Looking Back / Looking Forward: Our Homeschool

Well, helllllooooo blogging break. That happened accidentally like my 5 pound weight gain this past winter. Annnd here we go. 

It’s 4:00 am and I can’t get back to sleep. I thought I would come out here to my big comfy chair in the living room to type and tell you a bit about our homeschooling situation.   I feel like sharing that cup of tea with you. 

We are wrapping up our 1st year of homeschool.  This week I’ve been gathering our resources and making plans for next year. The UPS crew have showered us with goodies to look through, organize, and assemble. It’s been fun seeing everything so crisp and new and just a lot more than what we had last year because 1st grade is more and … we made it!

When we decided on giving homeschooling a whirl, it was for lots of great reasons but mostly just a natural progression of already teaching and learning (phonics) here just because we could and because Thomas was eager.  We are still very much on that path of continuing on with a thing that is so much fun because we get to go at our own pace and in our own way. 

There is a truth that I think is not unique to us in that once you’ve entered into homeschooling, you (can) find yourself in a place where you are more nervous about walking away than staying put.  There are things that would pain me now for Thomas to miss. The liberty, luxury, and time we have to read anything we want and discuss it (or not discuss it) in any way we want is at the top of the list, but there are a few other small ones as well.

But let me get very real about something before I go all happy happy homeschooling is heaven on you.  Homeschooling ONE child while TWO toddlers sit / run / jump / laugh / tickle / play fight / destroy in a toddler-y fashion just feet away is no small thing.  We got their diagnosis of being mild hemophiliacs just weeks before our official schooling began and while their condition isn’t THAT big of a deal I look back now and have such tender feelings for a woman (1 year ago me!) who was trying her best but almost constantly two breaths away from heart failure (my blood pressure was so freaking high worrying about those boys hurting themselves all the time because they are crazy, or crazy because they’ve got a big brother to rally them, and having toddler twins with hemophilia was just that much crazier) .  There were moments where Thomas and I were being studious at the table and A & E were in front of us being fun little tornadoes of energy in the most ridiculous of contrast to us with books open and considering questions … lots of moments like that. I just have to laugh at all of it now. 

I’m glad we are in a better place now and even moreso that I’m truly tired of playing any part as mom or wife. White flag right here. Done with running in fear or feeling like a poser.  Our homeschooling, my mothering, my romance with my husband, my home—-I want it all to be honest.  So crisply, drink-it-all-in honest. 

And in that honesty, Alistair & Emerick need a bit of catching up.  They have taken their sweet time learning to speak English.  They are missing a whole gamut of learning that we couldn’t get to without that speech in place.  I’m so crazy excited to actually hear their progress and know for sure and not just in theory that every little bit of one-on-one time and reading books and singing songs is bearing fruit. I have hope that this will be the year (they turn 3 next month) where we see a ton of progress.  

They are smart little boys. Eager to help and solve problems, very mechanical and incredibly physically able. I love watching them draw and color. They have an interest in it at 2 that is so curious to me. I’m excited to see them take off this year! 

I’m not doing any official program with them, but I do have a list of lots of little tidbits I want them to pick up this year.  Reading is a huge focus with songs thrown in and one-on-one teaching here or there as I can manage.   We do a half an hour of reading picture books here every day and also a half an hour of read aloud of which they have usually missed due to their nap time but will get more and more of next year as we let the naps fade out of the picture…. let’s take a moment of silence for that loss… 

We won’t get to all the nitty gritty of Thomas’s curriculum just yet.  I’ll likely post about that closer to the start of the school year even though I’m tempted now because everything is in place. 

I do want our homeschool experience to expand a bit this year in two specific ways. #1. I want to put the boys to meaningful work often and purposefully & #2. I want for us to link arms in some sort of community As that takes form, I might write about that here.  

My goodness. What a post. I should have broken this up. I didn’t even get to talk about what did and didn’t happen this past year.  Ah. No time now. But I can sum it up with 1 huge and happy accomplishment that I could not be more proud of and that’s:

Thomas can read.  (Anything, everything—really, really truly read.)  Paul and I overheard him reading last Friday on the couch and it was so awesome. The fluency just blows me away.  

I’m so happy taking the phonics route that we did, having the very thorough instruction in The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading to make the way! It has been one of the most meaningful and happiest experiences to sit with Thomas for two years as he learned day by day how to read.  

And not just read. But read so well.  He has the toolset to read anything he could ever want.  That makes me so happy as his mom, to see a billion invisible doors open to him that over a lifetime he will be walking into because he knows how to read.  

Parallel to this has been that we haven't wavered in our commitment and enjoyment of our read aloud time. I have oodles and oodles of special memories reading to Thomas. We've read so many books together. It's so incredible. I'm excited to read even more this year!

And our kindergarten year was mostly that--lots and lots and lots of reading.  Yes, we practiced math every day, read hundreds of picture books, studied all sorts of science, and practiced our letters until they were very good—-but mostly it felt like sticking a landing.  It makes such a natural progression for where we take his schooling next, and I’m so excited for him!

If I had more to share (always), it will have to wait.  

Just had to pop in and tell you that we are cleaning out that homeschool binder and filling it back up with new goals and book lists, checklists and fresh paper.  We’ve stored away all the workbooks we completed and rotated new reads into our school basket so there's good stuff at arm's reach. 

We’ve got a summer bucket list and we intend to make this summer a great one! To have a ton of fun and return back to the books in a couple months with fresh eyes and renewed minds! 

Happy Friday, friends!