Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finished Our First Year

Yesterday, we finished our first year of homeschool.  There were days that were so difficult that I wondered what I was doing and if I was doing it right.   EVERYDAY, I failed as SuperMom.  I failed as SuperMom because I was NEVER meant to be that lady.  I don’t know a mom out there that was designed to be that lady.  I am called to be Mom to MY 2 precious children.  I am a human and cannot do it all.  I forget this all the time!  I am learning and having to remind myself that I need to do my best in those areas that are high on my priority list, yet realize and accept that some things are just going to be left aside, and I will catch up on those things when I am able.  So even though personally I feel like I could have done better, I need a great deal of help with organization!  This has always been a part of my life that I have struggled. 

When I look at my daughter, I see how she has flourished.  I see a girl who would not pick up a crayon, a pencil and doodle is now drawing.  A girl who hated to color because it was not just perfect is now coloring and is very creative in her colors.  A girl that could write the letter M for her name is now writing her long name everyday!  This last week she read her first Bob Book.  She knows and has been exposed to all her letters and the sounds and is now putting them together.  She knows her shapes and colors.  She can she cut with her scissors, and she pastes like no ones business.

This makes me feel so good that I helped my daughter learn.  I was there to help her along when she was frustrated and didn’t want to try.  I was there when things started to click, and she got it.  I was there when she was not done learning about certain subjects, and we were able to learn a little more on those things.  I have learned so many things personally, and learned that I either didn’t know or just plain forgot them.  I am so thankful that I have this opportunity to teach my child.  I never thought I would be this mom, but I am so thankful that I am this mom and I get these opportunities.  I am thankful that I had a change of heart where homeschooling is concerned.  I know that I have been blessed and that my daughter has grown so much this year! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Finding What Works

Now I had the curriculum that came to my door every month, now I needed to figure out how to drive this ship.  I am NOT a morning person, especially when I am up at odd hours during the night taking care of my little guy. My Preschooler IS a morning  person.  So when was the best time for school for us? 

When we started I tried the afternoon homeschool….. that did not work.  My child does not do her best learning in the afternoon.  She is not focused and gets tired and ONLY wants to do the fun stuff.  I just can’t jump out of bed and get going.  I also do not want or often am not able to get up an hour or two before my kids start their day. As I already said, I am NOT a morning person.  I know that some moms just do this and are able to function.  I am not one of them.  I had to learn that I needed to do what worked for me and not necessarily what I saw other moms doing, even if it seemed to work for them.

What works for us? We get up, and I get my girl eating her breakfast with one of her morning shows.  Dinosaur Train is a favorite around here.  I can decide what we watch because I have TIVO which is great for me.  Anyway, she eats and is engaged in something and I am able to get a good 30 minutes or so to just wake up.  My little guy is good with this schedule, and it works for us.  After my preschooler eats her breakfast, and I wake up -- we do school.  Depending on when my now 1 year old needs a nap, we may take a break and continue after naptime.  Sometimes, my girl can have stuff that she can do on her own, but she much prefers to have momma there when she is doing her school activities. 

A bonus that I found during this first year and having a newborn is that this was great momma and daughter time. Sure brother was around even with interruptions that are sure to happen, but this was HER time.  In a day when so much time and energy went to the new member of the family, this was guaranteed time that she got to have.

Another thing that we had to decide was where to homeschool.  Our first year we used the kitchen table.  This worked for us.  Although I am seeing that it may not continue to work for us.  Our kitchen table got overrun with papers, glue, scissors, and whatever else the homeschool day brought to our table.  I got a file holder to hold our supplies but I am quickly learning that I need more organization in that area.  Did I tell you I am not organized in my life right now??

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How do I get started on this journey? Part 2

Like any journey you need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there.  So once I decided to homeschool, I was struck with the reality that I did not know what I was doing.  I am not the kind of mom or person, for that matter, who likes to fly by the seat of my pants.  I know that my girl needs to learn her letters, numbers and write her name…., but how do I even start?!  Sending my girl to preschool was easy, someone else was in charge, but now I am in charge, and I don’t have the first idea on how to start. 

Here I was a mom who was going to homeschool her preschooler, because I wanted to make sure I could do it for kindergarten.  I  was also the mom of a newborn.  I must be crazy!  But I was not crazy; I just needed a plan or something to help me navigate the waters that I was now in.  I started by asking my homeschooling mommas out there in the great world of the internet.  I got some suggestions, and it helped me start my search.  I also found some great homeschooling blogs that helped me feel so much better at what I was doing. 

I knew that my girl knew how to say her ABC’s and that she knew a lot of them by sight.  I also knew that my girl excelled when she could do things with her hands and create something.  I also knew that I was not good at coming up with those crafts.  My biggest hurdle was going to be in the area of writing.  My girl had lost a good amount of time in her writing abilities due to her struggle in preschool.  Somehow I was going to have to figure out how to teach writing and coloring in a way that my child would not resist picking up a crayon or a pencil. 

In my search, I came across two curriculums that I thought would work for this momma and my preschooler.  One was
The Learning Box, and the second was Mother Goose Time.  They were set up in a similar manner, but I was not sure what would be best for us.  Then I found Homeschool Reviews,and it helped greatly.  I decided to order a summer kit for Mother Goose time as well as one month of the Learning Box.   After trying both, I liked The Learning Box for my daughter, and that is where I stayed.  I Loved it!  It was great for this momma who needed a plan, and it sent me everything so I didn’t have to go running around looking for all the supplies. This was what I needed.  I found at a blog Homeschool Creations that she had blogs and print outs of what she was doing with her preschooler.  This is a great resource and helpful, but it was a little overwhelming for me who needed something that was pre-done.  So... the pre-done curriculum worked really well for me, especially for a brand new homeschooling mom.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Journey Into Homeschool–part 1

I am now on the journey of being a homeschool mom.  This comes as a great surprise for me because I thought I was going on the road traveled by most and go the public school route.  I just never really considered any other choice, because this was how I was schooled and how I just assumed I would school my children. 

Early in my marriage (I have been married almost 10 1/2 years) I stated adamantly that I would NEVER homeschool.  I just did not think that I could be a teacher to my child.  I also did not think that I could be a supermom like I would expect those that I have seen homeschool their children.  I could list a dozen or more reasons why I would NEVER EVER homeschool. 

So what changed?  Something had to have changed for me to be on this journey for just about a year.  I think that the change started happening the year before I was pregnant with my firstborn, spirited child.  I had seen how a poorly run public school worked and I was disgusted.  I don’t believe that every school was like the one that I had seen up close and personal.  But this particular school left a horrible taste in my mouth and outlook.  When I was pregnant with my beautiful firstborn I began to worry about school choices for her.  Yes, I am worrier and this was a bit premature to be so concerned about where my child would be schooled.  I began to find alternatives but realizing that for whatever reason those alternatives they just would not work for us. 

I remember having a conversation with a fellow mom on the playground before my firstborn started preschool about homeschool.  I stated I just don’t think that I can teach my daughter.  She gave me a puzzled look and said I have been teaching my daughter since the day she was born.  I had never thought of it this way.  I was just being a mom, I thought. She was right, I was equipped to teach my daughter but could I really teach her to read and write and do math and science which is my biggest fear. 

When my child was 3 1/2 I enrolled her in preschool.  This preschool had a great reputation and I thought it was the right choice for my girl.  I was wrong.  I was not wrong about this school being one of good reputation but I was wrong that this was the right choice for my girl.  When I enrolled her she was doodling and coloring a little bit.  She started resisting in a huge way.  Her teacher just did not fit who my child needed at that time. She did a ton of worksheets, expected that my child color in between the lines and write her name on the top right of the page.  My child was not that child.  There were some in her class that did well at this but mine, was not one of them.  My child at that time needed to do this perfectly, and when she knew that she could not, she would refuse.  The teacher pushed, and my child resisted. That is where my child stopped coloring.  I also saw a change in her personality when I would pick her up.  She was quiet and reserved, which was not my daughter.  I had seen her in other kinds of classes, and quiet and reserved is not one of her traits. 

My child was also getting sick ALL THE TIME and I was told on countless occasions that I should just suck it up because this is normal.  I disagreed.  I was also getting whatever sickness she brought home and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I was also pregnant with my second child.  I decided that this was enough and decided that the best decision was just to pull her out of preschool.  Between the teacher not being a good fit and my child being sick this preschool thing was just not working for us. 

So this began my journey into homeschool.  But where do I begin to know what I am even doing?  How do I start?  What did I need to know?  And most of important of all, could I even do this??  Especially since I now had given birth to my second child.