We recently completed the first half of our homeschool year, we’re due for portfolio evaluations soon and I’m stressing out probably more than I should be. It’s been a wonderful experience. I love homeschooling all in all. Some days it feels like an uphill battle, some days none of us want to do it but we know we have to so we do anyway. Most days are met with enthusiasm and “what are we learning about today mom?” though, which I’m greatful for.
Everyone’s looking forward to our upcoming holiday breaks, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.
Here are some things I’ve learned from our first half year of homeschooling:
- If you need a break, take one. The public schooled children get lots of days off for teacher development, snow days and federal holidays. It’s OK for you to take one off too.
- Make it a point to get your kids involved with other kids. My oldest is an introvert, he’d be happy building Legos in his room all day. My middle is a social butterfly though and he needs to be around kids that are not siblings. We usually do some kind of activity, from taekwondo to ballet to boyscouts, every afternoon so that we get out and see other people.
- Stay organized, have a routine, have a plan, but stay flexible. I plan out what we’re going to do every Sunday but sometimes that plan changes. Recently my oldest has been interested in DNA, cell division and cloning. We spent a week learning about that instead of our usual science.
- It’s realistic to expect that you children only spend a couple of hours a day on seatwork. Something that surprised me was how fast my kids got all their work done. For my Kindergartner he does maybe 45 minutes of seat work a day, for my 2nd grader he does 1 and a half to 2 hours. I later learned that the homeschool “rule of thumb” is 1 hour of seat work per grade level, so we were right on target. Remember that much of the day at public school is spent doing busy work, waiting for other people to finish their work, standing in line, traveling from class to class and on break and lunch period.
- Don’t be afraid to outsource just a bit. I hate teaching art and I feel underqualified to properly teach music so my kids take those two classes, along with drama (just for fun) at a co-op every Thursday.
- You don’t have to follow your curriculua verbatum. My kids move slower in science than the lesson plans suggested in their curriculum, that’s fine. My oldest moves more quickly through his reading and spelling, again fine. One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can tailor your lessons to fit the pace and style of your kids’ learning.
So far it’s been an adventure, bring on the next 90 days!