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!