Homeschooling is about…

Homeschooling is a very unique learning situation, a very special privilege. Because so much of my children’s lives involve them waiting their turn, waiting for Mommy and Daddy to minister, waiting for us to finish a conversation, waiting for church functions to end, etc., homeschooling is my special time to tell the world to wait.

I rarely answer the phone or check email, and I make an effort to let my children know that this is Mommy-time and that everyone else must wait their turn (except Daddy, of course). But there was one more way in which I wanted to be more intentional with my kids. Affection. Having them in my lap during reading time, holding their hands during chants and memory work, a hand on their back during handwriting—I’ve been trying to intentionally think of any way that I could physically remind them that I was focused on them.

holding hands

Middlest especially responds to this. She sits in my lap at every opportunity; she plays with my hands as she skip-counts by 5’s; she gives big hugs at every success. And one morning, as she came into the kitchen for her breakfast she said, “Mommy, do you know what my favorite part of Monday is? It’s about school.” When I couldn’t guess, she said, “Spending time with you!”

shaping hearts

Homeschooling isn’t as much about filling minds with knowledge as it is about shaping hearts.

Making a Beginning

It was with much excitement and a little trepidation (on my part) that we began school this week.

"Places everyone!" My big 2nd Grader and K5 Kid.
“Places everyone!” My big 2nd Grader and K5 Kid.

Though the first day of homeschool always gives me some butterflies and nerves, this year I was especially nervous. Perhaps it was the fact that I’ve spent the last month or more moving rather than preparing. Perhaps it’s just the fact that I have two in serious homeschool this year (2nd grade and K5). Or perhaps it’s that Littlest is toddling into a lot of trouble lately.

But, in spite of it all, our first day was a roaring success. The schedule ran smoothly, the lessons were enjoyable, and the kids were as excited at the end of the day as they were at the beginning—maybe even more excited!

The only one who didn’t enjoy the day was Littlest, who hasn’t been feeling up to snuff lately. He opted for a long morning nap, instead; and I definitely rejoiced in that unexpected grace.

This was supposed to be Littlest's activity for the morning, but Middlest decided she wasn't too big for this kind of fun.
This was supposed to be Littlest’s activity for the morning, but Middlest decided she wasn’t too big for this kind of fun.

First Day Highlights

  • We started our memory work review with a video of last year’s memory work. The kids had a blast watching themselves recite our timeline from last year, and it was a fun way to review. We’ll keep doing that much of this week until we feel fully refreshed and ready to add some new facts.

 

  • Middlest loved her new phonics lessons. We explored how the letter sounds are made and began our cursive work with a little magic! She used her wand to practice the strokes before we actually wrote on paper. I loved having my teacher curriculum on my NOOK! I wasn’t quite sure how I would like that format, but it was fabulous. Now I wish that all my teacher books were like that!
Middlest practicing her cursive strokes with a little ribbon magic!
Middlest practicing her cursive strokes with a little ribbon magic!
  • Oldest really liked all of his school. When I pulled out his Essentials workbook, he actually kissed the cover; he was so excited to begin again. Of everything, however, I think he liked his audio-history with Story of the World the best. Jim Weiss will read the bulk of their history this year, and I’m very grateful to him for that convenience. 
Oldest working hard on his Essentials.
Oldest working hard on his Essentials.

 

Our first maps of the year! Mediterranean Sea, Rome, and the boundaries of the Roman Empire.
Our first maps of the year! Mediterranean Sea, Rome, and the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

 

  • We also took a hot cocoa break during our combined lessons. I’m thinking that may have to be an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t just cozy; it really made the second half of the school lessons something to look forward to. It set the mood for us as we transitioned to history and science (or art and latin on alternate days).

Homeschool First Day

 

Homeschool First Day

Curious about what we’ll be learning this year? Click the link to see!

Time of Our Lives

Several weeks and 45oo miles later, we are settling into —mmm, how shall I say it—less disarray, more order, and not quite as much cardboard.

Homeschool in a box

I’m taking full-advantage of homeschool perks and have not yet begun our homeschool year. I’m giving myself one more week.

In the meantime, we are alternating between emptying our lives out of boxes and actually living our new life.”It’s a patter-en!” says Middlest. “One day we work, and one day we play.” And that sums it up pretty well. I unpacked the kitchen one day, and we baked cookies the next. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…

Toys are unpacked, and so is some of our favorite music, filling our new home with all the sounds that have been confined for far too long in an automobile.

Making Melodies

And we’ve been counting our blessings, literally. One chilly morning, we snuggled on the couch together and took turns saying what we were thankful for in our new home and praying that praise to God. It was a special moment that I want to remember for a long time. The kids thanked God for their rooms and a house with stairs. And Oldest thanked God for our neighbor’s answered prayer. (The day before, our neighbor had mentioned that they had prayed for years that a family would move into our home.)

So, in the midst of this rather hectic time in our lives, thank you for your grace as well, in allowing me time to settle us all into our new home, new ministry, new space, and new life. In the throes of not-quite-back-to-normal, we really are having the time of our lives.

And Lord-willing, I’ll soon settle back into this space as well, blogging about our journey and the grace we’ve been growing in.