Last month we passed the halfway mark in our first year of homeschooling. Wow. We will be finished with Kindergarten before we know it. This will be my reflection on the past 6 1/2 months- what has worked for us and what hasn't, what I've learned and areas in which I need to do better.
I'll begin with the good. Both Shaylie and Nevaeh have come so far this year. I'm utterly amazed when I see the progress they've made. They are both reading. They can both add and subtract numbers to 20. They've learned the values of coins. They're beginning to understand fractions. They can read bar graphs. They are learning to tell time. Their handwriting is greatly improving. They can spell and have been writing me "notes". Just last night Shaylie wrote me a note that said "Giv me pooh (her blanket) and I will go to bed". They've learned about the 5 food groups. They have learned about animals. They know all about the four seasons. They've learned about temperature and how to read a thermometer. They just finished a unit on North Carolina and can now tell you the state Capital, state bird, state flower, state insect, state tree, state motto, the name of the governor, highest point/lowest point of the state, the colors of the flag, and can name 4 neighbors of NC. Whew. They've been so busy! On bad days when I feel like they aren't learning anything, I need to come back and read this post. This isn't a comprehensive list, but it covers a good bit of what we've done.
I think throughout this whole experience I've learned as much as they have. I've learned that following a strict schedule each day isn't necessary. I've come to accept the fact that if attention spans are fading and tensions are rising that it's ok to stop for the day and pick up again tomorrow. Sometimes helping Mommy and Daddy around the house can be just as valuable as sitting at a desk doing traditional school work. Often times our best days are those where we start on schedule and eager little minds lead us down a completely different path. Those days when eyes and hearts are wide open are the days I know just why I've decided to homeschool. I can not imagine missing these moments. I've also learned that dishes, laundry, and housework can wait, and oh my do they wait. I've learned that a curriculum that works in the beginning of the year may not work as well in the middle of the year. I've learned that not all days are "good" days, but as long as the good ones outweigh the bad we will be fine.
With all that being said, I still have SO much to learn. I spend many hours reading blogs from other homeschool mothers. I love to see what works for them and I've gotten many great ideas from other mothers. However along with that comes comparison and that is an ugly beast. This is something I struggle with each day. Some homeschooling moms just seem to have it all together. They wake up before their kids, read their bibles, actually get a shower and get dressed, make a real breakfast and still manage to start school by 9:00am. Their houses are spotless. They've paid off all their debt. They are awesome cooks. They are SuperMoms...and I'm not. I try. I try really hard, but just can't seem to get there. But what I keep reminding myself is that at the end of the day, are their children any happier than mine? Does their husband love them more because all the laundry is folded? Does God love them more because they are up before sunrise? The answer I come up with is probably not. Maybe I'm doing ok...maybe what I really NEED to do is stop comparing myself to others. Hands down this has been the hardest struggle of homeschooling and it has absolutely nothing to do with my children. How sad is that?!
So what do I plan to change for the latter half of our year? No big curriculum changes, no real schedule changes, just have more fun. Plan more activities. Do more art projects. Smile more. Play more. Pray more. Because that is what matters.