Homeschool Feedback

Many of you have asked how "homeschooling is going", so here goes.  We've learned some things, changed some things, and are continuing to seek out what is best for our family.  The first semester is over and we're a couple of weeks into the second semester.  We're doing some things a little differently to make it "work" for us.  For example, I love the "homeschool room" in our home we created, but we're taking a break from it.  We've moved to the kitchen table and cuddling on the couch.  Seems to help on the "off" days.

I finally realized that Math U See was not working for us.  She was bored!  It was just videos and worksheets (and D was not a big fan of the manipulatives).  So, for now we are doing just a fun workbook - and she's doing really well.  It is not just worksheet after worksheet, but math games that incorporate several different skills.  We just started adding 2 digit numbers and she "got it" quicker than a lot of the concepts in MUS.  Maybe that method will work with Maddie later?!  Anyway, Audrey's reading has progressed wonderfully!  She has just recently started reading books "for fun" on her own.  (Yay!!)  She's reading some pretty big words, too.  She's mastered the level 1 books, doing very well with level 2, and we're moving on to level 3. She'll be reading to her sister's class again next month.  Her comprehension is still through the roof.  She's a smart kid, but lacks serious motivation.  She absolutely does not like to write (still), so we started cursive writing.  She CAN print - and when she takes her time, does a nice job.  But, she has been asking for some time to learn cursive so I just said, "Why not?"  If she wants to learn, by all means, I'm gonna teach her!  Believe it or not, her cursive is stronger than her printing.  It's that whole have to versus want to mentality.

This semester we put Audrey in some enrichment classes through a homeschool program at a local church.  She only goes one day a week.  She is taking Science (the same curriculum we were doing at home that got left behind a lot), Art, Spelling, and World Cultures.  I love that she has the freedom to do these kinds of things.  How many 1st graders get to take a World Cultures class - learning about different countries, their cultures, taste their food, etc.?  We also joined a Homeschool group that I'm excited about.  We have a few upcoming field trips - Harry's Farmers Market, Fire Station, V'Day party, & Father/Daughter Dance.  So cool!

OK, so what are the pros and cons I'm seeing so far?  First of all, it is a huge commitment!  It takes time and planning.  I am so guilty of being unprepared some days and it just makes it tough on both of us.  This responsibility falls directly on me and I will continue to work on this.  Of course, I do worry sometimes that she isn't "getting enough".  But, I am seeing and hearing from other parents that she really is getting more than I think.  We don't have to get through every single thing that's planned.  There are days when she wants to read more, so something else has to wait until tomorrow.  She's getting lots of hands-on that she wouldn't necessarily get otherwise.

I do love the flexibility of it.  We had no one to report to when we went to Disney while everyone else had to go back to school.  When she's not feeling well, we just stay in pj's and do our work.  Field trips are awesome.  We didn't do as many as I would have liked the first semester, but this semester is filling up FAST!

Everything is one on one.  When she is struggling with something, we just take it slow and work on it more.        She doesn't get left behind nor does she get held back!  I also love that when she asks questions and the lesson goes in a different direction - great!  She's just learning that much more!  It is amazing to get to be there with her as she learns and seeing the accomplishment in her face when she realizes something new.

I love that we get to read our Bible stories every day.  We say our blessing before every meal.  And, most importantly I get to teach christian morals every day, all day.  She is not being negatively influenced by other kids whose parents have questionable morals (ouch - strong words, I know but I speak from experience).  I can equip her at home for when she's older and can handle herself better.

And, the cons...

Because she is in her most comfortable place being at home she is becoming more and more lax.  I feel like she is getting lazy and losing her motivation.  I know that she loves to learn, but she does not put a great deal of effort into it.  She has become sloppy with her work.  This causes a lot of friction between the two of us and makes for some very long, stressful, emotional days.  My sanity and patience are tested daily.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm helping or hurting our relationship long term.  Would she do better for someone else?  This really is our major issue.  But it is a HUGE one.

Sacrifice!  Time & finances are a major sacrifice in this world of homeschooling.  Would it be easier to put her on a bus every day and send her to school?  Heck yeah!  To have 3 days a week to myself sounds dreamy (Maddie goes to preschool 3 mornings a week).  My house would be cleaner(er).  I could go to the gym every morning.    I could go to the grocery store or run errands alone.  Homeschooling is an added expense.  We have to buy our own curriculum (another pro also) while our tax dollars go to pay for public education (stinks).  But, at least I know WHAT she's learning and not learning things I don't want her to know yet!

What's easiest isn't always best.  Homeschooling IS HARD!  In exchange, I get to see her every day, all day.  I don't just see her for a few crazy, chaotic minutes in the morning and a few hours before she goes to bed in the evening.  I am a part of the process, as painful as it is at times.

Will we homeschool forever?  I honestly do not know.  Right now, I still feel this is what we're suppose to do.  We do have some other options for next year that include a hybrid school and private school.  But, we'll finish out this semester and take it from there!  Thanks for tagging along this journey!

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for this update. I am so proud of you! What you are doing is a huge inspiration to me.

  1. Tanya said...:

    we are planning on homeschooling next year. I will have one in 1st grade and 1 in kindergarten. I am a little scared of the unknown and just keep telling myself my Mom did it when I was young...(and I had fun) I don't have young memories really of school so much as just being around my sisters and Mom and canning and playing outside and I vaguely remember learning to read somewhere in there, lol...but I went to public school in 4th grade. I was far ahead of everyone else but mom left me in my grade and I graduated top of my class and went on to UCLA so I feel that it was due to my strong base and not being worn out on school by middle school on my ease in finishing up. All my sisters have struggled with school and none have completed college and they were all "socially adjusted into the public school system" I am excited to have found your blog. I will be following closely...the big difference at our house is that it will be a group of boys not girls which should make things a little interesting we will have to take lots of "recesses" lol...thank you for posting... I posted a homeschool post a couple years ago on my blog and thought I would give it a try at public school and I have. I love his school actually and his teacher. but I have to commute pretty far to go to it because the schools in our area are very under par. I spend a minimum of 2 hours a day in the car and that doesn't count anything else we do like preschoool for my second and errands and such so my third seriously spends 4 hours a day in the car sometimes and it is just too much. I want he and my 4th (on the way) to have more time at home playing and bonding with each other and thier big brothers. So anyway I have gone on and on but I am excited to know someone else homeschooling. I don't know anyone yet around here. Also a lot of my friends are not sure if I have lost my mind or not. I guess it is not that popular in Southern California, lol...

  1. Kim said...:

    Tanya, I'm so excited for you!!! I didn't realize you had been homeschooled before. :) It is not something I would have even thought about 10 years ago, but God put a lot of people in my path that lit the fire. It is not easy, but it really is wonderful. I'm still learning myself. :) I'd love to help you out however I can!! You can do it!

 
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