Well, we made it through our first week-and-a-half and the verdict is…we all LOVE it!
After all of the prayer, preparation, blog reading, book reading, advice seeking and lesson planning we finally launched our homeschool last week. I must admit that the night before we started, the fear crept in a bit. Was I really doing the right and best thing for our family? Would my scheduling be off and my lesson planning way off point? Will it really fit where the girls are in their learning process? Despite all of my planning and detailed preparation, there were so many unknowns. I dislike unknowns.
But, once the ball began rolling Monday morning, everything just seemed to fall into place. Sure, we will have some tweaking to do here and there but all in all it was a satisfying and rewarding week-and-a-half for all involved.
Here are some highlights to share that delight my soul:
Every morning after we eat breakfast, the whole family gathers around the table for 20-30 minutes of Bible study and family devotional time. We are using The Bible Road Trip curriculum and loving it. Starting our day in this way lays a beautiful and solid framework for what is to come during our school time.
After our Bible time, we move into the school room for calendar time activities. For 15-20 minutes we engage in movement with music, daily learning notebook activities, oral language exercises, scripture memory review, a little skip counting practice and other fun fast-paced objectives. There have been a great deal of smiles during this segment of our day (mainly due to our dog Elsa trying to join in on the fun) and I love starting this way.
One of my favorite moments this past week occurred when Rosebud (that’s our blog name for our oldest daughter) finished writing her very first composition using the Institute for Excellence in Writing curriculum. I watched with tears as she experienced the satisfaction that can only come by creating something yourself. You just can’t buy or bottle that kind of intrinsic motivation. I was not counting on having a moment like this the first week of school, so I consider it a blessing and confirmation of our choice to homeschool. It was a touchstone for both of us.
Sunshine (our youngest), is going through the Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind series. It was true joy listening to her recite her very first poem today. I asked her what her favorite subjects are and she listed Grammar first! Who knew? It has also been fun watching her use the math manipulatives during her free/choice time (thank you Northeast Iowa Montessori School for planting those seeds back in preschool).
I also absolutely love it that we can all cuddle up on the couch to read through our science and history lessons. I so enjoy watching the lightbulbs excitedly turn on in their minds as they learn about and study pictures of cave paintings that date back 6000 years or more. We made our own with acrylic paints, paper bags, and chalk; mimicking the designs used by these ancient people.
Rosebud loves everything science, so it was fun to see her awe and amazement at how the moon’s gravitational pull effects our ocean tides, and she loved learning about the difference between nektonic and benthic creatures. (I never learned that in first and fourth grade!) We also put together our ocean box. It is ready to be filled with all kinds of aquatic creatures!
We are also having a lot of fun with our physical education curriculum, Family Time Fitness. The varied activities in each of the lessons keep us on our toes (especially mom)! It is also extremely amusing to watch the expression on the faces of those passing by our yard as we are outside performing the different exercises. I can clearly see that some of them are wondering why these girls are not in school and instead are out running, skipping, and jumping in the front yard. 🙂
Have there been some tough moments? Yes, of course! But I am choosing to view these moments as challenges that grow us. I actually want my children to experience some obstacles and hurdles that, with perseverance and consistency, can be overcome. At the beginning of this week, Rosebud and I were working on some double digit multiplication problems that were giving her a little trouble. We worked on them consistently throughout the week and by the middle of the week, she had it down and could complete the problems successfully all on her own. I looked her in the eyes and put my hands on her shoulders and told her, “This homeschool is not going to be driven by your performance on a state test score. Your worth is not determined by scores and grades. We are going to have the space here for you to grow at your own pace. All I ask is for you to bring your best and to give yourself grace and room for mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to learn, not measurements of your abilities.” A huge smile of relief began to form itself on her lips. She understood. Because she, like her mother, is a perfectionist, and I am certain this will not be the only time I give this speech. There will be days I need to give this speech to myself!
So no, it isn’t all rosebuds and sunshine (pun intended).
But, it is a growing experience and if we are growing we are on the right track.