Monday, August 18, 2008

Homeschool Beginnings

Mid – August, si-i-i-i-i-i-i-gh! I always get a little reflective around this time of the year. It’s usually about now that I begin to have thoughts like this…”once again summer has slipped by too quickly”, “I planned on getting this and this and this done”, “I really need to get the school area back in order”, and my thoughts go on and on.

Our summers are a little less scheduled and a little more laid back. Along a more selfish-line, there’s a little more “me” time, chances for me to delve in and create. It seems I never seem to complete all the things I planned to get done over the summer.

You see, we’re a homeschooling family. We have been for the last eight years. This year I seem to be a little more reflective than in other years. This is my older daughter’s senior year. I’m in shock – how did we get here? I remember when we first started homeschooling with a fourth-grader, a second-grader, and an early kindergartener. It was a rough year, I was ready to throw-in-the-towel more than once. I cried, and prayed, and asked God, “How am I going to do this?” Somehow God kept before me my conviction that this was best for our children. My sweet husband was a constant encouragement.

My older daughter was easy. We’d go over a lesson; I would give her the practice work for that lesson or a reading assignment to complete, and she’d DO IT while I worked with her brother or sister. She was conscientious and would often go on to work on something else when she was done with the given task.

My son, the second-grader, was a different story. We’d go over a lesson. I would give him the practice work for that lesson or a reading assignment to complete, and while I worked with one of his sister’s he would DAYDREAM. I would return to him only to find the work undone. I can't begin to count the many evening’s after supper that this little guy and I would have do the work that he was to have done during the day!

The youngest was an eager learner. She often parroted things she heard me teaching the older ones.

The two older children had attended a Christian school until that time. They already knew how to read. In fact, my older daughter loved to read. The year before we began homeschooling, she had received an award for reading the most books in the school that she attended. While my son really didn’t like to read books, still his reading comprehension was good.

My big worry that year was “Will I be able to teach my youngest child to read?” (I believe this is a very common concern with new homeschool moms.) Well, of course, she DID learn to read, and she is also an AVID reader. Ever notice how most of the things we worry about never come to pass?

So here we are eight-years later with two in their highschool years and one in her junior highschool years. I now pray “Lord, I can do this as long as you want, but only with your help. You have never failed me.” I want to encourage any of you who have started homeschooling, stay with it.

The first couple of years are the hardest, then you begin to “settle in”. Somehow, it becomes more natural, a way of life. The rewards are great. A strong bond develops as you all learn “together”. From what I have seen, most homeschool families are very close. The kids don’t seem to think that their parents are from outerspace. They actually enjoy being around their parents. Are there exceptions to this? I’m sure there are, but this has been my general observation.

If you have been homeschooling for a while and have any encouragement or tips for those thinking about homeschooling or in the early years of homeschooling, be sure to leave a comment with your tip or word of encouragement.


Honey said...

Came over from moneysavingmom. Thanks for the homeschool encouragement! We are starting year 3. I have a second grader (boy), two K's (girls) and two almost-5-year-old prescoolers (boys). It seems my 4 younger children are all at about the same level and that's not saying much (they don't know all their letter sounds). Will they ever learn them? The first guy picked up everything very quickly sort of like you said with yours. Any advice for me. I don't have a blog. Email is honeysmith (at) bellsouth (dot) net. I'm sure you know how to traslate this...

Deb said...

Wow!! We are in our 11th year of homeschooling. Our daughter is 17 and a Senior, our son is 15 and a Junior. Time really has flown..My biggest piece of advice would be to relax and enjoy the kids. Yes, they will spite of us! Remember that each child learns differently and don't ever expect the same results out of your kids.
Just love em'...the rest will work itself out.

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