We are well into our first year of homeschooling now and I thought it would be a good time to do an update. One of my sons is in kindergarten and my older son started second grade this year. We have found our groove with our curriculum materials and seem to be moving in a positive direction most days.
Background Our Story
We started our homeschool journey at the end of August by easing into our routine. I have a background in teaching but teaching my own kids is very different than teaching in a classroom setting. I have three kids: a 7-month-old, a 6-year-old, and an 8-year-old. My sons are in kindergarten and second grade this year. We opted for homeschool as a better fit for our family than the virtual option our district had in place at the beginning of the school year. More of the beginning of the year journey can be found here.
We have definitely found our routine and the boys know what to expect now so the flow of our school time has improved. For the most part, I don’t feel like I’m battling them as much to get the work done but it’s still a work in progress. Now that they know our routine, they know what schoolwork has to be done before they are allowed to play. So they are pretty determined to sit down and knock it out. But of course, they are kids and some days are not as smooth.
To be honest, sometimes my patience is worked to the max. Homeschooling is work and it takes a ton of patience and there has to be so much flexibility. The baby is awake part of the time so I plan our schedule around her. While she is awake, we usually do read alouds and morning work. When the baby takes her nap, I try to help each kiddo with his reading and math. Since both of my sons are young, they require a lot of 1-on-1 instruction.
It’s easy to wonder if I’m doing enough. Are they learning enough? But, I try to squash those thoughts and just keep moving forward and doing what works for us. We usually are finished by lunchtime and the boys get lots of outside play which they absolutely love. With time, I’m finding more confidence to trust the learning process.
One thing we really enjoy is the read-aloud books we are reading every day. I can see the boys’ interest in reading has grown since we started. They are finding different authors they are interested in and they will ask for more books by a particular author. Thankfully, our library is allowing us to check out books and that is enabling us to explore more authors and topics.
Another positive is we are happy with our curriculum choices and we are moving right along! I’m very happy with the All About Reading program we’ve been using and I will be ordering the next level for my second grader. I will also be adding in Language Arts for him. We are also happy with our math curriculum. My kindergartener will be moving into Horizons Math since he is finishing Singapore Essentials (curriculum choices can be found here).
I love being able to witness their growth! It’s all a process and I know this extra time with them is a gift even though it’s hard. I find myself over thinking what I will do, fear of failing them, but when I reflect on our year so far, I’m amazed at how they are learning and growing. You don’t have to be the smartest or most credentialed teacher! You just have to love them and care! At the end of the day, there is no one on earth that loves your child, cares about them as much as you.
Time. Homeschooling takes time and I feel like there are just not enough hours in the day. I always feel like I’m up against the clock. Trying to teach when the baby is asleep, trying to keep up with housework, taking care of 3 little humans and just all the other things in life…it zaps me! I was working more before the pandemic and I need to get back on track but it hasn’t been easy to find the time. I would work before the kids got up, when my son was in school, and some evenings when they went to bed. But now, by the time the kiddos are in bed, I usually have a hard time keeping my eyes open. Most nights it’s just Netflix and chill.
Another drawback is the cost of materials. I know there are a lot of free resources out there but I knew a curriculum approach would work better for us. I like having high-quality materials that we can just open up and work from each day. I have nothing but good things to say about the materials we are using but it is an expense.
My best advice is don’t doubt yourself or your child. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, it takes time, there are challenges, they have to learn new boundaries. But one day at a time and the progress will come. Whether homeschooling or helping your child with virtual learning, we all have more on our plates than usual. Give yourself and your children grace.