Sunday, December 7, 2014

Homeschooling Year One

We've been homeschooling for almost a year now any my blogging has jumped off the face of the earth.  I have probably lost all of my blog followers this past year.  

Life has become much more busy for us; especially this year as my youngest has also begun preschool.  

I could write a whole blog now just on our homeschooling learning curve.

In a nutshell, this year we are trying out an online charter school.  It has its pros and cons.  The reason I singed onto this is to make it a little easier.  Financially it makes sense. They provide the curriculum and support.  

Easier it has not been, however.  With the benefit of the curriculum, you also have to buy into their expectations as well. Their time frames and grading.  They expect the kids to complete at least eighty percent of the curriculum and there are other projects they are expected to turn in.  We have a teacher visit once a month and monthly work samples to turn in.

I don't think that is bad, but it adds an element of stress.  There was a writing assignment that I didn't even know about  because it was embedded into another website I hadn't checked thoroughly. It was past due and I had to ask for an extension when I found out about it.  We turned something in and the teacher knocked ten percent off for it being late.  

There is always a price; I suppose.

On the other hand, we have curriculum paid for and I have teacher to consult with.
They were flexible when one of the math programs was not a good fit and let us change to a different one.  I have some assurances that my kids are on track if they want to go back to public school.  I also like having an external accountability. It is comforting to me that the responsibility isn't all on my shoulders.

But easier it has not been.  We have yet to find that tranquil homeostasis that others appear to have.?? 

 It has not been utopic or blissful for us.  At times we have had blissful moments, but it has actually been hard.   I do like being with my kids more, but it is intense almost all the time.  Someone is usually having a bad day, or they are fighting or my youngest gets into the chocolate syrup and smears is all over the floor while I'm trying to do a lesson.

We are still in the "first year" and I've heard it can take a year to transition.  We added a second transition by trying out the charter system this September.

We are learning. Some things work some don't.

We are also entering into pre-adolescence.  My son is 11, my daughter is 9, almost 10.  My youngest is almost 4 now.

The hardest part is the whining.  I do not see homeschooling as an escape from life or "work".  I don't want them to see it as a way to "avoid" that.  I do not want my children to grow up thinking they are "entitled" but this culture of entitlement seems to permeate everything.  Media is a hard thing to balance as well.  Minecraft obsessions.  Do you take it away, let them self-moderate, or set boundaries around it?  We chose to set boundaries. One hour a day.

There are things we do that they enjoy and things we do they do not enjoy.  Math is a subject my son is particularly not fond of.  We still have to do it.

Yet, I am researching now how to make it less painful.  I think there may be some ways to make it more fun.

Math is not my strongest subject so it takes extra work for me to figure this out.

We have recently switched to Saxon and Life of Fred. So far it is MUCH better than Acellus for our son.  My daughter is dong Teaching Textbooks and it is pretty easy for her.  I am thinking a balance of standard math and fun math to be the way to go for us.

Me, personally, I may not have been blogging, but I have been writing: A LOT.  I am writing a novel and that seems to be more my path than blogging right now.

I am here right now though, and my focus for this blog must shift, yet again.  Homesteading has been much less a focus since my third child.  It has not been sustainable for us to put so much into gardening and canning, etc.  I miss it, though, but all i have time for is homeschooling, writing, and some knitting for relaxation.

You can do only so much.

At least I can't do it all...

I am sure it will shift yet again.  One thing you can know for sure when you have kids is that your life will not be the same, you will not be the same, your approach to parenting will not be the same from year to year.  We are in yet another stage of parenting as we enter adolescence (and still have a preschool age child).

Homeschooling is also a whole can of worms in and of itself.

At some point, hopefully soon, I will share what we've learned so far on this subject now that we've had nearly a year of it.

I am still feeling new at it, though.  Making mistakes. Still navigating our different options/choices (there are SO MANY-unschooling, classic, Charlotte Mason, School at home, hundreds of curriculum choices etc.)  My kids also have their own unique challenges that may be different from other people's (or not).

I will plan, though, to share what we've learned so far.  (if I have any readers left)


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