So, August 2011 began our first year of homeschooling with our oldest son, AJ. It has been an ... interesting ... learning experience. So, what did I learn in 2011?
1. Homeschooling, is really, really, REALLY hard. Not the subject - it's first grade work, so I think I can handle the material. The discipline is hard. Starting and maintaining a routine. Sticking to the goals that have been set. Not turning over, sleeping in, and thinking, eh, we don't need to do school today. It's such an easy trap! While I'm glad that we don't have that crazy, hurried mornings we used to in order to get my slow poke of a boy up, dressed, fed, and on the bus, there's also no post-bus nap. I know that makes me sound like a weenie, but we do have a new baby that is still not sleeping through the night. I'm exhausted!
2. There is NOTHING linear about homeschooling. This is both a good and a bad. The bad part is that all of my careful planning went out the window within the first weeks of school. The good is how much we have learned about AJ - you know, the person we are doing this for? He has an incredible math brain. We're starting second grade math this week, and should be starting third grade math sometime in April. He LOVES science, especially about space. We were learning animals, which he liked, when something about space came up, and boom, we did space for the rest of the year. He has become an incredible reader (Thank you, Saxon Phonics!), but can't spell his way out of a paper bag. How many other parents get the opportunity to be this involved in their kids' brains?
3. Homeschooling is NOT about books. My kid is smart. Not bragging - he's not going to be some 14-year-old college graduate or anything - just stating a fact. Because of that, it is really easy to get caught up in all of the books to cram as much knowledge as that hungry little brain can absorb. But some days, homeschooling is about field trips where we get to teach our little brother what we learned about how a pumpkin grows. Sometimes it's about going to the store and watching Mama use a calculator as the number gets bigger and bigger the more stuff that goes in the cart. Sometimes it's about a beautiful fall day outside, being quiet, and counting the bugs found under the rock.
4. I would never, ever, EVER do it any other way. Despite the false starts and frustrations and worries, seeing him be proud of his accomplishments, hold conversations with adults about some pretty deep topics, and not be stressed about all of the other debris that goes along with public school makes it all worth it.