Let me start off by saying that I know not all families are able to home school, and I love and appreciate everyone’s decision on their children’s education. Home schooling is the best thing OUR family has ever decided to do. Is it crazy, wild and nuts most days? YES! But I simply decide at the end of each day, that I will not give up, because the hard days are the days that make the good days, that much sweeter!
We are in the 2 year of homeschooling our children. Kaleb is in 4th grade, Alison is in 3rd grade, Keenan is in 1st grade and Lyla is in preschool. We do History, Science and Bible together as a family. I use the highest child’s grade for History and Science (4th grade) because I never want to bring down the learning of my oldest child, and I can easily make things simpler for the younger kids. For History, we are doing American History by Abeka and for Science we are using Understanding God’s World also by Abeka. So far, we all have really enjoyed these two books! For Bible I bought a new workbook to try out this year and I purchased Route 66 which takes us through every book in the Bible. We love it! I have found it to be really engaging and fun to do with the kids! It is easy to understand and I pick and choose how much or little we want to go into each lesson. (pic below of this book) Kaleb, Alison and Keenan all do their individual grade Math and Language Arts using Abeka books. I am not one of those mom’s who think I must only use Abeka, but this year it seemed that those are the books I ended up going with. I am always open to switching up our curriculum and even using different curriculum for the different kids. Last year I pulled from all over and it worked great as well. For Spelling we use Spelling Power and that has been great this year for the older two kids but I felt it was a little too advanced for my 1st grader so we use an online 1st grade spelling list. For reading, I just try to set aside time each day where I send the kids off with their book of choice to read, usually for about 20-30 minutes, sometimes longer!
Now that you know what material we use, I will let you know how we get through school each day. First let’s go back to our first year. Let me be honest, the 1st year was tough! Not because of the kids, but because I was way to hard on myself. I had it set in my mind that if home schooling did not go perfectly that day, then I was not fit to home school my kids! I thought we were suppose to wake up and school for several hours, have lunch and then print out tons of extra worksheets for them to do just to make sure they were learning! We were all going to have big happy faces and not just get done the day’s lesson, but obviously even go the extra mile with awesome science projects and art murals lining the wall! Well that was unrealistic for us. Hello! I home school my kids so that we can be relaxed and do it in any way or form we want. My whole goal was to teach them in a completely different way then how schools are teaching them which is all about pen and paper, tests and more tests! I realized I needed to have confidence in myself and know that it was okay to school “outside of the box”. That is the beauty of home schooling!
At a state park near our home!
Our 2nd year of home schooling has been amazing! I am a completely different teacher who has lots of confidence in myself and my children. A day of home schooling for us now usually just takes us 2-3 hours at most to get through. Most days we start right after breakfast but some days we may wait till evening when dad gets home and we team up and work with them together! I no longer have the mindset that school has to be done during “school hours” but we make up the rules, so if we want to home school at night with dad involved, that is what we do! We also only home school Monday-Thursday. Fridays are our field trip/family fun day! Whatever time of day we start our schooling, we usually do our family subjects first, then the kids can break off and do their individual work.
Lyla watching and learning as her daddy works on a bathroom.
I love it that they have an interest in music! Cute watching them play 🙂
We love home schooling outside in our yard or maybe taking our supplies and heading to a local park. I do not give the kids pen and paper tests, yet we try to be creative and do other methods to “test” their learning. We use our whiteboard often, we do oral testing and the kids love simply writing a letter to a family member telling them what they learned that day. Being their mom and their teacher, gives me way more insight into how my children are doing and I know if I need to step it up with a particular child who may be struggling in an area. I want learning to be FUN! There may even be days where we skip the books altogether and just do life together such as baking in the kitchen, learning a trade with their dad or helping someone in need. I would rather my kids graduate high school knowing all kinds of trades, know how to cook, how to run a household, how to serve and love others, how to have intelligent conversations with adults, ……you get what I am saying!
Day at the science center!
I mess up ALL the time home schooling my kids but I am determined to make it work. Some days I feel like I yell too much, lose my patience and ruin my children. I have learned there will always be hard days, long days and crazy days but that is the case with any “job”. Just do not get stuck on those days, because great days do come and those are the days that make it all worth it! I have learned to give myself grace and know that there is always tomorrow, which is a NEW day to make good! I am so blessed to have this amazing opportunity to be home with my kids, investing in them and making priceless memories. I think the most important thing we can do as moms is to simply be there for another. I had the sweetest mom of 8 kids named Kate, invite me into her home 2 years ago, with all my own kids in tow. (I just met her at a local coffee shop a few days prior) She took time to show me how she home schooled, ran her household and really encouraged me to take the leap to home school my children. Kate, took time to invest in me and she is one of reasons why I am here today teaching my children at home. It is simple, let’s encourage, be kind and uplift one another on this journey of parenting and teaching our children. Not everyone’s journey looks the same, but I believe we are doing the best we can. I love learning from other moms so please share your tips and stories with me.