Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reflections Near the End of Year One

I'm ready to talk about it now.

All the dumb things I tried this year, my successes, my favorite and least favorite things about homeschooling this year. I know the year is not quite over...but I'm feeling reflective because I see the end in sight. Well, the end of this year. For a while. Before we start the next grade.

I guess actually I don't see the end after all.

First let me explain, in case you are new here...I taught public elementary school for 11 years. Then I did a few other things. Then we began homeschooling. I read everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling before we started. Tried to figure out what I agreed with and didn't agree with.

I've said it before...I think planning to homeschool is kind of like being engaged. You can imagine what it will be like to be married...but you can just never know until you get there. So after all of my research, I thought I had a handle on things. I got one room of our house ready to use for school, organized all of our stuff, and got read to dazzle my daughter with second grade.

Then, at the end of two weeks she looked at me and said, "Mommy. I miss doing fun stuff."


After further questioning, I gathered that she wanted to do "fun" stuff like her three year old sister was getting to do while she did lessons. So we took a day off, reevaluated everything and started over.

Now I had my three year old doing weekly themes from a really cool website I found. My 2nd grader was doing other more "important and official" themes that second graders should be doing. As I was perusing the library shelves for books one day she asked me, "Mommy, what is my theme this week?" I told her. "And what is Sissy's theme?" Again, I answered her. "Sissy's theme sounds like more fun," she muttered as she walked away.

Oops again.

Hey! Lightbulb moment! Why not study the same thing but on different levels? I tell you, all that higher education of mine was really starting to pay off. Or not.

The point is...I got brave and kept trying until we had worked out "what works for us." We jumped into unit studies, and lapbooks, dabbled in Charlotte Mason, and just kept trying new things all the time. We are still trying new things. The best thing I have learned all year is: we have the freedom to keep trying new things. Man, I LOVE that!

Good thing too, because next year is not going to be anything like this first year. And I'm OK with that, really. (And by the way...that classroom? It's a toy room now. Much better use, I'd say.)


  1. This is so refreshing to hear, Brenda. I am in the "engaged" time of my homeschooling relationship. And I really feared making mistakes and "ruining" my child. This is so good to hear.

  2. I remember when you were starting--the bookshelves. I wondered how long that would last, but couldn't say anything because moving into my 8th year homeschooling, I still didn't feel like I had a handle well enough to council others.

    I've watched you this year, and all that the Lord has done in your home, school, and on this blog has inspired me, Brenda! Truly! I'm glad we're bloggy friends. :)

  3. Ha Ha! Those bookshelves are AWESOME! I'm still glad I bought them so I can have a place to store we can eat supper.

    And I never posted pictures of that classroom b/c I was embarrassed. By the time I downloaded them, we were already not using that room. :)

  4. Great post, Brenda. I learn a lot from you homeschool moms. Like Huse, I'm afraid to death of failure so I'm taking in every bit of wisdom I can. Thanks for your honesty.

  5. Hey brenda,
    I'm in the same boat as huse and terry. The thought of homeschooling is very romanctic now, as is the thought of being a homemaker full time. It's nice that your blog and others help keep me head out of the clouds.

  6. A friend of mine is going to start homeschooling next year, and she came over today to talk about THE ADVENTURE. Anyway, I showed her my curriculum list, schedule, and organization. And then I took a pencil and marked what was really done.

    I told her if she wanted to see how someone could make homeschooling hard, then talk to me. And then if she wanted to hear how homeschooling could be real, listen to all of my mistakes and how I learned from them.

  7. I'm new to your blog but I am thinking about Homeschooling. Some days I can't wait and others I'm not sure I should. What made you know for sure this was best for your children?

  8. Anne, I'll tell you. (And I have older posts on Homeschooling you can read too). It was when I saw scripture references for homeschooling and cracked open my Bible and started reading. I read everything I could find about "parents", "children", and "training." Guess what? I concluded that WE are responsible for our children's training. And I just didn't feel that having them gone from me for 8-10 hours a day was helping me be able to do that. It really isn't all about educational decisions for me...but mostly about the ability to weave God and the Bible and faith throughout our day.

    Well, that's my short answer. Maybe I'll post more later! Thanks for asking!

  9. I love your analogy to "imagining" being married. Lol.

    It's taken me 3 years to find my voice and get into our family groove. But it's very sweet right now.



I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)