I am a relatively organized person. And I would have thought that would extend into my homeschooling experience. But in the midst of starting homeschool for my girls I had two little ones underfoot. Add to that the fact that homeschooling can be a complete upheaval of all homemaking routines. I spent the first 2 and a half years of homeschooling floundering without a sure foundation to ground us. Every once in a while, we would settle into a homeschool routine. And then life would shift and I would no longer have my feet underneath me.
It was, in short, a struggle. Some things would get done regularly. Other things would get put off for another day (Ahem…1st grade math…ahem). And my kids knew that if they worked me hard enough, the whole day could be put off. Often I felt like a homeschool mom failure.
As if the internal struggle wasn’t real enough, I also had two students who put up a MAJOR fight on most days just to get through the little bit we were getting done. I understood that the early years of elementary learning are supposed to be loose, but this was not exactly what I pictured. I needed a solution – on some days I thought I needed magic. Continue Reading
Our regular readers will likely remember we are quite the book-loving family around here. Back before we had kids, my husband and I actually started a book blog. We had a fun time talking about the words of others using words of our own. Then we became parents and reading for ourselves is a bit more sporadic. I still crave the joy of a book so well-written it demands I stay awake turning pages (old-fashioned or digital) until the wee hours of the morning. Those joys are just fewer and more distant between them than they used to be.
In the meantime, we have discovered the joy of short, sweetly penned books that resonate with us because of contagious rhyming structures or delightful interactions. We have become picture book loving people. And thankfully, through these simple books we have somehow turned our little ones into lovers of books, too.
The entire time I have been doing homeschool, a morning time routine seemed a natural way to work through our day, getting devotion, prayer, memory work, and the like into the mix. Something informal for the little ones to be able to naturally start to join in as they were ready. I found myself sitting in the same place every morning (the hearth in our living room) and telling the kids, “Gather ’round.” Not all of them would come, but I had the quorum I needed…usually. The little ones would wander in and out throughout our Gathering. They would hear a song they wanted to enjoy with us and come running. They would wander back to their toys when the music died down, toddling back in for their turn to sit on Mama’s lap for reading. It was really loose. And inconsistent.
We started settling into a routine of morning time a while back. It was a natural outcome of the rhythms of our day. But getting a routine right took some adjusting. And sticking to it became even harder as seasons in our lives changed. Thankfully, I feel like we have really found our homeschool groove in the past 6 months. Scheduling seems to be easier. Getting through the day without major tantrums is a blessing in itself. And staying the course when diaper changes or nap times interrupt our day has become de rigueur. Continue Reading
I am not normally one to completely give up on something right out of the starting gate. But about 2 years ago, I gave up on kindergarten math about 3 lessons in. Yep. 3 lessons. I thought we could go back later, when I had a little more patience. Later ended up being an entire year. We said good-bye to kindergarten math and we never looked back. Two years later and one kid more in kindergarten and I have absolutely no regrets.
Is it time for you to say good-bye to kindergarten math, too? Or should you not even waste your time, energy, and money on a math curriculum for your kindergartner? I don’t know. But I don’t mind sharing my thinking behind this epiphany to help you decide. Continue Reading
My husband is notorious in our family as a lover of pickles. He is a particular pickle lover – he only prefers peppery pickles. Sorry, couldn’t resist the alliterations! Anyway, we received a pickle ornament some time back because of my husband’s well-known passion for pickles (I may or may not stop). Attached to our pickle ornament was a story of a pickle tradition in which a pickle ornament is hidden on a Christmas tree for children to find. The first child to find the pickle receives a prize. In the years following we have started to do this tradition with our kids. And our kids LOVE it! It is one of the only traditions for the holidays our kids discuss the moment we get the tree out of storage. Continue Reading
We just finished our first day of school for the girls (and AG, by surprise) in our updated homeschool space. I know it is Labor Day. But Labor Day means Daddy is home and I have help for the day. We also have our first community day with Classical Conversations tomorrow. I am trying to alleviate the busyness of the morning tomorrow whilst establishing an understanding that we do school AT home. I had to explain this to the girls a few times because excitement has an affect on their ears!