Have I mentioned we started homeschooling our children this past year?
Oh…. Well… We did.
Actually, I did.
But it was a WE decision.
Mostly me, but in the end it was we.
Let me start over.
Last spring were facing a lot of challenges. My husband’s job is part of a training unit – it’s called ACRC or Active Component training Reserve Component. In short, he is part of the training program for Activated Reserve and National Guard Solders who come to Fort Bliss. This is not a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job. In fact, during the first 6 months we lived with a 48 – 72 hour window of when, where, and how long he would be working. It was very stressful. It honestly felt like a deployment where in my mind, I had to handle everything. But he wasn’t deployed – in fact he would get frustrated with me because he didn’t feel included. Which I really couldn’t do, but had to learn how to?
It was a hot mess.
As time went by, the schedules became more organized to the point that a weekly schedule is now printed and on the side of our fridge. But the challenge of balancing random Tuesday / Wednesday days off and him working through the weekend with two children who were in school and one little one at home – yeah – that was the hard part. We weren’t getting family time together. The time we had was pressed into evenings filled with cooking dinner, finishing homework, and catching up on chores to be ready for the next day.
There were a few other challenges with our local school district (we live off post, so it was a civilian school) that were part of our decision as well, but the biggest reason this idea was pulling at my heart was our lack of family time. So during spring break, I took the kids to Barnes and Noble and bought some workbooks. Each day we spent two or three hours in the morning at our kitchen table for teaching, reviewing, and learning math, english, and handwriting.
I learned a lot about our children in a very short time.
Science, History, and problem solving were already am almost daily part of our life – but we started recording ideas and adventures in our ‘field journals’. Each child had a composition book to draw and write daily. Here is our oldest with a potato plant he grew. “Look Mom! My potato had babies!”
At the end of spring break, we had a family meeting to talk about what we’d accomplished. What the kids thought. What we thought. We made the pros and cons list. We talked about our budget. We talked about logistics. We talked about my sanity. We talked about all of our possible options.
In the end, we decided to withdraw our children from public school.
And we haven’t looked back.
If you are considering homeschool for your family, the first place I encourage you to go for information is a local homeschool group and start researching your state’s requirements. I can honestly say that by meeting the amazing women in the Fort Bliss Homeschool Association, I found the confidence to start this new adventure. They have been my sounding board, an incredible information resource, and an endless source of encouragement and humor.
This year, we are using the AllinoneHomeschool.com Free Online Curriculum for our children. If you are considering homeschooling your children and the cost of curriculum is holding you back, I encourage you to check out her website. It was created by an amazing Homeschool Mom in Pennsylvania who has blogged her oldest child’s curriculum to use for her younger children – and it has grown by leaps and bounds (the facebook group now has 12,873 members!).
I’m sure I will be writing more about this as time goes by – so feel free to ask questions in the comments.
All in all, it has been much more work on my part, but it has also been very rewarding to teach our children new skills, foster their enthusiasm for learning, and encourage growth in their academic subjects as well as good citizenship. The flexibility to teach our children while Daddy is working Saturday and Sunday and then have a random Tuesday off to spend time as a family to travel or volunteer or just as a family has been a wonderful blessing. With so many deployments, moves, and big life transitions in the past few years, this time together has been so very valuable.
And it gives Will a lot more wardrobe choices for school clothes.
Have you ever thought about about homeschooling?
What are your favorite children’s books to read with your children?
Our oldest is currently addicted to the Captain Underpants Series!