I am very thankful for the Christmas and New Year break – indeed we do break. By the time December 21st came to this homeschooling household, I was posting teacher excitement pictures for the upcoming break on my Facebook page! I was ready for the break. The kids were ready for the break.
A bird’s eye view
During the break we rested and got caught up on household projects that needed attention. Also, I took a day to look forward. This allowed me to develop a bird’s eye view of how we would approach the rest of the curriculum. For us – I make an educated decision on what to actually go threw and what to skip based on what we have left in our curriculum. I am glad I decided to look forward. It allows me to rest knowing we are going to get the important elements of each subject finished.
Wow…just wow — if that is possible. Homeschooling my two kids (late elementary) for the last three years has truly expanded my experience in things I see and deal with that would never have entered my palette of experience outside of homeschooling. I have found when I go through very difficult life situations I can come to a place of feeling a “wow” with a little “w” with a just attached – if you know what I mean. It is significant enough to leave me utterly stumped – at a complete stop looking both ways thinking “what do I do now?”
Plans quickly faded…
This is where I found myself at the end of this school year that I thought was a shining culmination of our three year homeschool endeavor. I had my kids standardized tested for the first time and then attempted placement tests due to a desired curriculum change. Both of my children bombed the standardized test and then one of my children did very poorly with my preferred curriculum’s (for the coming year) placement test. My plans quickly faded in the face of a reality check…or did they? This brought on an onslaught of prayer, scripture reading, and reaching out to homeschool friends and community. What did I learn? What can I put in the overflowing, steep learning curb basket?
What did I learn?
One, I will never have our journey completely figured out while in process — only at hindsight. Two, there is a lot of wisdom and encouragement in the homeschool community and I have not experienced anything unique. Three, while the wisdom is there, there is still struggle to find the right path for our own family. I still need to answer the question, “What will we do now given the current results?” Finally, I was reminded not to compare my children to what might be coined “normal,” especially since my one child who struggled with the placement test has a history of developmental delay in the given subject of struggle (verbal communication, vocabulary, comprehension) – language arts.
The “just wow” feeling has passed now that I have processed it for a few days. I will go through the next level of placement tests with my struggling child to use it as a review. In the end, I sense we will be using a different online curriculum, but I am not sure just yet. One thing homeschooling has built up in me is patience. I will chew this cud a bit longer to consider options and will come out with a plan for next year.
…there is someone who understands…
I hope you can find encouragement in your homeschool struggles through prayer and/or homeschool community. I hope that whatever you may feel your facing in isolation, there is someone who understands, has lived through it, and has successfully come out on the other side.
So what does the life in this homeschool look like in the final week of the year? Today I am planning it all out — the last week of homeschool for 2017-2018. The agenda will include one more Science cram, and a Science test; Language Arts – Adverb cram, and a Language Arts test; steady work on the final math chapter; 1 piano class and at least 2 practices; no History or Civics since we finished that curriculum two weeks ago.
...relaxed summer schedule
This agenda will roll us naturally into a relaxed summer schedule that will include daily reading, finishing up the math curriculum, and trying out the new online curriculum. We are changing up how we do homeschool entirely. “Why?” you may ask.
Being the third year of homeschool, my kids are entering into 5th and 6th grade materials. Both of my children are becoming more independent since they are able to read with understanding on their own (for the most part). They say they are “ready” for the online learning environment, and I think they are tired of helicopter mom and all the worksheets. I am all about independence and someday, though I will miss them, I want them to be able (and willing) to fly out of the nest fully equipped to do life well. So this new change makes all of us excited and we all hope it works. This summer will be the trial.
This summer will be the trial.
So, we will end this week with a sigh of relief with a bit of nervous anticipation of new and refreshing things this coming school year.
How is your end of year homeschool going and how (if any) is next year’s agenda affecting your summer?
Homeschooling is not all rainbows and unicorns. At the end of our third year homeschooling, I would sum homeschooling up with an encouragement and a warning. I could never have a deeper relationship with my kids then I do now; however, the process is NOT for the faint of heart.
…not all rainbows and unicorns…
It is amazing how on one day homeschooling flows from education lessons to real life applications with sweet harmony, and the very next homeschool day it is full of hindrance. Today, frustration does not come from a very dry or confusing curriculum the kids resist, but just bad behavior from bad moods. It is the end of the week and I had to move the new hermit crabs’ habitat from my daughter’s room into the school to avoid future fighting. (Why did I even think for a second that would work anyway?) While the crabs rested in their new home’s pleasant position in front of the big window, a fight ensued between my offspring and me as she resisted, in resentment, anything she was “required” to do.
Disciplining in these times is very stressful, when prayer is an ongoing stream of silent yells for help. Oh Jesus – help me! If this child continues to disrespectfully turn her head and body away from me when I am teaching or roll her eyes at me, I will not have the strength to continue. That “Help me Jesus” prayer is as specific as I can get many times because it feels debilitating to not know the next step; definitely knowing you can’t do what your flesh is screaming to do – scream! So the kids are tucked safe in their rooms until the fire is extinguished and the smoke stops shooting from momma’s ears. It only took me a few minutes of silent breathing, praying, and considering all the things I have to be thankful for before I could continue and “adult” with a level head. Maybe the unicorn can come out to play tomorrow.
So, I have been homeschooling for three years now, and a learning flow has developed. It is funny how many things turn into learning events. I imagine it happens this way for kids in brick-and-mortar schools; however, I am keen to what the kids have covered in school, so I can use daily events to practically reinforce lessons learned.
The flow…use daily events to practically reinforce lessons learned.
For example, today the kids bought their first “live” pets. One child explained, “I set up the habitat already,” to one of the workers at the local pet supply store. And, indeed she had researched, pulled all the supplies together, set it up, and monitored the tank for two days ensuring perfect temperature and humidity for a pet hermit crab. Enter this beaming homeschool momma. Another lesson learned as a part of this event was how much it cost to care for the little crustaceans.
Another good example of the “flow”. This past week I took the kids to an Arboretum and we talked about how the geese preen to ensure their feathers do not absorb water. We also found a rock full of fossils (pleasant surprise), and we walked into a field infested with ticks. All of these events (to include the tick situation) instigated a learning opportunity that reinforced a recent homeschool lesson. Homeschooling doesn’t feel like work when we are in the flow; it feels like life.