It's been quite a while since I posted about homeschooling, and as a little update, first I'll share this: Our current school year has been challenging since we started following a new curriculum in the fall. Last year, our first year homeschooling, was much more willy-nilly. We still got through what we needed to, but I wanted more structure and concrete guidelines. In all the obvious ways it's great: having everything that needs to happen totally spelled out is nice, and I love having our consultant to bounce questions off of. Planning out the week for three kids and knowing what's coming up is still pretty time consuming (I'm not sure how those of you with big families pull it off, maybe it's that you're not also running a home-business? Well some of you ARE though?!), but overall it's been good; especially once I let go of the pressure I put on myself to keep everyone exactly on schedule, so these days we just do our best. We recently switched math curriculum for two of the three kids because what we were using just didn't have enough repetition built in for me to feel like they were getting as solid at math as I wanted them to be. SO we switched to the dreaded-by-many math program (known for being tough). Sitting right down with each kid for one more thing is a sacrifice for sure, but I'm really glad we went this route. I already see their confidence growing and our 3rd grader, who had been complaining about math all first semester, even said the other day, “I am so good at math!” (By the way, I still really love the math we've been using for our 9th grader.)
I've had only a few meltdowns; you know, those moments where I just don't know how I can continue trying to keep all these balls in the air. In those moments, just because Kent is so supportive of me no matter what, and even though he loves most things about homeschooling, too, he'll say, “Well, do you want to start looking at other options?” I always say NO. I just needed to lose it for a little while, but the thought of not having the kids here with me everyday, even on the days they're driving me absolutely CRAZY with their teasing and complaining and not getting their work done, I still know it's the right thing for us. Thankfully Kent does believe in this like I do, and he helps a TON. Lately he's totally taken over 9th grade math help and the dreaded science essays, thank God, and this helps me beyond words. (Our son works much better for him than for me.)
I'd love to know how you handle snow days at your house?
We've had a lot of them lately and by the sounds of the weather, we'll have more yet. If I give the kids the day off, they fight too much and try to flip on the TV too often. If I make them do some of their work (usually not all of it, since their neighbor friends come knocking before long), then I'm the worst mom in the world.
What do you do on snow days at your house?
Note that the above picture shows our kids making forts in the front yard with their friends a few years ago on a snow day. This week temps have been in the negatives, so there hasn't been a ton of outdoor play! 🙁
See how homeschoolers answered this question on Facebook.
That's my update, let us know how your year is going now that we're over half-way through? Any bits of wisdom for us?
Lastly, here's a graphic I knew you'd love. (Scroll down to see it.) Which one grabs you the most?
(Catch my archive of homeschooling posts here.)
First, let me tell you about the sponsors of this post… I first met Scott & Beth, from North Carolina, at a conference where they were giving out samples of their now famous Outta the Park barbecue sauce. It was so delicious, and the ingredient label so impressive, that I ordered some on the spot. Yes, I often make my own, but sometimes you just want to crack open a bottle without the ingredients scaring you away, right? Even my picky family loves this stuff! You can order some here for your Super Bowl party tomorrow! 🙂
When we lived in the mountains, school just continued as usual. Now that we are “down south,” everything comes to a complete halt! We go out to play with the neighborhood kids, build tiny one-foot-tall snowmen and have snowball fights. We shovel our walk and driveway and help the neighbors do theirs. Eventually it’s time for hot cocoa and a good book!
We have a lot of snow days when the schools are closed in expectation of snow when not a single flurry flies. Those days we usually do school as normal.
Kelly, Although I’m “retired” now, we home schooled for 25 years. We have always lived in an area where snow is rare (once or twice a year, tops), so if there was actually snow, I wanted my kids to experience it. However, we always got some school done. My rule was that, as long as they were playing outside in it, fine. But when they came in it was time to get some schoolwork done (with some hot cocoa, of course 🙂 ). For the neighbor kids, “snow day” meant the roads are bad; for my kids, “snow day” meant extended recess.
J in VA says
We do school on snow days too. DD is not much in into playing in snow (she is bummed by having to walk her dog in it so that kind of takes the novelty away.) We don’t have close neighbors who knock at our door but I do think asking neighbors not to come until noon is reasonable.
DD really likes to finish in the early spring so she is motivated to keep plugging away–we only took about 3 days total for Christmas and New Years since we didn’t travel. She also has frequent partial days due to various activities and so far we’ve only had one sick day and it was mostly mom not her that needed that day.
We do “school” as usual on snow days. I point out to my kids that the public school kids still have to make up their snow day – which is often on a Saturday. My kids all agree they don’t want to do schoolwork on Saturdays. And they know that they’ll be done by lunch and will then have the afternoon to play.
We’ve been homeschooling for six years now but the lesson planning still takes me a long time. I sit down on Sunday afternoon and write out everyone’s assignments for the week (and take a couple of weeks in the summer to develop the overall schedule for the year). But even when I was a teacher, lesson planning was one of my favorite parts, so I don’t mind it.
Interesting choice of curriculum – I’m not familiar with MODG or your first math curriculum choice. We do Well Trained Mind with the Seton Press thrown in. Not that you want to switch math again, but we really like Math Mammoth; the text and workbook are all in one and if you buy it as a download, you can use it for your entire elementary curriculum for all of your students. It uses a mastery approach as opposed to Saxon’s spiral approach but it does have a lot of repetition.
Best of luck with the rest of your year. Keep in mind that February can be tough for all homeschoolers, so don’t get discouraged. Then you hit springtime and the kids can see to the end of their books and things coast along more easily.
Thanks for the encouragement, Karyn, just yesterday I was looking and we’ll be done (if we continue as we have been) in late April!!! We’ll keep doing math and reading though. 🙂
I don’t have to worry about it with the younger kids because all of their friends live further away, but when my 2 older boys were younger, the neighbor kids were their age and always came over during the holiday breaks or snow days. I had to tell their parents and the kids that they couldn’t come over until after lunch, around 12. That usually helped with my boys being able to get as much home done before they were able to play.
My kids are adults now but we homeschooled them for a few years (until they wanted to go to school when they were older).
We had a get together with other homeschooling parents once a week for craft, a play and a shared lunch and sometimes we’d take a dance class together etc. We also entered competitions that were generally open to school classes once winning the opportunity to create a window display in a bank.
Once a month we organised a ‘school’ trip for them – the most outstanding of which was a trip to go on board a navy ship. They loved these.
As much as I enjoyed teaching them at home, I also loved these get-togethers and trips.
Thanks for your posts – they are fantastic!
All the best