Friday, May 24, 2013

Long, grateful exhale...

1st Year of Homeschooling Reflections
--- 1 ---
I started out the year in sort of a panic and, while it has lessened a bit, it still rears its head now and then. During this year, I have learned the value of listening to others when they have a comment about our homeschooling. Especially if it's positive, I'm working on believing it (for whatever reason, I always feel like I'm doing a bad job). This is true only if, of course, they are knowledgeable and can judge what's happening. If not (especially if they begin with a comment on socialization ;0P) I just smile and move away quickly. Ultimately, I'm listening to my little voice and praying and talking to my husband. I think that will be the best guide for the years to come.
--- 2 ---
Unexpected Blessings
We just finished our evaluation with one of the teachers at #1's old school. She is such a wonderful woman and great teacher. Since she teaches fifth grade, I figured we might run into her again if DD decides to return by then. Alas, she is retiring this year. What made me reach out to her for the evaluation? I'm guessing it was the Holy Spirit, coupled with the fact that she, for some reason, adores my daughter. Don't know why, exactly. She never had DD in class, she only saw her in passing and while on bus duty. With my daughter, sometimes that's enough to work the magic. fortunate we were that all of this came together. Now, instead of losing her for good when she retired, we have an ongoing connection. Just from one contact about an evaluation. That is truly a blessing.

--- 3 ---
This is such a hot-button topic that I had thought about it even before we started homeschooling. Where will they find friends? How will they adjust to living in society? I already talked about this in a prior post but, in my end-of-year-reflection, I have realized something. We have kids who are social and kids who are less so. The less so ones will have their head in a book whether they are in the middle of a parade or at home in a quiet room. Totally not kidding so much about the parade, either. We were on a walk the other day and #1 almost walked out in front of a car. "Uh, honey, what are you doing? Do you see the car?" "Oh, I was just thinking". She is in her head and will spend much of her life there. It's OK. The world needs research scientists and theologians too. I have, for the most part, felt blessed with the friends she has made this homeschooling year.

--- 4 ---
Real Life
One of my main purposes for homeschooling was to keep the siblings together for the entire day, not just a few minutes at breakfast and after school. This has worked wonderfully. I have been so blessed with a mother's helper who comes twice a week. This has enabled me to take the "school kids" on field trips when appropriate but, more often, we're headed wherever as a whole family.

Yes, there are days when I just wish I could put a few of them on the bus. Mostly, though, I have a greater appreciation for fleeting childhood. I look forward to not sending #s 3&4 to preschool but, instead, letting #s 1&2 be the teacher sometimes, teaching, reading, helping. I pray that this time together will make some permanent mark on them and help them have a deeper connection in this world where you "know" everyone without any type of intimacy. When DH and I are gone, I hope that these days will keep them tied to their faith and to one another. For now, I am enjoying all of our new adventures.
--- 5 ---
The negative of the year was the huge smack in the face with this area of my life. I know I'm disorganized (have you seen my office?) but trying to be a mom and teacher has created a new kind of chaos. I have managed to get some semblance of a system going (except art supplies which appear to multiply on their own) but I know it needs work. Perhaps that can be one of my summer goals. I know that I could be more effective if I could put my hands on what I need when I actually need it!

--- 6 ---
I remember pulling all-nighters in college...I thrived on writing the 15-page paper the night before, especially when I ended up with a good grade. I'm pretty much the shoot-from-the-hip kind of person.
This doesn't really work with homeschooling. Not for me, anyway. I am blessed that my oldest child has a knack for picking things up with little direction. Number 2, who will be in first grade next year (so I feel like I have to start taking things a little more seriously than I did in kindergarten) is not gifted in this area. He requires MUCH more instruction.
So, back to the drawing board. It's OK. My plan of teaching while the little people were napping has vanished with the naps anyway. Perhaps this year we can do school first thing and have our afternoons free. I like the challenge of each child needing something different. I feel like I am really working for the first time in a while and at the end of the day when I fall into bed exhausted, I am very, very grateful.

--- 7 ---

The Portfolio

Not having done this previously, I wasn't exactly sure how it would turn out. I think it came together pretty well and it turns out to be a great compilation of the year. Like a yearbook but with all of the stuff that you personally did every month. I'm astonished with how much we did. How blessed we have been to have had so many great experiences!
So, in the end, I am grateful for the opportunity to homeschool. We have been blessed with people and situations that have made it all work. I know that there will be years when things aren't quite as thrilling/challenging/insightful. I hope, like dry times in prayer, I will have the strength to persevere and reap the benefit on the other side.


  1. As for the organization/preparation thing, I have to tell you that I've been impressed with how well prepared you've been for the feast days/playdates you've hosted at your house (which is my only little peek into your homeschooling). Sounds like a good year!

    1. Thanks, Christine!

      Yes, if I could prep for school the way I prep for playdates, I would be new goal, perhaps.