I'm not who I was.
The first 3 weeks of home-schooling are in the books. We’ve had back-to-school parties, begun co-op, and gotten pretty used to the routine of things. Cheeks is still attending preschool outside of the home 2 days a week and loving it so far.
I have been pleasantly surprised that, as of this point, home-schooling 4th grade has proven to be much less difficult than anticipated.
My favorite thing:
-No homework! Ok technically, it’s ALL homework. But it’s usually completed before the traditional school day is done, and then there isn’t more to follow. We have so much more margin in our day!
My least favorite thing:
-The drama that ensues if something takes more effort than the expectations that J set for herself. Of course, this isn’t isolated to school based activity… we won’t say where she gets that from. *ahem*
(You might think that my least favorite thing would be planning, but my type-A totally enjoys the planning. Go ahead, stamp NERD on my forehead.)
J’s favorite things as expressed by her:
-“That I’m with my family. That’s my favorite thing.”
-“What I like to do most is reading, morning work, and co-op.” (At co-op she takes history, beginning piano, and science experiments).
J’s least favorite thing:
J’s foundation from public school routine has been helpful. She understands that work is expected and she doesn’t argue it. Really, her work ethic is amazing. We have this rule that in the morning before she does anything else (not including eating breakfast), she at least has to get her morning work done while she waits on me to get to a point where we can begin school. To be honest, she usually completes her morning work before breakfast. Not only that, but she will often complete as much as she possibly can on her own, as soon as possible, without disturbing me. Even if it is something new that I haven’t taught her yet, she will often read the instructional explanation and figure it out for herself. But if not, she will table it until I can help. I almost feel guilty about how little I have to thoroughly explain things.
Take today for example: I found J reading in her room. I asked if she had done her morning work yet. J had finished her Morning Work (language review, math review & cursive), Reading, Language, Bible, and Social Studies… all before 8:30 am. All she had left to do were Math and Spelling… because the laptop on which she does her math was in my room and because I must administer the spelling test. She is incredibly self-sufficient. Which brings me to the next thing…
..the whole worrying about how we’ll home school when my neuro issues are making me feel awful thing. As it turns out, it’s easier. I only have to make myself presentable and get in the car to be somewhere by a somewhat early hour 2 days a week (for co-op and pre-school). This has been easier on the Rev as well as he doesn’t have to juggle driving kids to school with work and Crossfit as often. J does such a great job of taking care of what she can while I’m down, and what she can’t I have the luxury of teaching from my bed if necessary.
-Cheeks has been generally cooperative even though J can’t just play with him the whole time that she’s home. This was my primary concern upon delving into the realm of home-schooling normalcy. I suppose just having J nearby is better in his mind than her being gone all day. In fact, he has become much more outgoing in general now that his security blanket (a.k.a.- big sister) has been around more often. If we are doing any reading together, he will join us… or at least crawl on top of the couch around us… so as not to be left out. And while J is doing her math on the laptop, he gets to get on the desktop and play PBS Kids or Starfall. I don’t really feel a need to do intentional preschool with him at home at this point as I think the preschool that he attends does a great job at covering the essentials, however I do have some back-ups on the shelf in case he should show interest. (And I may break out the Teach Your Child to Read book consistently at some point this year, whether he asks for it or not. He occasionally requests to do it, but not often enough for it to make real progress. This is yet to be determined.)
That’s not to say that there haven’t been any challenges. The sorrows and sulks of perfectionism still rear up on the occasion that something is misunderstood. And it definitely takes extra time out of my week to plan (even though I enjoy planning, I also enjoy my time). But that’s about the extent of the drudgery thus far. Even the whole “my kids might get on my nerves if I’m around them so much” hasn’t been a regular issue. As it turns out, when there’s more time to play and less time to rush (but there is still some structured activity for periods of time), the pestering cries of the hyperactive monsters can’t be heard nearly as often.
I’m actually delighting in my kids more… which was a big factor in our desire to home school: to not just get by but to do life well together. The year’s still young, but I’m hopeful that it will be a good one.