Our Reason for Homeschooling:
We started homeschooling for the 2016-2017 school year. Before that, my two oldest were in public school. I had no issues with the public school system and my kids, for the most part, were happy attending.
My reason for homeschooling actually came when my husband decided to follow his dreams of becoming a pilot. He made his decision at the beginning of 2016 and after we discussed it further, it was probable that we would be moving at least twice within the following year. So, instead of pulling my kids out of school, only to put them back in, possibly more than once, we decided that homeschooling was a great option.
A Little Back Story:
I had always loved the idea of homeschooling my children, I had been homeschooled, but up until then I hadn’t really thought it would work out for multiple reasons. The first and foremost being that I wasn’t sure I had the patience. Not to mention, I was working and was also taking care of their sister. I had this fear that I would never be able to deal with all of that. Well, after we discussed it, and ultimately decided I would be homeschooling, things ended up working out. I ended up quitting my stupid stressful job over the summer when I had intended on staying through November. As far as patience goes, turns out I have a lot more than I thought. (Not gonna lie, some days are WAY worse than others.)
How We Told the Kids:
I announced to my boys that they would be homeschooled shortly after we had decided on doing it. It was met with much more enthusiasm than I thought there would be. They were more than happy that they would get to stay home with mom and sis.
And So I Begin…
I planned my little heart out. As it turns out, it was mostly overkill. A first year mistake, that I didn’t repeat. I had huge plans and I was going to teach them SO.STINKING.MUCH! I printed, bought, and typed. I made planners for all of us. I outlined every aspect of every textbook, workbook, and printed page. I had the basics, but sooooo much more. I spent hours, and I mean HOURS, outlining that school year. Ha! I laugh at myself now, but that’s how I am. If I am going to do something I go in all in.
Our first day of homeschooling was met with some resistance when my youngest boy ended up sitting at the table for much of the day. Instead of listening and learning the answers to the questions I had given him, he thought I was going to just give him all of the answers, and when I refused he sat there and sulked, tapping his pencil against the table. Around dinner time, with only two of the many activities I had planned for that day done, I told him to put his stuff away.
I was heartbroken, but I remember thinking to myself that night, “It’s just the first day, they aren’t used to it.” and I adjusted my planner to make up for what he hadn’t gotten accomplished. It was going to be hard and we would have to span it over the rest of the week, but tomorrow was going to be better….OR so I thought.
The whole week ended up going that way, hours of him sitting and staring at one page while I endlessly repeated the lesson, hoping he would catch on. I rearranged my planner multiple times, trying to make up for the things he wasn’t getting accomplished.
Finally, after a month or so of trying with him, I figured out the best way around this obstacle was to focus on the strengths he had. I took the areas that he was actually able to accomplish without much help and pushed him to get that done first. That way if he was still sitting at the table at the end of the day staring at that one lesson, that he was ever so aggravatingly waiting for me to give him all the answers to, at least he would have most of his stuff done and I could quit rearranging everything I had planned.
This strategy ended up working the best it could, but ultimately I realized that we were trying to do way to much. The amount of stuff I had planned for was so backed up from the previous month that even if I had continued to restructure my plans it would take a couple months to get completely caught up. This was even more evident when my oldest child started to complain about the amount of work we had on any given day.
My oldest had exceeded my expectations up until this point. He was on the ball with everything I laid in front him and would do everything with accuracy. He loved getting good grades and loved the praise he got for doing so.
Out of no where, he started to get lazy about his schoolwork. His answers started to not make sense, his handwriting started to decline, he was missing work, among other things. I understood why after the complaints started, but this has continued into this school year, and I have yet to find a real strong remedy to the issue. I think what happened though, is that he got burnt out.
All in All:
Ultimately, I ended up revising my plans yet again to include the core subjects and just a few extras. My younger son still struggled with certain lessons and most of the time still expected me to give him all the answers, but it wasn’t nearly as stressful on me, because I wasn’t worried about all the stuff we weren’t getting done. I was more focused on trying to help him understand how to learn.
I honestly don’t know why he suddenly decided to cooperate, but around mid year he finally started to pick up on the lessons I was teaching. He started to ask questions regarding the lessons, instead of asking what the answers were.
I realized that in the beginning we had tried to do WAY too much. I expected too much out of my kids and too much out of myself. I thought I would be able to sit down with them and they would just want to learn and that they would continue to want to learn. I thought we would be able to fit in all subjects on a daily basis and that we could do all sorts of extra activities… music, art, cooking, etc.
We needed to find our way to work together first. I needed to figure out how my kids learned instead of forcing on them how I thought they should do it. Our first year of school was a struggle to find what worked for us. Honestly, especially with my oldest, we are still trying to figure out how to do things the best way for all of us.
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