Apr 21, 2015

Homeschool Struggle

Well here we are near the end of the school year, yet, I feel like we've only just started. How is it April already?! This is our first year of homeschooling and I have a Kindergartener and a preschooler (and a one year old). We are using My Father's World (MFW) and are loving it. At times I feel like the curriculum is a little too easy for my now 6 year old and a bit repetitive, but overall I am so happy with it. And have recently, purchased the 1st grade curriculum to begin in the Fall.

I have learned a lot this year (and am hoping my girls have learned some, too.) We've had a lot of good and fun times, but I've also had some struggles, too. However, there's not been a day go by where I have regretted that we've chosen to homeschool our children.

I've found that my biggest struggle with homeschooling (and a lot of areas of my life) has been consistency. It's something I am giving myself grace in and have stopped expecting perfection. However, I am also working on improving this.
Improvement not perfection.

The days can fly by do fly by and before you know it the sun has gone down and you haven't accomplished anything you wanted to. You've noticed that too, right? Well, this has been my struggle and there are some things I have recently tried to implement to improve on our consistency and the functionality of our home that seem to be working well.
One way I plan to improve our family's lives and the consistency of our days and schooling is to have a daily schedule. I used to fear schedules and would run away from them because they sounded so rigid and uptight. My family is laid back and relaxed because Jonathan and I have worked hard to make sure that that is the environment we created.

But I do not fear schedules anymore, and thanks to homeschooling I am able to create exactly what I want our days to look like. No one else is telling us where to be and when.  I have chosen to have a flexible daily schedule. I created it first by listing out all of the activities I wanted to get done in a day - what important to us. Playing, being outside, school time, meal times, nap time, clean up, and a bedtime for example. I wrote out on a paper the time when my children would wake up and when they would go to bed and then begin to think about my children's personalities and attitudes throughout the day. I didn't want to do school first thing in the morning because we all need a little time to wake up and also I knew after lunch wasn't a good time because everyone starts to grow tired. I chose meal times around the time Jonathan gets to come home from work. And I began to fill in our time slots with this method. I was intentional about the timing and which activity we would fill our days with.

We've been doing this new schedule for a couple weeks now and I couldn't be happier. My kids know what to expect during the day. We have improved on our time management and how long it takes us to get out of the house or on to the next activity. We have made time for things that matter - school, family, and play. And gotten rid of things that are a waste - too much screen time and staying up too late that leads to grouchy attitudes.

A daily schedule works a lot like a financial budget does. If you don't tell your money where to go it all just disappears and on things that don't matter and I now see that it is the same for time.

I'm still working on our schedule and am staying flexible to spontaneity and making changes of what isn't working. Some days we switch play time and school time, but we also stick with it and get cleaning done instead of iPad time being too long.

Schedules don't have to be rigid. I am not allowing it to rule our house. I create it, not the other way around. It is a tool we can use to lift us up. It has my family's priorities and what works best for us. It's been such a great tool for us in our homeschooling, my time management skills - and by that I mean my lack of, and how our family treats one another.

I don't regret the time we missed this past year of letting days go by with out a plan, we had a great year and have grown and learned. However, I knew I had to try to figure this out now before our foster kids come to live with us and before the baby is born. We will continue to do our schooling through the first of July and take our "summer break" when the baby gets here. It's never too late to change things that don't work. Adapt. And even "failure" is something I choose to celebrate.

So even though I have struggled this year, we have had victories, too.
My 6 year old sounded out and read a whole book. No, I don't know the grade level to brag on that and frankly it doesn't matter to me. It could've been a board book of my first words for all I care. She used the skills she is learning about phonics and was frustrated at first, but didn't quit and she persevered (another thing we have learned) and she read the whole book! Way to go, Kai! So proud of you girl!

Do you have a schedule for your home/family? What works well for you? Remember to stay flexible, especially with little ones at home. My 1 year old is a wild card. And I have to choose patience and laughter when things don't go "as planned."

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