Thursday, December 17, 2009

homeschooling update

I thought I'd share a little (just a smidge, really) about how our homeschooling is going.

Benjamin, my first grader, and Kyle, my preschooler, are doing great! They've grown used to the fact that yes, we do this Monday through Friday. They're getting into the rhythm that I've set for us. They are both reading really well, in my opinion, and they're rocking their math. They love the other subjects, which is fun for me to see.

For a while I was really feeling the pressure. In the sense of time, that is. Because of moving, the cruise, and various other factors, we did not begin our school year until the beginning of October. I've always feel that was the best choice for us this time, but the new year haunted me. Moving. Settling into a new house (early- and mid-January). Nesting. New baby arriving (probably) in February. I cannot fathom how much time we'll end up taking off. I've planned some break time, but ideally I'd like to get as much work done up until the baby arrives, in order to gain extra flexibility for the postpartum period.

So I'd been very consistent, taking unplanned no days off if we could absolutely help it. I've especially been focusing on reading and math, and although our course of study also includes science, history, and Old Testament. But we had a few hiccups. The flu, for one. And last week Kyle had croup (again). Mondays and Tuesdays are tricky for us, because of standing commitments on those two days. And we had Friday school (with the homeschool CO-OP), too. The fall session ended a few weeks ago. It was wonderful once again, but we would always arrive home around 1pm, completely exhausted. So we never managed to get much done at home on Fridays, while that was going on.

I admit I've been anxious. Homeschoolers always revel in the fact that this kind of education lends itself to flexibility. If you want to take the day off to go to the park, you can. If you want to go on vacation, you can plan around it. If you want to take the kids to Daddy's office to lunch with him, no problem.

But I had those two Events looming ahead. House and Baby. Both wonderful, exciting, very-much-welcome developments. But both bringing uncertainty into my wobbly educational endeavors.

Yet...good news!

Let me back up: when I first chose this particular curriculum, I ordered a special planner. It broke down the goals for year, term, week, etc. I set term dates, as well as breaks. I had carefully counted up lessons and worked out how many we could feasibly get through in a term.

I had been so dreading looking at that planner again. I just knew we were behind. But last week I dug it out, and...miracle of miracles, we're ahead! Way ahead. In terms of what we've accomplished already, we're well into what I had figured for the second term, which is set to begin in mid-January. I couldn't believe it! And I couldn't be more pleased. What a relief to have a little extra grace as we head into January and February.

Owen continues to be a challenge. But I've found that making a small adjustment in our schedule has made a world of difference. We simply wait to do math until after lunch, when Owen goes down for his nap. Math is done at the table, and we use a lot of manipulatives. Owen always wanted to be right in the middle of that, which....really didn't work. Yet moving that one subject to a different time of day has worked wonders. I am so thankful for the idea.

So that's it. We're finding our way, slowly but surely. There are many times that I really enjoy doing this. It definitely has its challenges. But the payoff? Beyond compare.


Kristin said...

So glad things are going smoothly and you are ahead! That is a wonderful feeling, isn't it?

We just finished our last school day until February. With my husband's work schedule, we work our schedule so that we are off for a huge chunk of time in the winter. We greatly look forward to our break!

Mindy said...

Thanks, Kristin! We had some big hiccups in October (Ben *hated* his reading workbook) but with the next book we've gotten into a much better groove. It's such a relief!

I'm being a meanie: working us right up til Christmas Eve. Then we'll be back at school the week after Christmas. I figure they got a big vacation in August/September, and will again in January/February. So, noses to the grindstone!

Mindy said...
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