According to my planner, we’ve had 3 solid weeks of homeschooling. We eased into it the week before, as I obsessively researched what we would use for our learning materials, after withdrawing from k12 – one thing I know for certain, that decision was for the best. No doubt. Our decision to homeschool this year, or any year we’ve done it, was not the typical reason folks choose to school their kids at home. It was more out of necessity than anything. There’s nothing glamorous about our homeschooling ventures, nothing at all. It’s raw and it’s real, just like my blog posts on it will be. We are dealing with a lot of big emotions that often got in the way of learning (and just plain living) at a brick and mortar school.
Every single day, we run into those big emotions. They are so exhausting for all of us in every single way. There are so many moments throughout these last three weeks, where I’ve felt like this isn’t working. So many moments where I have to grab ahold of whatever mental strength I have left and push through. So many moments where I wonder if this is going to work. It clicked for me today, as I made plans in my planner for next week. I have been adjusting our schedule as I go, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. As I flipped back through previous weeks to plan for the next, I saw progress and I saw learning that had already taken place.
The learning is happening already. We are making progress. In the midst of the rough waters, we find calm, still waters – and that’s where we do the work. He now has room to feel all of those big emotions he’s dealing with. He has a safe place to feel those emotions without stares from classmates or strangers. He is able to recover more quickly and then we are able to get back to work, rather than letting one bad part of the day ruin the rest of the day entirely. He always comes back to me and says he’s ready to finish or get started if we hadn’t started yet. He’s showing me how resilient he is – on days where I don’t feel so resilient, he picks ME up and we get back to it. He doesn’t know it, but there are days where if he hadn’t come to me with a willing heart and mind, we would have been done for the day.
In case you don’t know, my homeschooler has a 4.5 year old little brother. I wanted to throw this little tidbit in here today because trying to work with both of them is proving to be impossible for me at this time. He wants to be with us, but my boys only have to look at each other for a fight to start, so it’s difficult to say the least. I know my preschooler doesn’t need a lot right now school-wise, but I want to keep him busy too. I don’t know a solution for this yet, but hopefully there’ll be a future post on this with some good news. Right now, he’s our in-your-face distraction from the peaceful learning my 10 year old desperately wants. Of course, he’s a heck of a lot more than that, we just need to find something that works for the three of us as far as learning goes!
Instead of sharing with you a grand schedule for the entire year, I want to share something I love that is working for us each time I write a post (or most times at least). Today, I wanted to share something that I am so relieved I found for math. I stumbled upon Teaching Textbooks early on as I began researching materials to use this year. It’s not my first rodeo and I knew from experience, I didn’t want to just spend hundreds on a big kit again. I knew I needed to carefully piece our year together with materials that would work for us, instead of against us. Homeschooling is not one-size-fits-all, especially in our case. Anyway, after a friend also mentioned Teaching Textbooks and we chatted a bit, I decided to give the free trial a run. They now offer a subscription service so you can pay less and avoid keeping track of the CDs. Basically, you do the lessons on the computer and it keeps track of grades for you. Each lesson has a lecture, practice and the graded problems. We just finished our first quiz yesterday and today Lesson 8 involved getting out some pen and paper to accompany the screen learning, which I was happy to see.
This program works perfectly for us because:
1. he doesn’t have a worksheet full of problems staring him in the face (this overwhelms him and he often quits before he even begins
2. instead, the questions are presented one at a time and he whizzes through them
3. so far, it is hands-off for me, which I love because frankly, I am not good at teaching math
4. it gives me a visual of our progress, which is something I need for peace of mind.
I typed and deleted a lot of first posts over the last few days, unsure of what to share, or if I even should share any of this. Ultimately, I want to share because I want to have a space to share our ups and downs. It helps me process what we’re doing and how it’s working and any bit of help I can get, I’ll take it. It’s not just for me, though, I want to let people know that homeschooling doesn’t have to look any sort of way. It just has to look like something that you and your child/ren can manage. It just has to be filled with learning of all kinds, and if you’re like us, healing too. It only has to be what you need it to be. No matter what, it’ll be full of both rough and still waters – as long as you come back to each other with your calm, you’ll be just fine.