Saturday, February 22, 2014

Six months into our homeschooling journey

We've only been homeschooling for six months?  Really?  It seems like we've been doing this a lot longer.

I've been asked often how things are going for us.  I'm never quite sure how to answer this.  Do they really want to know about our struggles, are they hoping we'll answer something like "not going so well" so they can convince me I need to send the kids back to "real school"?

My answer is simply "things are going well" unless I'm talking to another homeschool mom and then I just feel the need to confess all of my worries and concerns.  Notice I said "my worries".

Truth is, things are going better than I would have guessed.  My family seems to have adapted to this new chapter in our lives a lot better than I.  They have learned to do lessons in the car, to use Netflix documentaries to supplement curriculum; to research topics they like on their own, and to adjust learning times during full moons (when my boys seem to turn into banshees).

Me, on the other hand, I'm plagued with doubt every single week.  Are they learning enough? Did I pick the right curriculum? Are they being motivated to learn? Are they retaining what they are learning? Are we doing enough?  The list goes on and on.

It has been six months and I can now honestly say Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart.  Unless you believe you are truly doing what's best for your family, it's best not to attempt this journey.  Because you are going to have to remind yourself often that this is meant to be, and that no one, no school and no teacher, will ever love and understand your kids better than you.

In these six months, I've had to change some of the curriculum we had picked.  I had read all about other families changing theirs, I was even told by some homeschool veterans that it happens.  Naive as I was, I figured I would pick the right curriculum the first time and wouldn't have to change a thing.  Go ahead, laugh.

The fact is my kids just hate some of the curriculum I chose.  It is boring to them.  It doesn't excite them, or inspire them to learn more.  The twins asked me to please get them another science book because they were tired of coloring pages and boring books.  They wanted to do experiments and collect bugs, and all the other things that are not on this 2nd grade book.  

My husband has done a great job finding a way to do the lessons using what we have at hand.  I didn't run off and buy more stuff because, well, I'm not made of money, and I wasn't sure what to buy this time around.

Mind you, I did my research.  My husband will tell you how many countless hours I spent looking and researching and comparing before I chose this curriculum.  I didn't want a boxed set, so I pieced together what I thought would be best for my kids.  Turns out, I picked the curriculum with the correct content and the wrong delivery method.

Textbooks/worksheets/assignments/tests is how I was educated.  One of my earliest memories of school comes from reading all my 1st grade textbooks before the first day of school (back in the school I attended in Panama, parents had to purchase the books).  I couldn't wait for the day my parents went to buy the textbooks, so I could read them!  So I ended up getting that type of material for my kids.  Don't get me wrong, the curriculum is good, and very complete, but  it's not for my kids.  

So I'm starting over.  I bought a book 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.  I probably should have invested in this book before we started but it's never too late.  I finally figured out that my children learn very differently from me, so the curriculum I love and would thrive using would frustrate them beyond belief (lesson learned!).

Still, six months into this journey, I'm more confident in my decision to homeschool.  I've watched my kids truly enjoy learning.  We have stumbled, we have had moments when we wondered "what in the world have we done?",  we have gotten on each others' nerves and wished we could just send them back to school so we could get a break.  

But we have not regret it.  We have watched our kids be happy, learning at home.  We have become closer as a family.  No more sitting at the table, while someone cries because they are exhausted and do not want to do any more homework.  No more mom crying because the kids are crying and frustrated.

So we march on with the rest of this school year, doing the best we can with the materials we have; while I search and research for new materials for next year.  And those new ones do not work; I won't feel like I've failed the kids.  Because the beauty of homeschooling is we can make changes and adjust as we need to do.  And as principal of this school, what I say usually goes.

1 comment:

Lisa @ Our Country Road said...

I love your post!! It does actually sound like you are off to a great start. I love that you are seeing the benefits even with the challenges! I hope you are able to find some good curriculum for next year, or maybe just some free stuff from the web to help you with presentation of what your kids want to learn. I also love that you are from Panama!! My SIL is from Panama and it's one of the few countries I have been to. Beautiful country!