Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our first 100(ish) Days of Homeschooling

Never, ever, in a million years, did I think that I'd be homeschooling my child... but here I am, nearly 100 days into this adventure. Valentino attended public school for kindergarten, but we knew before the school year ended that homeschool was in our future. Why?

1. We wanted more control and say over what he's learning. We are able to choose the curriculum that best fits his abilities. We can move at his pace and spend as much (or as little) time as he needs on any given subject. We are able to avoid Common Core and other curriculum (and bias) that doesn't mesh with our beliefs.

2. Running the proverbial rat race with a child in tow wasn't working for us. These are years we will never get back. Since I'm able to work from home now, I get to spend every day with my son and be directly involved in his learning and growth, instead of spending a few hours each night with him (when we're both tired and cranky). It so nice to not have to be bound by work schedules, childcare availability, and school vacation/work/snow days. It is one less stress for us to have in our lives.

3. It's what's right for our family. I wanted to homeschool him as soon as he became "school-aged," but we couldn't make it work, so we agreed that we'd give public school a chance. Our eyes opened even wider that school year, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I should be homeschooling him. I really felt called to do this.

First Day of First Grade - September 2, 2014

So, how's it going?
~100 days in, I can honestly say I'm starting to feel that it's going well. We had a lot, A LOT, of rough days in the beginning. I had a hard time keeping a cool head. He had a hard time getting back into "school mode" after being off so long for summer and after every weekend (I dreaded Mondays!). We had personality clashes. There was screaming, crying, and me thinking that at any minute he was going to say "I don't want to be home with you anymore!" I started to doubt that we had made the right decision. But we persevered and now I feel confident in my abilities. Valentino regularly tells me how much he loves being homeschooled and having me as a teacher. I know he is absorbing what I'm teaching him, and we are learning how to co-exist as teacher and student. I've read that most homeschools start out rocky, so I know what we've been through is normal and I anticipated that this transition wouldn't be easy.

Until recently, we hadn't been involved in any co-ops, and we'd only attended 1 "meeting" (really, a scheduled meet n'play activity) with a homeschool group. I needed to get my footing and bearings with teaching, and with figuring out how to fit in working full time, teaching first grade, and keeping the house functioning. My goal was to get more involved after the first of the year, and we've been getting more active outside of the house lately. We have started attending a program 1 evening/week at our community library, and we attend a homeschool activities group on Tuesdays. This week we will also start 4-H (Junior Master Gardeners), which I'm thrilled about! I had to finally buy a planner to start keeping track of what we're doing when.

We have a few field trips coming up, which we're both looking forward to: visiting Winterpast Farms in Wake Forest and a behind-the-scenes tour of Lowe's Foods! I think one of my favorite parts of teaching my child is that not only am I learning all sorts of information I didn't know about (I don't recall ever studying Ancient Egypt!), but we also get to do a lot of fun activities together.

Working from home full-time is great and is the only way we've been able to facilitate homeschooling Valentino, and I am so very grateful to my company for working with me to make this happen. It's been working out beautifully, although I still feel incredibly strapped for time. I've been taking to reading self-improvement books lately - mostly on real estate, parenting, and personal finance - and I'm definitely going to find a good time management book to get me on a more efficient track :)

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