It's been a while since I have chatted about our homeschool journey. We are starting to wind the school year down. We have about 6 1/2 weeks left. Give or take a day or two. I need to sit down and do the the final count to ensure that we have our 180 days completed. We tried not to take lots of breaks. We ended up taking time off around Christmas and then a day here and there as needed.
The flexible schedule is one of the things that I really enjoy. We hadn't planned to take time off for fall break. Megan was invited to join her cousins for the day at her grandparents. Which led to her spending the night there. She ended up missing two days of school. No problem! We added in a Saturday morning school day here and there when the weather turned cold.
There are tons of options for schooling. Parent led is the best option for us. I love that we are in control. Megan didn't want to do the chapter in science on bugs. She can't stand spiders and I was fine with skipping. The thought of a few weeks looking at and learning about bugs didn't appeal to me either. Yuck!
It has also allowed us to speed up or slow down as needed. I can see her weak spots and can adjust things to help her. I knew that her previous school didn't spend a ton of time on grammar. Their focus was more on writing. There are severe gaps in her grammar knowledge. I've been able to slow things down to make sure she understands the concept. She now loves to diagram sentences!
Since I'm always curious about what curriculum others use I will share what we use. A beka parent led. It is what her previous school used so our intent was to start with that and then make changes as needed. I have looked at other curriculum and we are sticking with A beka. It's familiar and I worry that if we moved to another program, a different teaching technique that it might be frustrating. This is working and there is no reason to cause unnecessary frustration. Megan has also expressed that she likes workbooks and not working on the computer. So, I need to take that into consideration.
My only hesitation about A beka is that is set up as a curriculum for a tradition Christian school. When reading the lesson plans I have to take that into consideration and take out the busy work. They plan the work to stretch for a 7 hour school day. Honestly, we are done in two to three hours most days. Some day we will hit that speed bump, usually math, and it seems like we'll never get done.
I do sometimes feel like the homeschool stuff is taking over! As most of you know we have a smaller home. That means we don't have a dedicated space for our homeschool things. I am able to hide the teaching manuals and extras such as flashcards in a cabinet.
There is a cart in the a corner of our living room with daily supplies and day to day lessons. I admit that there are times I wish could hide it. It's not meant to be so it's something I accept.
Besides the living room there is poster board in several places in the kitchen. I guess that is just part of small house home learning. *smile*
It's been fun to add in the extras, like the solar system project. There were plain white balls in the kit and the instructions said to paint them a certain solid color. Megan took the initiative to look up the planets and to paint them more realistic. Another one of the perks is that we don't have to conform so that a classroom of twenty children can stay on schedule. I know that doing this project in the classroom would have meant painting each planet a solid color per the instructions.
Like I said we are usually done in a few hours. This has led to a much more relaxed home. Chuck no longer has to come home to chaos where we rushed through dinner so we could do homework, shower and get ready for bed. It made for some unpleasant evenings.
Megan also has more time to be a kid. The afternoons are free for playing outside, drawing, and pursuing her interest.
I'm not going to paint a picture that everything is smooth sailing. There are days when there are bad attitudes (both hers and mine!). There are occasional tears and frustrations. I'll be honest and tell you that I don't know everything. *smile* I'm learning right beside her.
It's like everything there are pros and cons. In this case the pros certainly out-weigh the cons. We're growing, learning and this is working well for our family. So well, in fact, that we are already making plans for next year.
My advise for anyone that is considering homeschool is to pray a bunch and if you feel peace then go for it! I know it's not for everyone, but you'll never know unless you try. There is no shame is saying this isn't working and going another route.
If you do try, then do what is best for your family. There is always going to be someone to tell you about the best curriculum. If you're happy with what you have then you need to look no further. There is always going to be someone to tell you that you need a co-op or an art class or this or that. Only you can decide what extras you can afford financial and time wise. There is always going to be someone to tell you that homeschool isn't the right choice. You know your child, you know yourself and you need to be true to that. What works for one family might not work for another. So you do you and what works best for you, your child and your family. Most importantly take it all to the Lord. Only he can give you the knowledge, strength and peace you need to make all of your decisions.
May your day be filled with joy in the journey!