Reflecting on our time spent homeschooling…
I can’t tell you how many times in the past six months I’ve looked over at my husband and whispered, “I’m so glad we’re doing this.” Deciding to homeschool was scary, but it’s the best decision we could have made. Now it’s the end of the year, and I’m taking some time to look back at where we’ve been and ahead at all of the exciting things to come.
The one-on-one time I’ve gotten to spend with my oldest has been truly priceless. Thinking back, my favorite moments have been just sitting together reading or going somewhere – just the two of us. Just the amount of time we have is special.
But the way I’ve started to look at time, plans, and fitting it all in has changed.
It has been a big transition. A mind shift from being a public school teacher where there’s always a test. A schedule. A deadline. An end date. Now our time feels more expansive. I’ve let go of some of the (self imposed) pressure to finish. There’s always tomorrow, it seems. Even when tomorrow turns into next week.
The funny thing is the more we slow down the more quickly he learns. There have been many times I’ve set something aside – a workbook, a book, our plans, a week of plans – and we’ve gone in a totally different direction. Only to return later and realize that he was learning what he needed the whole time.
The best example of this was in his reading instruction. There we were, chugging along with our level 2 readers, completing our Explode the Code workbook daily. Doing all kinds of reading and language activities.
When suddenly all instruction came to a screeching halt.
We were reading a Magic Treehouse book together when he decided that he wanted to read it himself. Well, he couldn’t read himself yet. His eyes weren’t getting all the way across the page. The vocabulary was too hard. It was just too much!
Slow down, honey. You’ll be able to read them eventually. Let’s look at this nice book instead!
No? How about this one? No?
This one? No?
We can practice our phonics and that will help get you closer to reading. No?
How about I read to you? Okay, bud time to stop screaming at mom now.
I knew I couldn’t force him. There’s no turning this kid around when he digs in. (Oh honey, I’m so glad we’re doing this. He wouldn’t be able to pull this with a teacher.) So we took a break.
It was a long break, which I convinced myself was okay because, after all, we have the time. Instruction stopped. Going to classes stopped. We even stopped going to the playground so much because the only thing he would do without complaint was listen or read Magic Tree House books.
I was nervous. He was listening to all different books on tape at once. He wanted me to read him the end of the story first because he was so impatient to find out what happened. A week went by, and he still refused to do anything else. But he couldn’t read! Until he could.
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I don’t know how it happened. He had read a few paragraphs here and there. Then, one day he was just like, “Mom, I’m going to read Dinosaurs before Dark now.”
And he did.
He just sat down and read it. He made it through the first six chapters before he was too tired to go on. First thing in the morning he finished the rest. He’s so stubborn. I think he just wanted to prove he could do it. (Honey, I’m so glad we are doing this. He would have never been able to do this on his own if he were in school right now.)
We’ve both learned a lot, here, at the beginning of kindergarten. I’d venture to say he did most of the teaching. He taught himself to read chapter books with a backpack of paperbacks and pure determination. He taught me to trust him. Not just with reading. This is basically his preferred style of learning.
I’m so glad we are doing this.
Last week I asked him a few questions about how he felt kindergarten was going. I sat him down, looked him in the eye, and told him that I had some serious questions to ask. Eyerolling ensued.
What do you want to do more of? Everything. What do you want to do less of? Nothing.
Do you like it when we learn together at home? Yes, let’s do more of that. Do you like taking classes with other kids? Yes, let’s do more of that.
Do you like meeting with the co-op group? Yes, let’s do more of that. What do you like better – when I read to you or when you read to me? Both, let’s do more of that! …and on it went.
In his own true style, he just wants MORE. More activities. More math. More reading. More science. More geography. More art. More field trips. The kid has an insatiable urge to learn.
At times it’s hard to keep up with – like on Sunday morning when he’s insisting that it’s Paperwork Day and practicing his scissor skills on his own hair…
But these are the good kinds of problems. The alternative would be sitting in his principal’s office. I’ve been called to the principal’s office as an adult. Not a place I want to return to.
I may have mentioned that I’m so glad we’re doing this.
Homeschooling kindergarten was not a big adjustment. I was already home with all the kids, and we have all been learning together for years. It feels like the natural progression for our family even though it’s not generally perceived that way.
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
If you’ve come across this blog because you’re thinking about homeschooling, please reach out. The decision to homeschool can be daunting. It’s different. You may not know anyone who does it. It’s difficult to go against the mainstream, but there is community out there if you look for it.