Homeschooling! It's been a whirlwind of emotions, but today was one of those homeschool days that I had envisioned for our family months ago. Slow starting, full in the middle, and ending sweetly with neighbor fun outside. So thankful for this adventure and the blessing to be able to school my babes this year.
So why did we opt for homeschooling vs. traditional schooling? I just felt like James wasn't ready for public school. We never did preschool other than last fall/this past spring at the community college. It was once a week (yay for minimum commitment but still AWESOME and FUN!) and it was a free class offered by the state!
Also, J is a high energy kiddo, and my fears of him being in a public school where he would be misunderstood, or worse-LABELED, made me hesitate and question whether or not he would THRIVE or DIVE. His hard days are hard, and his good days surpass and outnumber the hard days, but I knew it would be a battle for him. So I chose to homeschool and give him the year to recognize his high energy emotions and how the choices he makes can and do affect his peers, situations, and himself.
Now before schooling (public OR homeschooling) was even a thought, I worked with James and Henry on basics like ABC's, writing their names, weekly trips to the public library, reading a TON of books, basically playing and listening to what the boys wanted to learn about and do every week. This was how we pre-schooled together the last few years before Kindergarten because I always wanted the boys to feel empowered and ready for school when that day came! But then this school year crept up...and I was STILL mulling over whether or not I should homeschool!
Honestly, that first week of public school, seeing all of the "First Day of School!" photos was torture because I wasn't sure I was making the best decision for James and our family. I reached out to other mamas I knew that homeschooled, and I flat out told them, "Help. Can I REALLY do this?!" The amount of advice, encouragement, love, prayers, and even the TIME that other mamas gave me was what I needed to step into this adventure!
Now, mid-September, I feel like we are finding our bearings, and James is doing GREAT! Obviously Lillian isn't here yet so I've had a month to focus on schooling without the needs of a newborn, but I really am encouraged by the passion and love for learning that James has shown the last few weeks! He's taught me so much, and I have had to step back and give this boy major credit for being such a great student and son!
People often ask, "What about Henry?" HE'S RIGHT THERE TOO. Getting to see/hear/do most of what J does, which is pretty great because Hen isn't the type of kiddo to let himself get left behind. He's determined to do whatever his bro does, and oftentimes he blows me away by his thought process and wisdom!
Is it hard? YES. Lesson planning, questioning whether or not they're "getting" it, time and commitment to teach M-F, re-aligning their minds and hearts on the "hard days", and of course having PATIENCE...ohhh, the patience. We do go through a public charter school, iLead, and I am so thankful for the guidance and structure, because this mama DEFINITELY needs it! I have so much LOVE for all the teachers out there, and for all of the homeschooling families that have MULTIPLE grades/learners! You are the real M.V.P's!
Here's what an average school day looks like for us:
Bible + breakfast. Make beds/get dressed. Phonics or Math. BREAK: Outside time or Free Play! Snack! Math or Phonics. Art, Social Studies or Science. Lunch/Break: Outside time or Free Play! Art, Social Studies or Science. Finish with Handwriting or Reading! We usually finish anywhere between 11am-1pm. I go at James' pace. Sometimes he's ready to start at 8am, sometimes he's just NOT feeling school work until after he's gone out to play FIRST before we school. This is all about supporting him, so I have to remind myself some days WON'T go smoothly, and that is totally fine :) .
And to all of those mamas and friends that poured into me and pretty much held me afloat while I felt too insecure and weak to even process doing this, THANK YOU! Emily, Pamela, Ana (James' E.F), Madelyn, Brittany, Rachael, Andrea (there are TWO of you!), Jenn, Sarah, Jill, Kim, Kat, Jessica, Holly (oregonmama), and ALL of the mamas I met at the Charlotte Mason homeschool meeting in June! If I missed anyone, you KNOW this 40 weeks + 1 day pregnant lady is sorry! Thankful for each and every one of you.
And of course, so many thank-you's to my darling, honest husband who is my rock and number one go-to with all my anxieties (other than JESUS of course)...thank you for your love and hard work so that I can continue to pour into our children's lives through schooling. Love you more than words Mitchell.