OK my supportive reader friends, I need your advice again. Today I'm sharing a little homeschooling update, and as usual, my requests for help are sprinkled throughout — thanks for always being so willing to help me on this crazy homeschooling journey! (If this topic doesn't grab you, no problem. Before we were homeschooling it wasn't a hot conversation for me, either. So there are loads of posts over in my archives — almost 2000 actually, and you probably haven't read them all – maybe go take a peek at those?! And if you've thought about signing up for my Real Food for Rookies online class, that's on sale for 25% off for a limited time with the code 25OFFDEAL — go here to learn more.)
Top 5 Things I Love about Homeschooling:
1. Watching the bus go by knowing my kids get to stay home with me where I truly feel they belong. It always gives me a warm fuzzy. 🙂
2. The flexibility of our schedule! Not having to rush them out the door every morning and rush them through homework after school, then rush them into bed to do it all over the next day. (Did you see this latest news article? Let Them Sleep In: Docs Want Later School Times for Teens.) I usually get up early and work for a couple of nice, productive hours, then off we go.
3. Having the time to do read-alouds in our PJ's with hot cocoa or vanilla steamers. Reading them stories on the lives of the Saints or laughing with them through a book like Cheaper by the Dozen. Or time for a quick game of our current favorite before we start school, for morning snuggles, or for baking up an afternoon treat.
4. The time to nourish their souls more with an extra daily Mass each week. The time to nourish their bodies more by feeding them good food and knowing I won't need to deal with crazy stuff like this or this. Plus I don't have to wonder how many candy rewards are given to them all. day. long. (Well, we do have a little of that at the homeschool enrichment building, but at least that's just one day a week.)
5. I love our curriculum, especially now that I've figured out how to easily combine stuff to lighten our load and how to condense my planning time down to only 2-3 hours/week vs. 5-6 when we began this program in our 2nd year. It's a ton of planning before we start in the fall, though, and I'm in the midst of that right now! (Thank you to those who have reminded me to chill out and that after the summer we've had, I wouldn't have to start right when the public school kids do, but we all really need a routine again around here!) The faith-based everything is awesome, from spelling to history to reading, and now I'm no longer wondering if we're covering enough of the right stuff, which I fretted quite a bit over in our first year when I didn't have any formal curriculum guidance. This year we're using the same curriculum only not officially enrolling. Sending in all that paperwork was a huge pain, and expensive too, but some feel it's worth it for the support. I'm glad I did it to get one year of transcripts for our son, and now for his last three years of high school I'll just mimic that transcript and do it myself. Plus this way I can easily swap anything out if I find another way to teach a subject that works better for our family.
Top 5 Things I Don't Love about Homeschooling:
1. Some days, watching the bus go by in the morning, knowing my kids are staying home with me all day is a little tough, because at times I feel like I may go insane with the teasing and complaining and nit-picking at each other! (I have to keep regularly taking “my all natural chill pill“!) Any tips on that dear reader friends?! I usually send them off to their room or take away privileges, but MAN it can wear on you! It makes me crave alone time. (Yes, I know that in a few very short years I'll have more of that than I'll probably want and I do keep that in mind, but Moms, you know what I mean…) Although getting up early to work uninterrupted really helps!
2. The math struggles with our daughter. However, I've seen a big improvement since we've switched from this program over to this one — she needed more repetition so it's really helping, although it's more work so she doesn't love that and complains a lot. She is a dream when it comes to the rest of her work, though, and is usually the first one done, and then she wants to go make dinner! 🙂
3. The whining from our youngest about doing his writing, ugh, “Just DO it and you could've been DONE an hour ago!” I've said that so many times. Any tips for me? Break it into smaller chunks you say? Tried that, the whining is the same. Maybe he's not ready for writing you say? He's going into 4th grade though, I can't just chill about it forever can I? (Thankfully HE knocks it out of the park with his math and reading, each kid truly does have their very own strengths!)
4. The inability at times for our almost 10th grader to just. do. his. work. Especially getting him motivated to do his math — once he starts, he does well, but getting him started is not easy! Also I detest paper writing with both our middle schooler and high schooler. (So in both of these areas we're hiring our good friend who just retired from teaching to help us in those areas — she was actually our son's teacher before we began homeschooling — she's the one that got him really confident in math, and she's SO good at motivating him!)
I've learned to STOP nagging him (almost entirely) and he DOES eventually get through it — that's a key point here because I do realize he's just not good at jumping out of the sheets and getting his work done by noon like the other two often do, but that also makes my own day drag out, and when his other friends are home from school and done with their homework I feel SO sad that he can't hang with them because sometimes he's only gotten one subject finished! Yes, I can and often do let some work slide, but if all he's done all day is tease and distract the other two or lay on the couch saying he doesn't FEEL like doing any work, why should I cross stuff off his list for him? What kind of person would I be creating? I need your advice on this one before we start the year, friends! I try to remind myself that this is only going to be our 3rd year of homeschooling, and I'm very aware that starting when the kids are older is not easy, it'll get easier, right? Hopefully the tutor will be a huge help with all of this. He is a very polite, responsible, dependable kid, though, and keeps track of all sorts of pet-sitting or plant-watering jobs he's got going around the neighborhood, so I know he's turning out well, but I could sure use your advice on this one. Thanks!
5. The moments of doubt… “Am I really doing what's best for them?” And knowing that when they aren't getting it, it's all up to me. (Conversely, when they DO get it, what joy!)
I asked the kids what they love most about homeschooling…
“Staying in my pajamas if I want to.” “No homework.” “I get to stay home with my Mom and not rush to school every day.” “Sleeping in.”
What they don't love about homeschooling…
“The curriculum! It's too much work!”
Now share your own list in the comments — what do you love and what don't you love about homeschooling?
- Are you thinking of homeschooling? Here's how we came to this off-the-wall (for us) decision: If You Thought I Was Crazy Before, Wait ’til You Hear This One. I just read that again and it brought tears to my eyes, I'm so thankful God led us here…