school

Maybe you shouldn't homeschool...

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Just a mere two years ago, if you would've told me that that coming fall I would begin homeschooling my rising Kindergartener, my oldest, I would've looked at you so crazy, jack. But most of us know how that story ends...or begins, rather...I quickly fell in love with homeschooling and even added it to my, (ever growing) list of passions.

I began to think "why aren't more people doing this??"..."naturally, what any parent could offer their child is so much better than what the public school does." And I began to feel sad (and almost frustrated) at both people I knew and didn't know that grew ever more excited to send their child off every morning on that yellow bus in August.

And up until more recently, I continued to feel the same way...day after day. And while I do agree that home education could positively benefit practically any child regardless of age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, and any special need obstacles, I've changed my mind on the whole stance. Not everyone should homeschool their child(ren). In fact, some people should probably save themselves the trouble and just stop altogether.

You may need to stop homeschooling your child if...

...you think your homeschool should rigidly mimic public school. I guess this one puzzles me. Having only gone to traditional school myself, I get that it's hard to switch what one grew up experiencing and then providing a totally opposite educational experience for their child. I tried, in the beginning, going against all homeschooling wisdom I received from various homeschooling gurus, to make our homeschool as close to typical school as possible. It probably doesn't take too much digging to guess what happened after a few days of frantically forcing typical school in a home setting. I was in tears, I was already exhausted and burnt out, and my kids weren't loving the change of what used to be, a very organic, but fairly organized normal life schedule to something almost resembling boot camp.

I learned that if all I'm intending to do is to mimic traditional school in my homeschool, then I've missed the point of homeschooling entirely. I might as well save myself the trouble and enroll my child in the nearest school building.

...you are not willing and able to love being with your children pretty much around the clock Because of my God, my husband, and our life choices and priorities, I have been able to be apart of 99.9% of my childrens lives. That .1% that I've missed has been because every once in a while, Mike and I get to be alone in public. It's amazing. So I'm very used to constantly being with my children. So much so, that I literally feel like I'm missing an entire arm or I forgot to put panties on or something extreme like that, when they aren't with me. I may as well be completely naked. Some parents are very used to dropping their child off here and there and spending entire days and sometimes multiple days separated from their children and barely bat an eye about it. That's their normal. And I say to those parents who are used to having large breaks from parenting, or who do both work long hours or have help caring for their children, if you cannot imagine yourself being the sole caregiver, teacher, mentor, etc., then you probably shouldn't consider homeschooling.

I know some homeschooling situations are unique and do occur between two parents working outside of the home on separate schedules. These parents are truly making several sacrifices to educate their children at home. It is possible, but I know it's not for everyone. It really isn't.

...if you're child ends up hating it/you aren't willing to change your approach to accommodate your child's learning style/ability.

I know of some homeschooling mamas who cannot fathom laying down their perfectionistic expectations and continue to fight with and force and expect things of their child that the child responds negatively to. To continue to force a learning style and ignore your child's cries for change and longing for adaptability, isn't what homeschooling should display. Sometimes it takes a great amount of trial and error to determine what curriculum works for your child, what learning style the respond to best and what about learning specifically gets them excited. And what works for one child, may not work for another.

In my opinion, homeschooling can be and should be a beautiful collaboration between parent and child. A dance, an adventure, a trail with many twists and turns, a ride that encourages first of all a LOVE for learning. And not just for the duration of all twelve grades, but something that propels them past your instruction...something they will soar with until their final breath. Next, it should be fluid and flexible. Allow discovery to spark a new path. You may have to throw out all the grand plans you had for that day and just go with it. That's okay. That's the beauty of homeschooling. You have freedom. Your child has freedom. Your child isn't learning from the discomfort of a wooden desk, but from life all around them. Surrounded constantly by those who value them the most, the family unit gives benefit where the schoolroom simply cannot compare.

So if you're considering homeschooling, awesome. It can be a most breathtaking journey. If you are homeschooling and find yourself highly frustrated with a child(ren) that would rather be doing anything else BUT...it's time to take a step back and reevaluate. Reevaluate your approach, your attitude, your purpose in doing this in the first place. Do you care more about your child having the most beautiful cursive writing (pushing a child to do so to their detriment) or do you want your child to have a love for learning?

I choose a love for learning. I choose discovery.

Love, Alicia

Racecar Math

Thought I would share with y'all an easy math activity I quickly pulled together this morning [before all the chaos erupted]. For this activity you will need: Construction paper Sharpie Decent road drawing skills while using that sharpie :) Hot wheel car A small stack of addition or subtraction flash cards Counters (for the little guys just starting with addition/subtraction)

I made Hunters road go up to twenty, Carter's only to ten since he hasn't learned adding past ten as the answer.

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I have gave each boy appropriate flash cards that would equal amounts available on their roads. Carter got the easier cards and Hunter, slightly harder. Usually the dollar spot at Target sells packs of these as does the dollar store.

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I offered Carter some counters to help aid in him solving the problem on each card. Cuisinaire rods work great, we also use centimeter cubes and chocolate chips, marshmallows, cereal, crackers....the sky's the limit when it comes to counters.

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When either of them would find the answer, they were to drive their car to that number on their road. It was a fun, non-boring way to review math facts and a great first fun activity to start our school day.

What are some of your favorite math activities to do with your kids?

Alicia

What I thought homeschooling should be...[but its not.]

The first year of homeschooling was comparable to feeling around in a completely dark room. You run into a few things unexpectedly. You may knock a few things down. You stumble, you fall, you get hurt....but eventually, you find the lightswitch you've been searching for. I'm thankful I've found that lightswitch. {But it wasn't easily found} It turns out that this particular lightswitch has a dimmer feature, and as I increase the brightness in the room, I am further enlightened on how I may have just gone about that first year all wrong.

Here is what I thought homeschooling should be...[but its not.]

a Xerox copy of public school.If it was supposed to be, you might as well send your child to public/traditional school. Just go ahead and file this one away into your personal recycle bin.

a lot of sitting down, and a lot of worksheets.Turns out, worksheets don't work and sitting down all the time is just dumb. And when you have little boys doing the lots of sitting and lots of worksheets, prepare yourself for battle. Instead, keep seat work and worksheets to a minimum and do some real learning! Get out of the house, into nature, discover, explore, inquire, go on field trips....lots of them!  Give breaks as needed, go for nature walks, be spontaneous and encourage movement from the little ones as they are learning. Kids having fun AND learning??? That's priceless. And I guarantee they will retain more information this way than from any colorful worksheet.

very scheduled.I quickly found out that with having ONLY {four} little ones, this schedule you made with the BEST of intentions, will NEVER be followed like it should. Homeschooling should give freedom, not restrict it. One must be willing to account for major/minor mishaps, toddler tantrums, nursing babies, sick mamas, cranky "students", and just any other wrench that might get thrown into the mix. Relax. Throw out that rigid schedule, and decrease your blood pressure all at once! If you cant get everything done that you meant to that day, thats OKAY! And if you arent on the same number lesson for phonics and math, thats OKAY too!! [this one I've had to work on A LOT] And did I mention, relax?!?

a necessary burden.  We were excited, but very nervous at first thought of homeschooling our kids. We weighed our options and almost felt sometimes that we really had no other choice. I have an uneasiness about public school that I've never been able to shake off and private school, whether Christian or not, is just not financially feasible. We even looked into charter schools as a sort of last resort before taking the homeschooling plunge, but that was a HUGE bust. What I knew more than anything was that God called us gently to this, He's given me a love for teaching since I was a young child, and I knew that with His help, I can and will be an effective teacher for my children. It only took the summer before my oldest sons' Kindergarten year for me to see how amazing it is to be my child's teacher. Teaching my son how to read was hard work, but when I sat with him each day and saw visible progress, lightbulbs going off in his head, and in just a few short weeks going from a non-reader to second grade level, I was hooked. I cried even. What a PRIVILEGE to walk with him through that journey. We did it! Together! I couldn't wait to jump in to a school year filled with new discoveries and concepts.

like everyone else'shomeschool. It's so hard to not be that mom that compares what her kids are doing to what others are doing in their homeschool. There's countless opportunities to compare curriculums, schedules, activities, learning tips, progress, and goals with other homeschooling parents. What great opportunities these are as long as you stay guarded and protect the homeschool you have. Take any information you receive during these conversations and weigh them heavily against your personal homeschool philosophy, your child's specific learning style, and consider your entire home situation {number of kids you have, naptimes, working around a work/volunteer schedule, etc} before feeling the need to add this or that to what you already do. What works for them may not work for you....and that's OKAY!

Although last year was hard and so stretching, I am so thankful for what lessons I learned along the way. I'm thankful for the mentors God gave me in veteran homeschoolers. I'm thankful for an extremely supportive husband who loved to praise me and encourage me along...especially on the rough days. I am thankful for friends that God allowed to choose homeschooling the same time we did so I had a friend to walk with in that dark room. I am also thankful that I get the GIFT of educating my own children for the glory of Christ because it is indeed a GIFT! I am committed to home education for as long as God wills and am very humbled by His grace. I am so proud of my children and I am so loving this second year so far of our homeschooling adventures! I will always look back on that first trying year with such fond memories....but boy, am I glad it's over!:)

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-Alicia