Friday, May 24, 2013
Long, grateful exhale...
1st Year of Homeschooling Reflections
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.
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. Anyway...how 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.