Monday, March 30, 2015

Last Quarter of our First Year

We are on Spring Break right now but next week we will begin our last quarter of the year!!  It is hard to believe that we are in the home stretch! I am very excited to complete this year and have one full year under my belt!  It has not been easy but it has been a blessing.  Once I started homeschooling my son it got to be too much.  He was not enjoying it and neither was I.  Finally, in his sweet 5 year old voice, he said to me, "Mommy, I love you but I don't want to be homeschooled. I want to go to the big school and have a teacher and friends."  It was so sweet how he said it, I couldn't be upset.  My husband and I always said that we make our decisions for education based on each kids needs.  Sport thrives on social interaction. It makes him so happy.  He is also not self motivated when it comes to schoolwork but he is competitive and we think that having other students in his class will motivate him to work harder.  So, as we have been praying about it, we have decided to put him in school next year for Kindergarten. We considered private school but the cost is more than we can handle right now and Kinder is only a 1/2 day program so he won't be there too long.  Hopefully by 1st we can put him in private school, unless God calls us to stay in public school. We will just keep seeking him along the way.  I found this great book called "Going Public." It's about how to raise Christian kids in the public school system. It has been very encouraging and helpful.  I never knew when I had kids that the education decision would be so tough. I think we are going to homeschool my daughter again next year BUT there is a part of me that would love to put her in school and only have two kids to care for during the day. I would also love to go to a women's bible study or MOPS group again. I miss that woman connection throughout the week. We have time to figure this all out.  I have faith God will guide us :) For now, nine weeks to go!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Why I Homeschool

I tend to doubt my decisions. Even the one's that I am confident God led me to make. I am the queen of second guessing and it is something I struggle with daily.  My poor husband has been so patient with me and all of my crazy ideas. They are like the weather, just wait a couple hours, and they will change again.  I am thankful for the people in my life that I trust that help me focus in on what is most important and help me stick to the decisions that last.

I have wavered on the homeschooling idea for years.  I started homeschooling my daughter when she was just 2  years old, although I didn't call it that, I was just being her mom and teaching her new things.  As she got older, I continued to teach her but it got more difficult as she was very emotional and struggled with being over-sensitive. It was for that main reason that we held her back a year. She did Kindergarten two years in a row and it was the best decision for her. She felt so much more confident and she enjoyed school so much more. During her first few years we did homeschool, public school, and private school.  I truly saw great benefits to each one. When I was a kid I went to public school through Junior High School and then to a private Christian school for High School.  I hated the public school and had some truly horrifying experiences there, however I absolutely loved the private school and was so grateful to be there. I was certain I would send my own children to private school when I had them. I didn't consider just how much private school costs.

After doing a lot of research (I LOVE research), I found that homeschooling offered a lot of the same benefits as a private school.  Your kids get a Christian education, and it's (almost) free.  Even the most expensive curriculum choice can't compare to the cost of private education.

Also, I was infertile so we were blessed to be able to adopt (soon to be) FOUR kids! I fought hard and went through a lot to have this amazing family of mine and I didn't feel at peace sending them all off to school every day and missing out on so much of their lives.  This first full year of homeschooling has been awesome in so many ways.

Here are a few:

1. Kids get to sleep in.  My kids are night owls and late sleepers so it was a nightmare waking them and getting out the door at 7:30.  Today my kids all slept until 8:30!

2.  A Christian Education. I love that I can incorporate our faith into every aspect of their learning.

3.  Can tailor the lessons to my kids gifts and abilities.

4,  Freedom to take sick days or lazy days or field trip days whenever we need to/want to.

5.  No pick up lines at school.  If you have ever waited in one, you know what I mean.

6.  Can spend a lot of quality AND quantity time with my children.  I know them better than anyone.

Here are some verses that I like that I believe encourage me in this journey as well:

Isaiah 38:19
Luke 6:40
2 Corinthians 10:5
Romans 12:2

And my verse for this year...Galations 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  If that isn't encouraging as a homeschooling parent, I don't know what is :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A bump in the road and a baby

So the first semester went quite different than I had anticipated! We were going strong, finally found our groove with school, and then we got THE call.  The birth mom of our two boys had just had another baby boy and they wanted to know if we wanted him. Oh, and we had two hours to decide. Well, it took us less than that to decide that yes, we wanted our son's biological brother. A week later we had an 8 day old beautiful newborn in our home.  It was absolutely crazy and wonderful. We now have four kids and our family is finally complete.  But the lack of preparation for a new baby and the huge transition caused us to feel quite overwhelmed right away. Homeschool was the only variable we could change at the moment so we decided to enroll our daughter in a local charter school.

She was there for three weeks. It was a nice break for her from the craziness at home and it was a nice break for us, having one less kid to worry about throughout the day. But a funny thing happened! I realized that I missed teaching her and spending time with her every day! We also noticed that she started getting a bit of an attitude again (same thing happened when she was at school last year). Over the Christmas break she has gone back to being a sweet, helpful girl and we have loved having her home every day.

So we are going back to homeschooling again! I did a trial week last week with her and my son who is Pre-K and it went great. My toddler got in there too and enjoyed learning.  And when I was working with my daughter, the other two boys played together which was great.  So we are also pulling my son from his preschool class and we are going to do this homeschool thing full steam!

We are continuing the same curriculum with Peanut but for Sport I am doing a mixture of Confessions of a Homeschooler PreK curriculum and some workbooks and some Five in a Row Literature.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Very rough week

Sigh:: This week has been tough. I have now home~schooled for 6 weeks. I am quite impressed with this actually.  I haven't decided to quit or anything, I just feel stumped on how to make my life work.  My kids are beautiful, sweet, loving little humans.  But they are also loud, frustrating, argumentative, loud, disruptive, busy, and troublesome, oh and did I mention loud?  I love them to pieces individually but as a group they wear my patience so thin and really make me question my decisions.  I am convinced that other moms have been given a greater level of tolerance than I have.  I so want to be the sweet loving mom who does crafts with her kids, has a clean home, and also home~schools her children who gratefully soak up every ounce of instruction.  This is not me, nor is it real life.  Homeschooling my daughter has gone really well in and of itself. She loves the one on one time with me and does *almost* everything I ask of her without too much complaining.  My middle son goes to a Special Education Preschool four days a week for almost three hours a day. I thought that the time he was gone would be perfect for school but I didn't account for my adorable 2 year old fully embracing screaming tantrums at this age.  He makes it so hard.  I can't read to her because he screams if I am not giving him attention. I have tried distracting him with play doh, kinetic sand, coloring pages, Legos, trains, toys, books, you name it.  He will not have it.  So that leaves us the time during his 1 1/2 hour nap in the afternoon to get as much work done as possible.  I don't know what to do.  Am I doing what is best for Peanut, Sport, or Fish? I'm not sure.  My house is a mess, I can't keep up with my responsibilities, and I find myself losing my patience too often.  Anyone have any advice? ::Sigh

Friday, September 5, 2014

Crazy Home Schoolers

Schooling in your pajamas, schooling in dress up clothes, schooling at the kitchen table, schooling in the back yard, schooling with untraditional curriculum, schooling with your mom as your teacher.  These are just some of the things I love about school at home.  I love getting notes from my daughter during the middle of the day telling me how much she loves me.  I love cuddling on the couch and reading books to each other.  I just love having her home and getting to be such a big part of her education experience.  Yep, we are officially crazy home schoolers and loving every moment!







Art Lessons

My kids love doing art than pretty much anything else.  My daughter can be found cutting, coloring, glueing, creating almost all day long.  She never has been very into dolls and toys, all she ever wants are art supplies.  So of course this is her favorite homeschool subject and I try to do it as much as I can.














A BIG change in curriculum

So after two weeks of working with our original curriculum I made the decision that it wasn't working for us.  It started with the Math. My daughter was in tears every day hating everything about this program.  I know there are so many options so it wasn't worth the fight, time to try something new.  Once I decided to change our Math curriculum I took a closer look at our other curriculum.  I found that although I love a LOT about Sonlight, the curriculum just wasn't working for us.  The history didn't have enough Christianity in it and although I understand the idea of teaching world history at a young age, I really wanted to teach American history this year.  So we are starting from scratch and this is what we are using now:

Math: MathUSee
Bible: Jesus Calling devotional, Heart of Dakota's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory
Grammar: Bob Jones University English 2
Spelling: All About Spelling
Vocabulary: Wordly Wise
Science: Abeka grade 2
History: Heart of Dakota's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory
Reading/Poetry: Heart of Dakota's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory
Art: Heart of Dakota's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory
Handwriting: Handwriting without Tears

We have been using this new curriculum for one week and not one tear has been shed. In fact the two subjects Peanut loves the most now are Math and Spelling! Amazing what the right curriculum does for your kiddo! I feel blessed to be able to tailor it to her needs!