September came and went like a summer storm. I am still having a hard time believing that it is over. We started homeschool off with a bang. I had been piecing together curriculum and lesson plans since July but still felt like I needed more time. I did finish a few things. I finished putting together a list of writing prompts and set the schedule out for the entire year for math, english and journal for my 6th grader. I started out pretty excited, we had an entire bedroom for school. My oldest son moved out last year after he graduated and I finally made time to put furniture back into the room (it took me some time to even want to). I set up desks, posters to go along with what we would be learning, bookshelves, an armoire and sweet little manipulatives to fill up all of the space in between.
Last year, I felt like I didn’t do enough for my kids in terms of education. We went through an on-line academy for their school and their curriculum was set out for them. They had teachers and interactive lesson plans to teach them the lessons. I didn’t do much, other than making sure that they were doing their assignments. With my jobs, and to-do list, I had a lot on my plate. I neglected doing anything other than what I had to do. After all, it isn’t an easy job working full time at home (times two), raising kids (times three), keeping the house clean and in order, yardwork, etc. One of the biggest stressors was getting the kids to and from extra classes and sports outside of the house. They were involved in soccer, gymnastics, piano, dance, art, volleyball, choir and baseball. I laugh looking back. I was worried about not socializing them enough. Oh, what your mind can tell you! Obviously… it was plenty!
They were both getting good grades in their classes, but they felt like they had been put through the ringer at the end of the year. Honestly, I couldn’t blame them. I was a bit relieved that I wasn’t the only one! I felt like I had let them down. An overworked, underplayed life is no way for a kid to live. I am determined to not put them through that again. Not on my watch!
This year, I am mixing it up a bit. My daughter is in 8th grade and is taking 3 classes on-line and the rest at home. My youngest, Elisha, is in 6th grade and is taking all of his classes at home. Krista will be in high school next year and we want to make sure that she continues to be challenged in order to prepare her for what is to come. She is in honors algebra and I would hate to put her in the wrong class and slow her down. I found an opportunity to teach both of my kids the same curriculum for physics, geography and all of the music classes. For music, the kids are studying piano, guitar, and the low-d whistle. They have one hour in the morning from 8am-9am to practice all three. It’s funny how much time is freed up in our day just by having lessons at home. For Geography, I teach both of them from the same book (made for grades 6-8). It has been fun for the kids to have someone to read with and talk to about what they are learning. In physics, I didn’t feel like our book was enough of a challenge. I am homeschooling to make sure that my kids get more out of education. Instead of getting a new book, I use the one that we have as a guideline. I add to it and get a little bit deeper into each concept. I wonder who is learning more, me, or the kids. It is probably me. I have recently learned that physics is pretty much the coolest subject ever. Does that make me a nerd?
During the second week of school, we got a chance to take our school on the road. We packed the RV full of books and headed to visit my sister in Montana for the week. The kids were able to get their school work done on the way so we didn’t miss any school days for travel time. Her kids are homeschooled as well and all of the kids had a blast doing their school work together. Even though school lasted half of the day, we still had plenty of time to visit, play, and venture out. I think that we will be schooling on the road more often.
My disappointment from last year made a huge difference in how I approach my busy day. I have rearranged my priorities. My house seems to be falling apart at the seams, I have no time to talk on the phone, and I might just forget to return the library books on time. It is all because I have figured out what is important to me. Yes, I am busy. No, I am not a stay at home mom, but I assure you, not a moment is wasted. Every moment is an opportunity to teach. An opportunity to look them in the eye and listen. An opportunity to reevaluate what I am doing and what I could be doing differently. If there is one thing that I have learned so far, it is that you won’t get this moment back. Try harder right now to connect. Little hand turn into big hands and messes don’t matter. These littles, as little as they may not be, are my world and I am determined to make sure that they know that.