Of course, I like to think that we have been homeschooling since the birth of our first child six years ago. Last year we had a very laid back kindergarten and occasionally we did some school work this summer. Reading "clicked" for our oldest in August and now she is often found with her nose in a book. Learning is something that happens all the time in our house with books, nature, endless questions and discussions.
But I was hoping to be more consistent with our formal learning times. The last months have been spent planning, plotting, acquiring books, and scribbling out plans. Teaching my children has been a dream since I was a home-schooled student myself. With such high expectations, I was worried that I'd "crash and burn" these first few weeks.
But I never expected to have this much fun! We are probably still in the honeymoon stage but, so far, the children are eager to start "school" each morning. I love curling up on the couch reading and my heart just melts when I hear them eagerly telling dad all they learned. Can I do this all day and forget the housecleaning?
I am a newbie still wet behind the ears. But I'm hoping if I share a few things that I've learned these first few weeks, that you experienced home-school moms will share your tips!
- Value of Habit. I knew my children thrive on routines but we had fallen completely out of any sort of routine this summer. I worked hard to get a good routine going last week. It isn't finely tuned yet, but already there is world of difference.
- Wisdom - I need It. LOTS of it. I don't want to paint a rosy picture of our days. Some days seem to bring out the worse in both mom and students. I wish that all I needed to teach was academics, not the deep down nitty gritty stuff that is the difference of a spoiled selfish uncontrolled brat and a (hopefully) Spirit-controlled wise follower of Christ. And if "more is caught then taught", as the saying goes, then I need HELP! Lord, give me wisdom!
- Organization Saves the Day. I had spent time in August organizing life in general, and school in particular. I'm so grateful for every minute spent putting some extra meals in the freezer, school books all on one shelf, photo copies in folder, schedule sheets printed. At this point, with a kindergartner and first grader, scheduling and preparation is minimal. Mostly we just use a daily checklist. Hopefully, I can learn a few things this year that will make planning future years simpler.
- Flexibility Save my Sanity. The best laid plans can be adjusted. It became obvious on the first day that school was going to go better if we waited until the one year old's nap time. What we will do when she quits her morning nap is not something that I'm contemplating right now!
Simply Charlotte Mason has a great idea for memory verse review. I adapted their system a little but the idea is that each day there are verses reviewed. The current verse goes in front, our review verses are filed under the days of the week or date of the month. Each day we say our new verse and review the verse under the day of the week and the date. Hopefully we won't get so rusty on our memory work. I wish I would have done this as a child.
Pencil Basket. I've used this for years, a silverware basket is great for pencils, markers, scissors and all other creative tools. It goes easily to the table, then back to the shelf at clean up time.
If I've learned anything at all in the past six years, it is that mothering isn't easy. I don't think anyone can prepare you for how emotionally and physically draining parenthood can be.
We had told our daughter we would purchase a Bible for her when she learned to read. Yesterday, we gave it to her and since then she has hardly had her Bible out of her sight. All the frustrations of mothering have been rewarded many times over by seeing my daughter's delight in God's Word and her joy in learning to read it.
Are the struggles over? No, way. Are the rewards worth the effort? Absolutely!
Now it's your turn. Any hints and tips you can share with us? They don't have to be earth shattering, anything that makes your day go smoother.