Coming to the decision to homeschool wasn’t a necessarily easy one. Some background of the subject may explain my trepidation. Last school year when Hailey was in a nice little private school, having just entered the first grade, we quickly realized that she was really having a lot of difficulty in school. We always knew that she needed more time to grasp new concepts, but didn’t realize how much it would affect her grades until she reached first grade and her grades quickly began to plummet. Once I saw this, as a mother I wanted to give her exactly what she needed and did best in, which was all-the-time one on one learning. While her school was very small and was able to give her more attention than a public school teacher would have, it still wasn’t enough. So after about a month into her first grade year, I pulled her out to homeschool her. It was a very quick decision and I feel that looking back on it now, I was approaching the whole thing in the wrong way (at least for us). I ordered tons of books, had extremely high hopes that Hailey would excel and blow my mind, and even added in subjects that I thought she would love. Well, I completely burned out within a month of starting. I began to feel extremely overwhelmed, started yelling at Hailey on a daily basis, giving up early into the day, and many other things that I was not and am still not proud of. I really wanted this homeschooling thing to work out and it wasn’t. Instead of trying to take on a whole new approach and trying to relax a little bit, I gave up. I was trying to create a school at home, I put so much pressure on myself and in turn onto Hailey. She was and still is suffering from a learning disability that we still don’t understand. But with all of this experience under my belt, I do know that Hailey needs time and then some more time. I am list maker and a major planner; type A if you will. If it’s on the list and is not completed when I want it completed, I totally melt down.
So we put her back in school after winter break was over. I found a great Charter school to put her in and while I felt super guilty and defeated, I thought that it would be helpful for her learning disabilities. Well, a year and a half later we are still on the waiting list for her to be tested, and Hailey and Lilly both come home on a daily basis telling us of their bullying stories. Every day girls from their class are calling them names and giving them complexes that a 7 and 6 year old should never ever have. With classroom sizes of 26 kids for 1 teacher, Hailey was never going to get that one on one time, and she will never get the help that she needs. We initially thought this Charter school was really great, but in the end, it is just like any other public school. So many children being left behind and not helped, and to be honest, I am tired of people looking at my child as if there is something “wrong” with her. So with another year of school under our belts and Hailey being held back in the first grade, I am set out to homeschool both of the girls this coming up school year. Thankfully Lilly is a quick learner and a very eager one at that. She is always thirsty for more and willing to sit and listen. Hailey is still her typical self that would rather play with her toys than learn anything knew, and still needs lots of time and patience. I am very nervous about this aspect of homeschooling because I am notorious for having very little patience.
How I will try to prevent “burn out”
So how am I going to prevent burnout and screaming fits every day? I am not going to have any expectations. I am going to have many different resources at their disposal so that they can pick and choose what they want to do. I will not purchase any curriculum or philosophy. I plan on purchasing a math workbook, but that’s it. I want to try and accomplish an unschooled/relaxed homeschool household. Reading books to them for fun, not expecting book reports or paragraph synopsis’s, no tests or homework (halleluiah to that!) and using real like experiences to teach them. I know it sounds like a magical fairy tale and I may be setting myself up for failure when I realize that they hate everything that I think that they love, but in keeping with the go-with-the-flow attitude, I hope that when that does happen, it will not upset me or overwhelm me. Luis plans on taking the girls with him along his work adventures and using that as learning experiences. Field trips to educational places are also on the agenda.
Some books we will plan on using..hopefully
So with the plan set, I have also bought some materials that I wanted to share with you guys. While I won’t require the girls to write any book reports after they finish reading a book, I did buy them little journals so that they can record all the books they have read. It’s very simple; title, author, how many stars they give the book, and a small sentence about their favorite part. Not only will this aid them in getting better at reading comprehension, it will also help with their spelling, sentence composition, and penmanship.
What I Read journal that they have started already
Where the Sidewalk Ends
I want to read them poems, and hopefully they would like to draw and talk about them!
I also bought the whole set of The Little House books. This may be something that I have high hopes for and in reality, they may be bored with the whole thing, but I will give it a try. The main thing I want to accomplish through this whole homeschooling experience is to teach my children about good morals and values, especially the morals that teach you how to cherish and respect yourself and your body. While we are not religious at all, I can see a huge shift (in the wrong direction) towards sexuality and how it is being taught and seen in schools and media. While I believe in being open and honest with my children, I also want to teach them that being respectful to one’s self before anyone else is the best thing. I want to create an environment for my children that will only help them gain self-confidence and self-respect so that hopefully they will not seek it from someone or something else. I believe that in public schools nowadays, our children are constantly exposed to things that I don’t agree with and are not acceptable in our home. So I guess that is another reason why we want to homeschool the girls.
I chose a simple art book that consists of little projects and drawings as to not overwhelm them
I also want to keep science, history, and geography very relaxed subjects by only relying on real life experiences to teach them. Of course there are simple science projects that we can do and I can make very enjoyable for the kids that I plan on doing; however (unlike last year) I will not purchase any curriculum for them. Last year I purchased the Story of the World book and history curriculum, and a full science curriculum. Hailey could never follow along with the Story of the World as she has too much trouble concentrating, and the science curriculum was so boring and lengthy. With spelling, I plan on using the internet as resources and maybe some sentence writing to help them practice. Art will be free and fun with some special techniques that they can easily grasp. With Hunter, I plan on including him in everything but throw in some Montessori-esque activities to hopefully keep him busy while we do some seat work. But overall I don’t plan on making them do much seat work. I know that with all this “planning” there will be a lot of changes that will be made as we go along. I plan on keeping you guys very informed as we go along with this journey.