Tag Archives: Homeschool

Winter Days

Whew, I’m glad the past few months are over. We had my moms funeral on November 15th. It was a really nice day and was a sweet service. We scattered her ashes over the lake where she was the happiest she’s ever been. I hope she is at peace. I hope I find peace with my swirling feelings about the entire thing. “Thing” being my relationship with her. 

I wouldn’t say that anger is the word for it. Guilt, over some of the terrible things I have said and done. Hurt, that things just couldn’t have been different between us. Sadness that her life had to end while she was still so young, with so much to live for if only she opened herself up to it. Mostly, I just hope she knows that she was loved. 

Things on the homeschooling front are a little blah. What with all of the running around the last few months have brought, I’d be lying if I said we were following any sort of schedule. I keep telling myself that it’s ok to take a break and take the time to grieve. At the same time, I feel like I’m dropping the ball and need to snap back to it. 

They REALLY weren’t kidding when they said that the first year is the hardest. At least in my experience. 

I hope to stick with this blogging thing. I always end up deciding not to post because I can’t think of much to say that hasn’t already been said by someone else. Another thing is that part of me wants to blog for myself, but another part of me wants to do it for the social connection of it all. And then I just get tired thinking about all that. 

Did I mention that I suffer from depression? 

Homeschooling Our Way

I had a question on a previous post on how we homeschool. First, I’ll be honest. I’m still figuring it out! This is our first year homeschooling with both of the girls. M is in 5th grade and K is in 2nd. We brought M home last year, but she started out on an online public school. So even though she was home, she still had PS guidelines to follow, standards she had to meet, tests she had to take. So this is our first year where we aren’t tied to any outside school. 

First, I’ll explain our reasoning for wanting to homeschool. I will be the FIRST to tell you that I have NO patience. I could never be a teacher or a daycare provider. I love kids. I DEFINITELY love my kids. But I can deal with my own (sometimes) way better than I can someone elses. Probably because I can be my “true” self in front of my kids, without being afraid of pissing off the parents, because I AM the parent, haha! I will admit right now that I have told my youngest (who I have the most trouble with, in terms of attitude and head-butting) that “I’m not the same as a school teacher. I don’t have to be so nice.” LOL… not the right attitude to always have with your kids, and DEFINITELY not the norm around here… but let’s be real. Kids are hard. All of that said just to say that if you want to homeschool but feel like you “just couldn’t…” I am one of those “just couldn’t” people. And this actually works out way better for ALL of us!  We pulled M out because of her math and me wanting to be able to give her that one on one attention she needed. I was SICK of my child thinking she was stupid. SICK of her thinking that she didn’t measure up, that something was wrong with her. So I took matters into my own hands. We threw K into the mix because I didn’t want all of us to have different schedules, always running in opposite directions. LIFE DOES NOT NEED TO BE LIKE THAT. 

Right now our schedule is pretty laid back. We use two resources heavily with some other stuff thrown in. Our first resource is a website called http://www.time4learning.com. This website offers a full curriculum, which can be used for homeschooling or “after-schooling,” which is people who want their kids to use it after school (duh, lol)… It covers math, language arts, science, and social studies. They just added a high school program, but it was started with the intention of going up to 8th grade. I try to make sure that the girls do this every day. They do a couple of lessons in each subject and are done in a couple of hours, if that. K usually works faster than M. I have M’s math tailored to fit her needs, so she is actually working on 2nd grade math while all of her other subjects remain at a 5th grade level. The way the site works, because she is in 5th grade, she has access to both 4th and 6th grade curriculum in all subjects, except math. For math, she has access to 1st and 3rd grade material. So she can go back and review if she needs to or work ahead if she needs to. The same goes for K, just pertaining to her grade level. Because this is a full curriculum (meaning that it provides the average amount of material they would learn in a PS for a full school year), I want them to at least accomplish this to feel like we are getting somewhere. Our other resource is called Story of the World, by Susan Bauer. It’s a full history curriculum that comes in 4 volumes and can be used with all ages. The reason why we are using this is because I like history and want to go through it, lol… there really is no reason other than that. We are only a few chapters in, so I can’t really say if we like it or not… actually, I can say that we do like the story. And we like a lot of the projects too, but I’m a procrastinator so I don’t always have the materials needed, which means no projects get done. Hey, I never said I was perfect. 

I think one big misconception people have about homeschooling is that you have to do what a PS does, taking up the entire day with academics. The reality is that a school works that way because they have a ton of kids. If your child was the only one they had to teach, a regular day would be done very quickly. Honestly, if we get up and at ’em right away, our day could well be done by 11a or noon. If not earlier. Reality here is that we wake up a bit later and dink around, so our work is usually done in the afternoons. But we are still only busy for a couple of hours. More so if we throw in extra projects, watch a movie about something, go on a field trip, etc… the reality is that homeschooling frees up your schedule SO MUCH, so that you are allowed to learn using different methods than just a book and paper. 

I’m still trying to find our groove though. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to jam in too much, sometimes I feel like I’m not doing anything at all. They say that the first year is the hardest, and I am beginning to find that true. But I am also beginning to see how rich of an experience this can be. 

I’ll answer more questions as I think of them, or if you have anymore, V… I’ll keep on going! I like talking about this! 

All about Me- The Homeschool Side

I said yesterday that I would be back today to introduce myself more fully.

I’m married to one of the best people I’ve ever met. He drives me crazy, but I really don’t know what life would look like without him. It kind of pains me to think about it, lol. We have two girls. Our oldest is 10 and in the 5th grade. Our youngest is 7 and in 2nd grade. We started homeschooling them this year.

Our main reasons for wanting to homeschool stemmed from our oldest daughter. She was falling further and further behind in public school when it came to math. Because she was not a behavior issue, she kind of just slipped through the cracks. Because of mandatory testing and low test scores, Minnesota schools seem to focus strongly on reading. And we all know that reading is one of the basic blocks of LIFE. We need to be able to read, it’s a great skill to have, and obviously one that should be taught in schools. However, this happens at the expense of other subjects. History and science are usually the first to go. Math gets more attention, but they don’t have the same sorts of intervention in place for students struggling in math that they do for reading. Our oldest daughter reads at a high school level. She struggles with the simplest of math.

After finding out that they placed her at the behavior table (yes, they have one of those) in her classroom, not because she was having behavior issues, but because she was “slow in math”, I met with the principal. I had been researching online public schools and was seriously considering it, as I thought it would be a way to slow the math down a bit and get her skills back where they needed to be. And I never want my daughter to feel like she is stupid just because she has struggles in certain things. That’s when all of the promises for help started flowing in. As soon as they realized they were going to be losing the revenue they get for her, they wanted to “be there” to support us. I pulled her anyway.

The online public school did not fix the issues though. It was more of the same, except now she was at home. So we unenrolled her from there in March of last year. At the start of this year, we brought our 2nd grade daughter home as well. The main reason for that was because we are already here and I didn’t want all of us going different directions and having different schedules.

So far, we love it! Like I said, this is our first year, so we haven’t really smoothed out all of the bumps. We enjoy our time together and the girls like being able to go at their own pace. At the moment we are using Life of Fred (GREAT math series, told within a story… look it up, even if you don’t homeschool), Story of the World (still figuring that one out), and Road Trip USA by Confessions of a Homeschooler.  SOTW and Road Trip USA are a history and geography curriculum, respectively.

I can’t say that our path is perfect yet, because it’s nowhere near that. Today I am struggling with finding a schedule that works for us. I’ve thought about “deschooling” for a period of time, but as someone who doesn’t do well without any structure, I’m not sure if I will just end up feeling like we are doing “nothing” or not. I already know that unschooling is not the answer here. It’s a good choice for those who can make it work, but my brain does not operate like that, and I would be doing all of us a disservice.

I promise I’m not weird (ok, I am. Just not because of this), abusive, or a hermit. Well, I can be a hermit because of my depression, but not because I homeschool. I don’t hide my kids under a rock. They get out more than they did while in school. We don’t homeschool for religious reasons or because we are “training up our children” a certain way. This just works for us, and I’m so glad we made the choice.