Thursday, January 19, 2012

Home School Half-Time Report

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When I embarked on this year of home-education, I felt like I was VERY prepared. I had read a book about setting appropriate expectations for yourself and your kids during the first year of homeschooling (I counted last year as practice.) I was prepared to change things up, rearrange schedules and curriculum and all that.

Basically I had a plan, and I figured it would change.

And change it has.

1. Schedule

We began our year sort of trying to loosely mirror the traditional idea of "get up, get ready and go to school."

I think that lasted MAYBE two weeks.

Mornings here are NOT for school. Derek tends to work less in the mornings and more after lunch. For some reason, when Dad is around, other things tend to need to be accomplished instead.

Plus because Derek works until after bedtime, we have our big "dinner" meal at lunch time. I can't possibly cook a full meal and teach reading at the same time.

So, now, we don't even try for school until after lunch. It makes for a nice smooth morning-into-afternoon for everyone. Babies go to bed and school can happen.

2. Curriculum
We're still working toward literacy. I knew it was going to be a long haul. I also knew that Spencer would progress as fast (if not faster) than Henry. And those have both proven true.

However, both boys have made huge leaps and are now reading some words and understand how sounds go together. The fact that I can SEE the progress motivates me to keep pushing them.

We do far less Art  than I thought we would. While my Pinterests are full of delightful art projects, the reality is my boys get easily frustrated by art that includes step-by-step instructions. Typically the prep time is at least 2x as long as it takes for the project to get done.

But when I hand them supplies and say "the only rule is to keep the glue off the floor" then they will cut and paste for an hour. (See the picture above.)

We go on far fewer field trips than I thought we would. For one thing, the littles' naps cut into the day. For another, I feel like they are a bit young for most of the educational experiences available to us. They are small. We have YEARS to explore the world around us in a "formal" way. For now, the library and the park and walks suffice.

The boys love math. It shocks me. They like to add and subtract. Henry thinks dividing is SO cool. I have no idea where they came from.

The boys' "kid lessons" continue to be a favorite. "Mom, can we learn about (insert random thing here)?" is a daily request. We spent over a week learning about robots. It's my favorite as much as it is their's.

We still read books by the dozen. They can't get enough.

Day To Day:
Some days are better than others. Some days we miss school entirely or only get a fraction of what I wanted accomplished done.

Some days are blissful, and I feel confident in our progress.

Other days I wonder why we ever thought this was a good idea.

My house is frequently trashed. The kids are learning to do chores, to help, to clean up. But it's like pulling teeth. And since we're ALL here all day (except Derek who escapes!) the mess adds up fast.

I keep the kitchen clean and the clothes washed. I try to keep up on bathrooms and vacuuming.

I don't get laundry folded or sorted or put away more than once a week. Right now there are clean clothes that have been clean and in baskets for a month. (I'm blaming that on pregnancy nausea!)

I cook exactly one meal a day. It's usually lunch, like I said. I've accepted that cereal for breakfast most days is not the worst. I know it's far from ideal, but concessions have been made.

I don't get a lot of time for anything other than kids. It's not their fault. They are good boys. But it means that bedtime remains firmly at 6:30pm. Ezra makes sleeping challenging because frequent night-wakings. So I'm tired. Always.

Due to exhaustion sometimes I'm lazy. I try to not be because I think school teachers don't get to be "lazy." So we push through.

But there are days...

All in all, we're doing well. We're getting educated. We're learning. We still all love each other.

It's hard. I won't lie. It's not all sunshine and roses and hippie granola crunchy meals. Sometimes it's dirty kids and frustrated Mama and the McDonald's playland.

But we're on the right path. So, that's something right?


BEK said...

Something right sounds pretty goo to me. Sometimes when we get frustrated it is easier to realize it's our expectations that need to change not everything else. But that is hard. Way to go at being awesome.

Chelsea said...

It's posts like these that make me want to live next door or "above the garage" like the goofy/outcast big brother always does in 90s sitcoms. I would SO love to be able to help with your kiddos all the dang time.

Also, Spencer looks a lot like Oliver in that picture.

Yasmine said...

Oh Morgy-- I just caught up on your last few posts! Here's my thoughts:

1. Congratu-freakin-lations! 5 babies? Are you hoping for a girl, or another boy? (I'd want another boy. Just cause, I've accepted and love the fact I'm the only girl and LOVE to watch all my little men together.)

2. You're my hero. You rock, really. You're so creative and I SO admire the home schooling thing.

3. Tell Derek I think he rocks too.

4. I love you!

Brian and Kelsey said...

Us "regular school" teachers get to be lazy....sometimes. It comes at a price. Wednesday we were supposed to do Math at the end of the day after recess. I was tired and they worked on an art project instead. And right now I should be cleaning up my room and getting ready for next week but I am blogging.

Tubbs Family said...

I appreciate your honest analysis of homeschooling. I get so fustrated when 'my' schedule isn't on schedule and when everything 'I' need to get done doesn't. However, I'm finding the pros outweighing the cons everyday! What are some curriculum are you using?


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