Well, it’s almost July. I think I’m going to call it good for my first year homeschooling all three kiddos. Here’s what happened this year.
Three months into the school year, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. There was a lot of juggling of homeschool hours while we shuttled Dad to various appointments. I still think we did really well. The kids were really good about having to sit and wait around a lot. (Just FYI Dad is finished with treatment and doing really well now!)
On Christmas Day my husband fell and dislocated and broke his ankle and was pretty much bedridden for the next month. (He’s back to normal now which seems miraculous to me.) This put a bit more pressure on the ole’ homeschool schedule what with surgery and me being his legs for awhile. We might have pretty much skipped a week or two. Except spelling. We never skip spelling.
So May came and I was thinking we were about done for the year. We’d finished all of our spelling lists and I was checking to see how many language arts and math modules Jack (2nd grade) and Emma (1st grade) had left. Uh-oh. Apparently they were supposed to be doing two to three lessons per day and we were only doing one! We finally finished this week by doing only one lesson per topic. I’m confident they understand it all. If not, we’ll go back and review when we start back in the fall. There will probably be a review lesson or two when they start next year’s module anyway.
Time 4 Learning (www.time4learning.com) with their cartoon-like lessons are so much more engaging than reading from a page. I’ll stick with that for 2nd and 3rd grade math and language arts. Also, spelling lists and activities from Super Teacher Worksheets (www.superteacherworksheets.com) were fantastic. They even have a spelling test sheet with a cute graphic on it for each list.
Reading was student’s choice every day and I just asked them questions to check comprehension and listened to them read aloud every once in awhile to see how they were doing with the words (except for my now 6th grader – he reads anything just fine). I kept their library stocked with my teacher account from Scholastic Book Club. (Yes, homeschools can apply for an account too!)
WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
I kinda petered out on science and social studies when the stuff hit the fan. All of my kids love project based, hands-on activities for science – which is labor, material and time intensive. Not my favorite. I’m going to have to plan ahead for this year. A lot. I’m also going to have to research social studies and figure out some movies to watch and field trips to take because none of the kids like sitting and listening to a lecture – even if it’s only five minutes long. And while my daughter will cut and paste and write facts about social studies topics, my boys are not fans. I may have to do a split on that this year.
NEW FOR NEXT YEAR
My now 6th grader is going to have to move into an un-schooling or world-schooling situation. (Is that even a thing? It is now!) He does not learn in a classroom type environment. Or rather he doesn’t retain what he learns in a classroom. He’s a self-exploration learner and I am finally accepting that. I’m considering letting him pick his topics of study and having him create some sort of presentation (on the computer, or poster board, or whatever) to present his findings.
I have also decided to add mindfulness/mediation to our homeschool. I have no idea how yet, but I’ll figure it out. I know how helpful meditation has been for me and I want to pass that along to them.
IT’S A WRAP
So that’s it. Year one of homeschooling all of my children is in the books. Although I dream of a (free) school that will allow for the individualism I would like for my children, I’m okay with taking the reigns myself. For now, there’s a whole lot of plannin’ goin’ on over here.
If you know of any good mindfulness programs for kids, please let me know!