I came across a blog recently that inspired me to pick up my camera again and take everyday pictures of the kids. I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to update on our life and homeschool.
Ok, homeschool. I am absolutely loving it. It’s hard to aptly describe how it’s changed our entire family culture for the better. I love having my kids with me. I love doing all of life together. I love the new routines we’ve established that are deepening rich habits in our family’s life, like reading, reading aloud, imaginative play, interesting conversation. I just love it.
I did officially do away with box curriculum (we were doing My Father’s World). The curriculum itself was fine but I was seeing after just a few months that that much scheduling and rigidity was squashing my natural affinity for teaching and creativity. I’m just not an in-the-box person. I cannot just do something because it’s “required” of me. I have to know why and how and who says so. It’s taken me more than three decades to make peace with how and who God has made me, mostly because I can be a frustrating person to the kinds of personalities that just want people to do what they’re told, how they’re told, when they’re told (and believe me I’ve heard all manner of discouraging words from those kinds of people throughout my life). But I’m learning that I yam who I yam and they are who they are and we can still live in unity even though we’re different and do things differently. I don’t question everything to drive people crazy on purpose; I just really need to know not just that it works, but that it works for us.
So goodbye, My Father’s World. It’s not you. It’s me.
With that said and done, we melded back into the initial excitement that we’d had this fall. I’m still figuring out the nuts and bolts of subjects like math and language arts (for Micah) but as far as reading, reading aloud, and writing, we have a pretty good grasp on our everyday routine.
Morning: I really, really make an effort to get up before the kids and spend time in the Word and prayer. I’ve found that I really do need that time. And also so that I can ease into the morning and not just be suddenly there with no chance to get my bearings. Micah and Asher usually come upstairs around 7:30 and get going on their own breakfast. I keep reading until about 8 and then get my own breakfast and sometimes try to squeeze in getting ready. Luke and Eden usually wake up around 8:30 and I do their breakfast/bath routine.
After this, if I haven’t gotten ready, I send the boys either downstairs or outside to play (depending on weather) while I get ready quickly. I feel better able to tackle the day if I get myself presentable. Usually about this time Eden is ready for her morning nap so I put her down, make the boys and myself smoothies and then we settle in for about the next 30-60 minutes of Bible time (10 minutes-ish), prayer (everyone goes around and prays, even Lukey – SO CUTE), and then our current read aloud (30-45 minutes).
We just finished Book 2 of the Kingdom Series and I need to say this in all caps lock – I LOVE IT. THE BOYS LOVE IT. Oh my gosh, it’s wonderful. It’s a powerful allegory of Scripture set in medieval times, complete with swords and warriors and treachery and the age-old battle between good and evil. The boys have begun pretend-playing on a regular basis that they’re Leinad (the noble and brave main character) defeating the Dark Knight and his warriors. It’s made me cry more times than I can count and has brought the actual Scriptures to greater intensity and vibrancy in my mind. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a passionate reader and stories have played such powerful and transformative roles in my life, but these books have just affected me so in the best ways. I find myself wanting to read them even when the boys aren’t around!
Ok, after read aloud time, I send them to play again while I collect my wits and have some “off” time. This is where our routine gets a little wobbly. On productive days, we jump into math, grammar, writing, etc. On other days, we….don’t. If not, they continue to play into lunch time, and then they almost always ask to listen to an audio book while they eat. Eden has woken up by this time and has lunch with us. After lunch, Lukey goes down for a nap right away and the boys get to play for longer. Then they either do nap time or quiet time but everyone has to have a rest, including myself.
I used to try to get a lot done during this time but now I actually rest too, even though it means things might stack up. My current reads are this and this (this one is for a book club I’m a part of). Loving them both.
So that’s our school day.
The things working for us: our morning routine.
The things that need improvement: including subjects like math and language arts more regularly during the week.
A friend came over last week (she’s been a teacher for almost 15 years and is going to start homeschooling next year) and we are starting to work on creating a homeschool community/group that’s not curriculum-specific. I’m super duper excited for that and will keep you updated on its progress. We have lots of exciting ideas though!
I’m taking a social media sabbatical during Lent so I’m not able to connect with other homeschool mamas through that medium so let me know in the comments what you’ve learned along the way, especially if you’ve ditched the boxed curriculum too!