Friday, March 23, 2012

The Weather = Summer Vacation

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The warm weather today made school this week a bit difficult.  It has been difficult keeping the boys tied down long enough to get a lesson in, let alone a full day of school work.  I've tried to break it up throughout the day, but we've struggled.  I felt like we HAD to take advantage of the beautiful weather.  We did many lessons on the picnic table in our yard, it was lovely!

A cold ran through our house, which left one child with pneumonia (his lungs are super sensitive!) and one with an ear infection.  The baby is still fighting it off...slowly but surely.  I feel like I'm struggling to get a solid week of school in!  We are having fun and I'm doing my best to be flexible....

The boys begged me to start cursive.  I did buy the A Beka cursive books at the beginning of this year and then chickened out and mailed them back.  Fearful of how difficult it was going to be with it being our first year.  Little did I know how natural learning cursive would be!  I was terrified of teaching our T, he is not gentle in anyway and I was imagining how teaching him to make loops and careful marks would go.  Would you believe he is doing marvelously?  He is so neat and careful when he writes.  I am sold on starting with cursive young!  I am going to start Hannah next year with her preschool material!

We are looking forward to buying next years curriculum! The boys are so excited!  Right now we are on track for completing our material 5-6 weeks before Sam lets out for school so I think we will start right in with their next years material.  I am hoping that the material will arrive in time.  I am also going to hit a few used curriculum sales in hopes of finding Shurley English, other than that we are going to go with A Beka for phonics and math.  I have really liked teaching their material this year.  We are going to be using the AIG science and history curriculum.  We used their science curriculum this year and it has been awesome.  The kids learn so much from it and the activities are right on target!  I am also looking at a more definite art curriculum, more than just drawing and coloring.

I am not sure how to fit everything in that I want to get in a day!  I am thinking about creating a schedule with certain times for certain subject areas.  I wonder if we spent too much time in certain areas this year?  I think I stressed to much and went overboard on explaining/ making sure they each mastered every single standard. It made some days very tedious, I don't want to lose the joy of learning!

To sum up my thoughts on our first year of homeschooling thus far:
*I totally underestimated the time it would take.
*It is a full time job.
*I fold laundry at night when the kids are in bed, because there is no other time to do it.
*It has been a huge growing experience for me as I experience areas in my life that are lacking (um...patience?!?!) and those areas are regularly pointed out in subtle ways in my homeschooling.
*I always feel like I'm never doing/teaching them enough.
*I lovelove love having lunch with my kids every single day...and breakfast...and dinner...and snack!
*When we have doctors appointments, they don't have to miss anything.  They will still get the material!

It is awesome to see how much the boys have learned this year!  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Here, there, everywhere!

The last 2 months have been a whirlwind. I have many posts that I've written but they are tucked away.  Putting them out there would leave my heart a little to vulnerable.

I have struggled with how open to be with how difficult homeschooling has been.  I don't want the doubters to say, "I told you so." And I don't want to discouraged those who want to get started!  With my teaching background, I had anticipated homeschooling to be blissfully joyous.  It has not been.  My teaching background does very little to help in our homeschooling adventure.  Nearly everything I've learned in college is exempt when not practiced in a classroom.  Homeschooling is very different from teaching in a classroom. Multiple age levels, on top of keeping up with all the house work and having a new baby...crazy.

Would I change it for next year?  Absolutely not.  I enjoy having my children home with me.  I enjoy knowing what they are learning and being able to encourage them along the way.  I enjoy eating lunch together.  Some days I watch out the door for Sam to get home so I can have a little break, a bit of breathing room.

I struggle with balance.  Having the house picked up, making dinner, folding laundry...are all things that I work to get done after school.  With children who are learning to read, school takes a lot of time.  I struggle with how much to go with the flow and how much to strive for a cleaner house or time to run. How hard to fight for this or that? Or do I just let it go?  I love running.  I love getting outside and hearing my sneakers smack the pavement.  I love listening to praise music.  I love the sweet fellowship I have with just me and God that is so rare within the walls of my house.  But I'm seriously struggling with the time I need to do that.  I'm not in a season of life where picking up and going for a run is easy.  Do I let it go? Or fight for it? Or maybe I need to find a different way to find the solitude with the Lord that I so enjoy on my runs?  My life isn't the same as what it was a year ago.  I was a Mommy to three little one, 2 IN school, no diapers or nursing sessions to worry about.  And now, life is so different!  Homeschooling 2, nursing a baby, changing diapers, struggling just to find time to spend with each is it ok to let running go for now?  It isn't so much the exercising, just the act of running.  Soon enough the weather will be nice for bike rides and walks with the stroller.

And as Sam said, last night...I could have a terrible case of cabin fever!  Come on spring!