has shown me that we have made the right decision thus far. Also, Joel wants to change his career path ASAP. And homeschooling gives the whole fam a bit more flexibility, even though I’m not feeling very flexible these days. But it is something I personally am giving to my husband as well. I sacrifice my time, so we can have a happier family unit. There, that’s the more polished summarized version. You answer that question your way. I am, of course, completely understanding of everyone’s choices now. Some seem harder than others, but I know what sending kids to school is like, and I honestly can say, I love having my kids with me. I really really do.
2) Are you home schooling all three?
Yes, yes I am. Josiah was thrilled, Eden was not. Tessa is getting Pre K twice a week at different places, and plenty of “worksheets” at home. I’m glad I’m not having to do three curriculums quite yet! Even though I’m driving more, most of the time we are all going to the same place. I’m not going to send them different places unless I feel that is better. It’s our maiden voyage year, and so I’d like to keep us all doing the same things.
3) What curriculum are you using?
I’m taking Josiah to Hilger Higher Learning with me where he takes Literature, Creative Writing (Shurley Grammar), Art with me, and Choir. Josiah and Eden are both doing Math U See this year. We’re actually playing catch up this semester because they both have math gaps. I want them to KNOW this stuff. At the co-op we’re in, the big kids are getting Apologia Astronomy this year, History Activities, and P.E. Tessa gets a full day of Pre-K with all the trappings. I’m using some basic grammar worksheets for Eden to understand tenses, rhyming words, compound words, and plurals. Vocabulary for Eden is going to be through books. I got some free spelling books from a good friend and seasoned homeschooling mom. Josiah takes piano with his grandpa, and Eden does art with me each week as well as some cursive writing practice. Tessa gets another day of Pre K at New City with her closer friends. I know there are some things that are missing. I’m hoping to find supplemental things as the year goes on, but we’re pretty busy each day.
4) How is it going?
“It’s going!” That’s my lame answer. That’s about all I can say in a polite, short convo about it. It’s so life-altering right now. It takes more of a long sit down in a quiet place to go through it all. One reason I’m trying to blog little by little. We have little melt downs each day. I expected that. My big kids have different things that motivate them, and I know how they work. I need to push them harder in some ways, and ease up in others. I’m still learning. The best way I can describe it to parents of those already in school is, it’s like “home work” time but all day long. And that’s good because you’re doing work during their best hours, and it’s rough because it can be super frustrating and grueling. I have to learn how to give each kid independent work at the right times. And I have to learn how to teach things together. I have to plan ahead. All. the. time. I spend Saturday and some of Sunday with their books filling in their agendas (just like Battle Academy!) and then doing my 4 lesson plans for the art classes I teach (that would be my art teacher hat I wear). If I was smarter, I would plan several weeks, or a whole semester in advance. Heh. That would be pretty amazing right now.
What I’m most disappointed about in this experience is how clingy and needy Tessa has been. I don’t know if she wants to ‘just be with me’ or if she wants to have work like the big kids. But I know she’s feeling rough, and that isn’t cool. Also, it’s a lonely experience. I am constantly working. I can’t hang out, I can’t chit-chat, I mean, not really. Playground days seem impossible right now. It’s great to get a nice 4 mile walk in to burn off steam. It’s nice to go out with the ladies for a nightcap. It’s comforting to go out to the JH playground and just visit for 30 minutes with whoever is there. Taking the kids to a coffee shop or the library is life-giving. But I’m at work. This is a full time job, and I have no peers to work with. It’s me and the kids. That’s isolating
I get it. I’ve been around enough home school families and I never in a million years thought that would be me. But as I have been teaching for going on six years, it seemed less daunting. I mean jeez, just doing 2 hours of homework a night with the kids should make you feel less scared of the idea. I know plenty of non-sheltered, over stimulated home school kids too. Kids that are bullies, kids that are obsessed with video games, kids that brag about their ipads. This does not seem like the typical “home school” persona. I have had students with long skirts and kerchiefs on their heads, but it’s been rare, and they are easy to teach, no worries. I have also seen kids that are amazing violin players, dancers, equestrian award winners, kids that have the time to invest in these activities because they are less busy with a school schedule. I don’t worry about my kids having friends, they see kids all the time! And it’s quality time. Not shuffling down hallways or snickering at the desks when they should be working. I wish I was better at activities and play-dates. I have a lot to strive for. But I’m not going to freak out (too often). I know I will hit a wall when I’m so exhausted I have no idea what I’ll do. But today, right now, I’m good. And tomorrow afternoon, I’ll start planning for next weeks adventure.