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Seeing as how it is August and prime time for many of us to make back to school preparations, there was a group of homeschooling bloggers who thought it might be nice to share something from our personal experience as homeschoolers. Hopefully, the posts will inspire or at least make you feel better about things.
Our family’s homeschool journey began during January of 2006 with the decision to pull P and R from our parish school. P was in third grade that year and it was a miserable experience for all. I discovered that he brought home pretty much ALL of his work to do as ‘homework.’ My initial contact with his teacher to discuss my concerns was not addressed well and I began chatting with everyone I knew that homeschooled. God had planted the seed already and the time had come to discern if I was really hearing His call to homeschool the boys.
One of my friends through La Leche League told me about Catholic Heritage Curricula and how easy it made things for her to homeschool two boys with two little ones at home, too. After looking at samples and investigating, I felt it to be the best way to dive into our homeschool adventure. That first year we followed the lesson plans with a substitution of Math U See for the recommended MCP and Saxon materials. We also joined a very small ‘co-op’ using Story of the World to learn ancient history.
The next year I felt a bit more confident and began to make a few tweaks here and there plus the occasional addition of lapbooking. We still used almost all CHC materials, though.
Then we moved to Maryland and I began my tenure on the TOS Homeschool Crew. Having new products coming my direction helped me branch my wings a bit more.
During the 2008-2009 school year, we joined an incredible homeschool co-op in Maryland that was comprised of several Catholic families and a few non-Catholic families. The school aged groups had an hour each for literature, history and science. I quickly tabled the CHC materials for those classes as I felt it would be too much work for the boys and for me. Looking back, that was one of our favorite years for homeschooling. The boys enjoyed their ‘classroom’ like experience with discussions and cooperative learning times as well as staging a production of Hamlet that would rival many amateur productions. I loved the mom time as well as knowing I only had to prepare for the elementary literature class I was teaching.
The next year found us in flux again. We were expecting J and soon discovered we would be packing up and moving across the country around the holidays. We had a rather packed 10 weeks before J’s arrival, but then quickly found it hard to get back to ‘business.’ That year had several months where the boys did some work online (e.g. Mathletics, ALEKS, etc.), read to their hearts content, and watched educational videos. The first two months in Alaska had us in temporary quarters that were a bit snug. Joining one of the homeschool charter school options, we also began to shift more away from CHC materials.
As much as I wanted to get back to a more ideal school year, last year still had its challenges. J has not been as easy of a child to school around with his refusal to nap on a consistent basis, almost as if he’s fearful of missing the action. And, we had a 3 week journey to Louisiana that fall where we did field trips and some online learning.
I’d love to say this year will be THE year it all comes together. But, as I type I am still planning out P’s classes for 9th grade. I did just purchase materials for Alaska history today and hope to spend time this week getting that mapped out. And, math books are ordered with us awaiting their arrival. But, with guests coming in and out this month, I doubt we’ll truly start our school year until September. Good thing we’ve been doing math throughout the summer so that won’t be far behind schedule.
So, there you have it.. a quick look at our homeschool journey so far.
I can say that one thing I have learned in the last 5 years is that being flexible is essential to maintaining some sanity. If life throws a curve ball, find a different way to facilitate learning in your child. And, if that ‘must have’ curriculum just isn’t working, setting is aside to find something else is okay. (Ditto on not finishing a book!)
Feel like being inspired some more?
Here’s the list of homeschool bloggers posting about this today:
Lisa @ The Army Chap’s Wife
Megan @ Half Pint House
Maureen @ Spell Out Loud
Reesa @ Suburban Tree Hugger
Laura @ Day by Day In Our World
Tiffany @ Sweet Phenomena
Jasmine @ Ponder The Path
Lee @ Homeschool Canada
Jimmie @ Jimmie’s Collage
Honey @ Sunflower Schoolhouse
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