Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: What We/Mom Learned Our First Week

 I have been silently lurking around Kris' blog for several months now.  Her blog gave me lots of inspiration (and a few giggles) last winter after we made our final decision to homeschool.  At that time, we had not told many people about our decision so I was quietly spending hours every night surfing the web and absorbing everything I could about homeschooling.  Thanks, Kris, for giving bloggers the chance to link up here each week to share.  I'm excited to write my first wrap-up post.

We started homeschooling (for the first time ever) on Monday the 22nd.  We made the first morning special by going out to breakfast.  The boys were excited to get going and we had a great day.

Then Tuesday rolled around and the honeymoon abruptly and unexpectedly came to a HALT.  On this day, my youngest threw me a bunch of attitude about doing his schoolwork.  To my surprise, I burst into tears when talking to the Hubs about it.  He wisely reminded me that I could not declare our homeschool journey a disaster on the second day.  Although my feelings were raw, I needed the reality check.

I think I had built up homeschooling so much in my mind that it was destined to never be able to live up to my pie-in-the-sky visions of what it should look like.  The letdown I felt on Tuesday reminded me a bit of how I felt upon having my first child.  When you are expecting a baby, it is so exciting and as you anticipate the arrival of your little one, your focus is mainly on all the great and wonderful experiences that child will bring to your life.  And, of course, having a child IS an amazing and wonderful experience.  However, once the child is born, the reality of living with a newborn sets in quickly.  Late-night feedings, diaper blow-outs, and inconsolable crying can quickly bring a new parent to their knees.  Tuesday was a little like that for me.  I have wanted to homeschool the boys since my oldest was born 10 years ago.  It's kind of like a pregnancy that lasts for 10 years.  I have spent the past decade dreaming about finally having the opportunity to stay home.  During that time, my mind has engaged in multiple fantasies about those "perfect" homeschool days that would surely manifest themselves once I quit my job and stayed home to teach my sons.  The funny thing here is that I've been a professional teacher for 20 years.  I should have known better!

So............what I've learned this week is that homeschooling is going to be a transition for all of us.  It will take time and patience to adjust to a new routine.  As my cousin, Phyllis, (a veteran homeschooler) said, "Those perfect homeschool days will be few and far between.  You'll have mostly good days, some days will be just okay, and some will be just plain rotten."  I'm now feeling much less stressed and much more realistic about our homeschool journey.  I guess it's a blessing that this catharsis happened on the second day of school instead of the 102nd!

On Monday and Tuesday I was a little uptight and a slave to my schedule.  By Wednesday, I decided to relax and go with the flow.  I reminded myself that a benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility it allows.  Why not take advantage of that!

Perhaps as a result of my new-found attitude, Wednesday and Thursday went well.  We went to a homeschool park day on Wednesday morning and got to know some other homeschooling families in our community.  I think we'll all look forward to this fellowship each week.

On Thursday, my little guy asked if we could start our day by building the Great Wall of China, a project to go with our Expedition Earth curriculum that we hadn't gotten to yet.  Although I had planned to have them wait until our core subjects for the day were completed, I decided to say, "Yes!  We can absolutely start with the Great Wall today."  After all, it's more important to me that he was excited about learning than that he does his tasks in the order that I deem best.

So we worked on the Great Wall throughout the day and fit our other learning around waiting for the layers of bricks to dry.  My little guy repeatedly said, "This is going to be our bestest building ever!"  He was so excited about it, although he also frequently commented that "I didn't know it was going to take this long."  I reminded him that it took hundreds of years to build the real one, so it's not unreasonable that it would take us a day or two to finish our model!

At lunchtime on Thursday, my oldest son suggested we have a picnic lunch outside.  So we threw a blanket under our big walnut tree (the one we named our school after!) and had a picnic lunch.  While most of my friends were missing their children who went back to school today in public school (or maybe they were doing the happy dance!), I was enjoying a picnic with my two favorite boys in the whole world and reflecting on how great it is to be a homeschooler!

You can see our picnic blanket under the tree in the photo above.

I'll be sure to do some more posts soon that describe what the boys have been up to with their work.  I wanted to make this wrap-up post about what Mommy learned.  I think self-reflection is absolutely vital to success.  So my wheels are definitely turning after this first week!  I can't wait to see what we'll be up to by the wrap-up next week!


  1. Love this post! You did have a great week and as you've said, self reflection is vital! Going with the flow is the benefit of homeschooling!

  2. Are you not using the Montessori method in your homeschool?

  3. So happy for you!! We started our h/s journey on August 1st!! I have always enjoyed reading your blog and I look forward to seeing where you go from here.
    mine is Thanks for sharing the truth of the journey. :)

  4. Phyllis is SO right on with her advice! After 7 years of homeschooling - we'll be starting our 8th on 9/6 - I can absolutely tell you that some years will go smoother than others. Last year was ROUGH for us, but I have high hopes that this year will go much better with the reflections I have had over the summer and the comments of my kids. Hang in there! In the end, it's ALL so VERY worth it! Looking forward to seeing how your year goes!

  5. Welcome to the wonderful (and most days exhausting) world of homeschooling! I think veteran homeschoolers will tell you that you never get it "right". It's a constant tweak. Enjoy it!!!


  6. Welcome to homeschooling! Enjoy the flexibility that you now have and enjoy being home with your boys :o)

  7. Great job on your first week. Not every week will be great so when you are having a rough one know that you are not alone and that we are all he having good and bad weeks too! So glad you jumped on the homeschooling train its an awesome ride!

  8. Welcome to homeschooling! I'm so happy that your week turned out well. I'm sure you'll do great. Have a wonderful year!

  9. I'll echo the above posters & welcome you to homeschooling! If I could go back in time & give myself advice when I first started I would tell myself to be more flexible. :)

    Based on your post, it sounds like you are off to a great start! Have a wonderful year!

  10. Thanks for sharing! We are starting our voyage into homeschooling tomorrow! I'm looking forward to it and appreciate your reflections.