Friday, November 7, 2014
Homeschool Year #6: the good, the bad, and the exciting
This school year has been a whopper full of changes and new challenges.
The same could be said of each of the previous school years as well, but this one has been the hardest emotionally on me. I spent the first three weeks crying and depressed, and the following two digesting all the changes: the loss of a dream, the change in control, the time missed…it all added up and I struggled to accept it.
These two handsome boys started public school in August, and while it has been overall a positive change, it has not been without it’s challenges. For starters, Isaac has struggled with bullying. I’m not going to share the details here, but I will share that it is really difficult to watch your sweet, smart, and generous kid be treated so poorly. Saul and I have both tried to encourage him and teach him ways to cope, and we are hopeful that by working with the school and his teacher, this phase of hardship is over for him soon. Unfortunately, I know first hand what it’s like to be the victim of bullying so, my first reaction was to pull him from public school in order to shield him from future pain. Saul is much more logical and less emotional than I am though, so rather than make any rash decisions we are advocating for him, praying over him, and teaching him through it. I will easily admit that my threshold for tolerating these incidents is shrinking…
Both boys have had a bit of a learning curve with the new routines and expectations. I felt relieved to find out that both of their teachers are big into teaching and expecting personal responsibility from all of their students. We had conferences last week and were so happy to find out they are both doing exceptionally well academically. Nate has been tested and received into the Gifted and Talented group for Language Arts and Isaac’s teacher was going to recommend him for testing in Math. Isaac ran for Student Council and is serving as Class Representative. He is also in the Battle of the Books, a citywide competition that takes place in April, and is starting intramural Basketball next week too. So many great opportunities and experiences!
Homeschooling the girls has been amazing! Like I’m really really enjoying our days together. We’ve established our new routine and both girls are thriving with the laid back approach to learning.
This year has been all about giving Elaina more independence. I made her a personal planner to write her assignments in each week, and while it’s working okay, it’s not a perfect fit. Maybe I need to tweak it a bit…
Elaina is still attending a once-a-week homeschool enrichment program that focuses on Integrated, Performing, and Visual Arts. We feel so blessed by this program as it offers opportunities for her that I could not. Olivia is anxiously awaiting her turn next year!
We are still doing a lot of theme work, working our way through Zoology, and later this year, Oceanography. I love planning and putting together these units. I’m such a nerd that way.
One of the really exciting things about this year is the turn around I’ve seen in Elaina and her desire/ability to read. That was one major area that kept getting pushed off dealing with all the constant drama the past two years. She didn’t want to learn and I didn’t have the energy to fight her over it. Something clicked for her all of a sudden though and she has just taken off with reading and is now excited about writing too. I really think that our quieter days at home are allowing for these really positive changes we are seeing in her. Overall she is a highly motivated learner and I enjoy being able to teach her!
Olivia spent four months going to speech therapy and we have seen a marked improvement in her. We had to set aside her letter of the week curriculum to focus on her speech work through the week – she usually wasn’t very motivated to do both. So now we are plugging full steam ahead and trying to finish it up. I’m still working speech activities into our day to day life, and I’ve found a few sneaky ways to work it into her schooling as well. For the most part though, she really only wants to do what “sissy” is doing and complains that “I already know my ABC’s mom! That’s for babies.”
I’m in no rush for her to grow up though.
We have so much more time these days for the extra things that often got set aside before. Art projects and extra outings are the favorite between the girls right now.
I have a few new things upcoming for the girls, including a spring unit on Laura Ingalls Wilder, but for the most part we are sticking with what works for us and re-using as many resources as possible. I’m really looking forward to the girly spin I can put on school plans now!
Want to read more about our homeschool/public school journey?
The Homeschool Dilemma
Keeping On – Changes in Homeschooling
Hectic Homeschool – How the new changes were/were not working
Making the Switch – Public School Starts