I wasn’t homeschooled and I never had any desire to homeschool my children, yet here I find myself blogging about being just that; a homeschooling mom. The decision to homeschool was made largely because my son was having trouble in his Pre-K class. He was, at the time, in occupational therapy for a sensory disorder that was effecting several facets of his life. I was afraid he would be labeled in school and decided to bring him home for Kindergarten, giving him an extra year to grow and adjust. Kindergarten ended this last Spring, and we have moved onto 1st Grade Curriculum. I did not anticipate homeschooling long term, and after having “one of those days” I sometimes wonder why I am still doing it.
Do you know what I mean by “one of those days”? I’m talking about the days you wonder why you ever decided to homeschool. The days you think your kids won’t make it to the next grade and might be better of watching Sesame Street than taking instruction from you. The days you close the books. The days you just want to crawl into bed and hide…
I have come to appreciate a regular routine. The kids know what to expect as well as what is expected of them, and there is less pressure on me when it comes to planning our days. Having a routine has really helped keep us on task. In addition to our regular routine, I spend some time on Sunday evenings planning out the week. I plan any field trips that we might take, I photocopy any necessary materials, bookmark pages and bind together lessons and worksheets. Being prepared ahead of time plays a huge role for us. When I haven’t been prepared, well, let’s just say it hasn’t gone well. My son gets frustrated while he sits waiting for me to print things out or read over instructions etc. Being prepared also allows for more flexibility. When I have a lesson plan we can easily “catch up” if life interrupts. We do a lot of hands on learning too. This helps keep my boys engaged. Despite all of my efforts, “those days” still creep up on us. A bad attitude, a concept that isn’t so easily coming together, multiple interruptions from a younger siblings, a difficult worksheet that leads to frustration or a an activity that just doesn’t go as planned; I begin to wonder if it’s really worth the effort.
It might not be until the end of the day, or maybe even the next, but I always remember how much I actually enjoy homeschooling and how many wonderful benefits it has given my son and our entire family. Some of the greatest rewards of homeschooling have been the time spend with my son and the celebrations we have over his achievements. It has been amazingly fulfilling to teach him and watch him learn and grow intellectually. Along with 1st Grade, we are now venturing into Pre-K with our four year old as well. It’s fun to involve all of the boys in activities and doing so has taught our kids the value of helping one another to learn and achieve goals. They have also developed an interest in (and I might even say a love of) learning that I don’t know they would otherwise have. At home we can make lessons fun and tailor them to the individual likes and interests of each of the kids. Being the “teacher” is also the best way to really know their strengths and weaknesses. And I can’t tell you how important that knowledge has been even as we work on building positive character traits and behavior. Homeschooling has also provided a natural atmosphere for introducing life skills and concepts that I never would have thought to begin working on. And more importantly, homeschooling allows us to instill our family values without the pressures of competing with those they could potentially be exposed to in public school. Let me say now that I am not opposed to public schooling, and I had always intended to fully utilize the public schools, but life has taken our family down a different road. One that was unexpected and one that isn’t always easy, but one that has proven time and time again to be the best for us… at least for now.
Found this over on Christina’s Blog. Love it!