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Monday, October 24, 2011

Confession: I'm No longer in the Homeschool Honeymoon Stage

Oh the sweet memories of what I call my "homeschool honeymoon" stage.  For some, this may be the stage you're in now.  For others, you're probably beyond this stage and into what I refer to as the "comfortable" stage.

So what do I mean by the "homeschool honeymoon" stage? Well, for me, this stage began almost seven years ago when I made the decision to homeschool my son, who at the time was an only child and was starting preschool.  

Everything about homeschooling was a new experience for me. I jumped into months of research, decided what method I would use, and then couldn't wait to begin.  I had these wonderful, sweet fantasies about what our school day would look like.  I have to admit that almost all of my fantasies came true, at least for the preschool and Kindergarten years. 

During my homeschool honeymoon stage, I loved taking the time to research books and deciding which ones we would use.  When my son started first grade, my weekends were spent planning out our school schedule for the week.  That meant writing out which books would be read that week and what projects would be completed. I also made sure to gather all of the necessary supplies and/or books we would need for the week.  I did this diligently.

Each morning I'd start school by a certain time.  Rarely did I deviate from this. I'd gather my son, our unit study, the books we needed for the day, and I home educated my son.  He loved learning (being that he was 4).  We played games, I taught him math using his toys, and, except for writing (which he didn't have any interest in doing), all was wonderful (at least as I remember it).  Yes, I was in my honeymoon stage.

Fast forward to today.  Our school day ALWAYS begins at exactly 9:00 a.m. sharp.  Yeah, right.  This year I realized that I have finally entered the "comfortable stage" of homeschooling.  What does this mean for me?  Let me explain.

School in our household is supposed to begin between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m.  However, I am no longer homeschooling one child, but two, so due to many different factors; school doesn't always start on time.  

Although I do have a schedule for my eldest son, I forget to look at it as often as I should to see which books I have to order for him.  In fact, there are two books he's supposed to be reading now and because I didn't realize it until the day he was due to read it, he now has to wait until it comes in (through the library).  I hate when I do that!  The truth is, I have so many things going on now that I'm not as diligent as I used to be six years ago.  Homeschooling a second child,  maintaining a homeschool blog, heading up a Lego Club and a homeschool support group, helping my parents, and working part-time has kind of changed things a bit around here.

Remember how I used to spend my weekends preparing for the week ahead?  Well, in all honesty, I now find myself on most days, preparing the day of school.  In fact, the other day we had to do a science experiment.  As I was reading through the supplies list I realized that in order to perform the experiment, we needed to use M&M's.  Needless to say there were no M&M's in our house, so I had to make a mad dash to the store to get them.

Although I used a unit study with my eldest son when he began Kindergarten, I am using the unschooling method to teach my 5-year-old.  It fits in very well with my new disorganized self/schedule because instead of having our day planned out, I can teach him any subject at any time all based on his interest.  I've noticed that he's learning so much more and quicker than my other son did at his age.  It really helps that he listens in on the things I teach my 10-year-old, because a lot of his learning has been accomplished through this.

I suppose I've entered my comfortable stage from realizing that homeschooling is a way of life and that my children, being in their elementary years, still have so many years ahead of them to learn.  At this stage, I just want them to enjoy the learning process.  By instilling this love of learning in them, my hope is that as they get older they will learn because they want to learn, not because they have to learn.

This thought process has relieved me from being so schedule-focused.  I've learned that relationship building is so much more important to us than "book" education; in fact, it comes first in our family - a relationship with God, each other, and others.  So if my children are having a "meaningful" conversation, I don't interrupt them just because it's time for math.  If a friend stops by during school, I welcome them in and allow my children and me to fellowship with them as I know we can continue with our studies either after the visit or the next day.  If my parents need me, I cancel school for the day.

I'm enjoying my comfortable stage.  I no longer compare myself or my children to others.  I no longer rely just on myself for my children's education.  I rely on God.  I have faith that God will fill in any necessary gaps in my children's education as long as I always put Him first in our school and in our lives.

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  1. I'm right there with ya! Adding my third daughter to school this year makes the days interesting! It depends on each lesson of each day and how the girls need my individual time. Our school days are normally switched around from the "norm". :)

  2. ASliceofHomeschoolPieOctober 24, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Yes, the more children there are to teach, the more disorganized things can become.

  3. HomeschoolontheCroftOctober 24, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Hah! Welcome to my world! Organized? No. Diligent (me)? Not very. Overall grade? Er... probably off the scale.
    enjoyable?? Yes. Glad we're doing it?? Ab-sol-utely! Fun?? Yep... almost all the time.
    So, all in all, I wouldn't swap my life for the world. Though I would add an organisation gene to my gene pool if I could ;)

  4. ASliceofHomeschoolPieOctober 24, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I used to have that gene, but I've misplaced it and can't seem to find it. :-)

  5. I have struggled all along to be in the honeymoon stage. Sigh. But there are times I'm enjoying and appreciating it more than other times.. So thankful God can fill any gaps left behind...
    Here from HHH.

  6. ASliceofHomeschoolPieOctober 27, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    Thank you for stopping by. Yes, God will definitely fill in those gaps for our children as long as we remain faithful servants.

  7. I am definitely in the comfortable stage, but I do still love reading about homeschooling and researching. Great post!

  8. ASliceofHomeschoolPieNovember 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Thanks Mary! Glad you enjoyed it.


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