Homeschool recap 2018-2019.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

We've officially finished our first full year of homeschooling, Liam's kindergarten year! I wanted to share a few things I learned, mostly to record it for myself, but also in case someone reading may be interested in exploring homeschool and this could be an encouragement. I was

Here's what we chose for our Kindergarten curriculum: Our Homeschool Adventure
And to see how it was going a few months in: Homeschool/Sonlight So Far
Here's what we did for preschool: Homeschool Preschool

It would take pages to fully capture all that we've learned and how we've grown this year. But here's a start.

+ I learned that homeschool doesn't have to look like school at home. In fact, it shouldn't. I'd heard this premise before, but really had to live it to understand it fully. Initially, my pre-conceived ideas of school (having never been homeschooled myself) bled into the way I planned our homeschool days. For example, as much as I loved setting up our classroom space downstairs, we hardly even used it. It turned out there were better places inside and outside our home to accomplish our homeschool goals, though I did appreciate having an organized space to house our books and supplies. We listened to audiobooks in the car, spent mornings at the museum, enjoyed countless hours on our deck and exploring in the backyard or at the nature preserve. With active bodies and active minds, we rarely sat at desks or even at the table. One of the reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place was so that Liam wouldn't have to sit at a desk for hours a day, so replicating that at home made no sense.

+ I learned that you don't have to check every box. As a (recovering) perfectionist, this was a hard pill to swallow. I was so afraid I'd mess things up that I followed Sonlight's lesson plans to a tee, even when a couple of the assigned books were losing my children's interest. We plowed through them anyway, but looking back, I wish I could have replaced those choices with something that fit the kids' interests more. Using our Sonlight Instructors' Guides as a map rather than a task master was a lesson I learned the hard way. Some days, I needed to remind myself, "This is kindergarten" to ease up a bit on what I felt were requirements. Liam was reading well, doing math, and learning so many life lessons being at home with us each day. If the boxes weren't all checked, it was going to be ok.

+ I learned that you have the freedom to make it your own (and you should!). Next year, we are moving in a different direction, which I will detail in another post. I've learned through the year that our family leans toward more of a Charlotte Mason-style education. So this coming year, I'm excited to incorporate more hymn study, Scripture memory, habit training, and afternoon tea time with poetry. I learned that there's truly no one-size-fits-all homeschool curriculum, and your curriculum choices should reflect the interests of your family. While I believe using an "open and go" boxed curriculum for our first year was a good choice to help us ease into homeschooling, I'm now excited to make next year fit our family's style even more.

+ I learned that homeschool is simply an extension of home life. We are not only learning math, we are learning good habits. We are learning kindness toward one another, how to make our beds, how to cook grilled cheese. We're always learning, always growing, even if we aren't checking boxes on our curriculum guides. Sometimes it's hard to change the mindset that all things should be quantifiable. But I see such growth in all areas and in every person from last year to this year, even though we don't have report cards or test scores to prove it.

+ Finally, I learned that self care = family care. I think the term "self care" gets a bad wrap in the Christian community. But truly, creating a positive home atmosphere begins with me, the mom. So if I am not taking the time to care for my soul by reading my Bible and communing with the Lord... if I'm not caring for my body by exercising and eating well... it all bleeds into my family life quicker than I'd like to admit. So any investment in caring for myself is a direct investment into the lives of those in my home.

Overall, I feel so much gratitude for this year together. I had no idea I'd enjoy it as much as I did, and we all can't wait for next year!

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