In all honesty, by the end of last school year I was BURNT OUT! I started the year with one homeschooled child and ended with two as a foray back into public school just didn’t work out. Our routine had gotten off to a great start and was suddenly scattered and in disarray. There were a lot of hurt feelings and much sibling competition for my time. Needless to say, it all just left me feeling a bit lack luster and frustrated. Being a stay-at-home parent doesn’t often afford the luxury of alone time, especially when you homeschool. I felt quite overwhelmed and in need of a recharge.
This year we started with everyone on the same page, all four of us on day one of the 2018-2019 school year together. All of us, together, on the same day. No chance of the “but she’s not”s. I have an older child who has attended public school since 6th grade and is now a Junior in High School. She drives herself to school now! No more early morning drop-offs mean I get a little more of that elusive alone time before the day starts. Time to do what I need, wether it be the dishes left in the sink from the night before or just time to sit on the back porch, coffee in hand, enjoying the chirping of crickets. Now, once my middle schooler wakes to her alarm clock (major win), around seven a.m., after everyone who is leaving for the day is gone, our homeschool day officially begins.
Saying goodbye to several different curriculum choices that were very labor intensive has made the start of day much easier. I am enjoying new freedom with several different curriculum choices that are online or DVD based. I still get to weigh in and am still the go to gal for questions and clarity, but I don’t feel tied to my desk or the white board. Both of my students are jumping right in and beginning their lessons without having to be asked. Really, I think they enjoy the freedom of being able to work at their own pace in their own timing. On several occasions I’ve found my youngest working away at her computer when I thought she was still asleep. The only downside to this is I really have to check behind her to be sure of comprehension. That’s where matching up the child to the right curriculum comes in. When I first started homeschooling I chose a single all-in-one curriculum. Now, as I’ve become a more seasoned veteran, I am definitely reaping the benefits of picking and choosing based on the needs of my students as they are not all-in-one.
What are the needs of my students, my children, academically? Sure, they need to master reading, writing, arithmetic and have the ability to function in this world and participate in higher education should they want to; beyond that I’m pretty sure we can all agree is subjective. For me personally, I need them to enjoy learning. When they’re older, and become interested in something new, they should know how to research it and go. It’s one of my main goals: raise kids that know HOW to go about achieving a goal/skill. If they want it, they have to work for it. The more enjoyable the learning process the easier the goal/skill is to accomplish; so find what inspires them and study it with passion. I need my kids to know it’s okay to follow their dreams. It’s also okay to press on even if they don’t know what that dream or passion is yet.
So here we go, in this new school year, pressing on towards higher goals. We are learning to practice patience when things don’t go our way, learning to be self-starters, choosing to accept and use constructive criticism. Each experience and others adding to the components that make us more than the sum of our experiences; each one adding to and creating character. I am no longer frustrated, I am renewed, knowing that I am molding my children into very capable adults.