The Tuesday after Labor Day, which seems like five million years ago, began another year of homeschooling.
Here they are – my 5th grader and OH MY WORD, my kindergartener.
We’ve been homeschooling now for 6 years. I can’t believe it. I go in a little wiser each September, having evaluated what did and didn’t work from the previous year, but honestly, it is a humbling endeavor. A learning process that never ends.
One thing I know, for sure, is this: The first day of school shall start with donuts.
It’s our way and I curse the very idea come 11:00 a.m. when they are getting up from the table, screeching chairs on the hardwood floor, or dropping pencils every 10 seconds because there is just a hint of sugar in those donuts, I’m afraid. Add a 5 1/2 year old to the equation and you get 432 questions of “what’s next, Mommy?” before I even take a sip of my hot chocolate with a shot of espresso.
But, come 4 p.m., when the house is quiet because they are either outside playing or upstairs in rest time and I actually have a plan for dinner and see that work was verifiably completed that day, and check that math problems were answered 99% correctly, is THE BEST. Learning took place in small bits and pieces and I got to witness it firsthand. And since we use a literature-based curriculum (Sonlight) for history, I also had the memory of reading books together for an hour. (I used to think this was soooo long but now it’s my absolute favorite part of the day.) He listened and then asked questions that popped into his head that were ON TOPIC. What?
Sure, there was the occasional Minecraft thought that flew in from nowhere or the idea that he wants to do a science project on nuclear gas (whatever that means, but something tells me it is not what he thinks it is), but he did learn about the injustices of the slave trade, learned about British parliament, and started reading a novel about the California Gold Rush all in one afternoon.
Not everyday ends with those kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings, but this one did. I’ll take ‘em when I can get ‘em.
As for the rest of our first week, it was a good one. Mini likes to make up games so I try to let her run the show as much as possible. 6 years ago I asked a seasoned homeschool mom a question about homeschooling kindergarten. She gave me a one-word answer: Play.
I try to take her advice as much as possible.
Mini’s day starts out very structured but we do end up playing for a while. This year I am trying to be more consistent with using that set of drawers you see in the picture above. Before I go to bed, I put a simple craft in drawer #1, a math page in drawer #2, our calendar notebook in drawer #3 (well, it doesn’t technically fit but that’s the order we do it in), and various other workbooks, books, or activities in the rest of the drawers.
Her attention span takes us through 4 drawers, then she has a need to get up and play. I have found that if I stay near her little table, she will want to play something educational (dominoes, a reading match game, bank teller, store, or a puzzle or something) and it’s both school and her idea. Win/Win! Then after a few minutes I’m able to direct her to play independently while I read to Max. So far, that schedule is working nicely.
By the way, we both love these calendar printables from Homeschool Creations. I had them printed on quality paper and in color so opening this notebook puts me in my happy place. Mike very wisely refuses to buy a color printer here at home because I’d go crazy and spend $$$ on ink. We have a nice b/w laser printer and it has served us well. But OH how I love these pages.
So, there you go. Just a little peek into our first week of school. So far, so good. We still love homeschooling.