A Few Things I’m Learning About Homeschooling
We have a month of school under our belts, the routines coming back to all of us like muscle memory. As always, I’ve tweaked the plans I made in optimistic July with the reality of September. Some things just take longer, some things we’ve shelved for another year or season because they ended up not being a good fit for us. This year feels different and it is different- this is the first year in forever that I’m not teaching someone to read or balancing read aloud time with a toddler‘s attention span. My time is needed differently this year and I’m learning how to guide my eighth grader, coach my sixth grader and teach my second grader. I’ve grieved the change in our homeschool, we’re not in the wonder- filled early elementary years anymore. Wonder and delight are still there, they just look a little different and I have to protect the time for them.
I’m not matching our read alouds to our history time period, like I have done obsessively in the past. I consult a few booklists and trusted resources and we read what sounds appealing to us. I’m also not fussy about keeping our composers or artists in the time same period. We are studying both but in the context of podcasts, conversations and memories of some art pieces we’ve been able to see in real life. This is how we’ve studied for years but this year I’m letting go of the guilt and embracing our eclectic ways. Our September read aloud, Adventures in Waffles, had us all laughing and often reading another chapter which feels like a huge win for me. There is simply not enough time to read all the books I want to read to my children and I want the books we do read together to be remembered with fondness.
Switching curriculum can be life-giving. I chose a new to me history program after reading a few reviews and it has proven to be a winner. I love history and learning alongside my kids but after using the same history program for a few years I was feeling bored and uninspired. This new curriculum still follows the four year cycle that I love and has been the backbone of our school since the early years but with a greater emphasis on church history and geography. ( The curriculum is Biblioplan for the inquiring minds)
Tech plays a much bigger role in our schoolhouse than I would have imagined in our Montessori/Charlotte Mason inspired roots. I‘m still not sure what I think of it about it. It it is a handy tool for studying art when we can’t go to the museums, a call to our mornings time via a song or teaching the kids geography facts.
Change is the only constant, it’s a cliche because it’s true. What worked a few years ago or even last year may not work for us this year. I strive to be a student of my students and after being at this gig for a few years, I‘ve learned to let go of other people’s ideals and focus on what works for our family. Quieting social media and choosing just a few coaches to listen to helps tremendously. I printed out our vision statement and it sits on our sideboard as a guide to run new ideas by or to determine what to say yes to in this age of a plethora of opportunities.
I am prioritizing teatime. Last year we only did poetry teatime a handful of times and I determined that we would make it a weekly habit again this year. I gave it a permanent slot in our week and so far we haven’t missed gathering for tea and treats. It’s been a delightful way for us to gather together, read poetry or picture books and for me to remember one of the reasons we homeschool- time together in pursuit of what is true, good and beautiful.
I’d love to hear how your September has been, what new things you’re learning and reading and discovering?