Thursday, August 17, 2006

School at Home

Eleven years of homeschool books

I admit, I am a little burnt out on homeschooling. We are getting ready to start our 12th year in a few weeks and I am a little scared. When we first started, lo, those many years ago, I had one little boy in Kindergarten. He was just as new to the process of learning as I was to the process of teaching. Last spring, at the end of his 10th grade year, he decided to go to school. You know, real school. As if what we have been doing all this time isn't real. So after I waved my teary eyed goodbyes one March morning(stop laughing), I headed back in the house to...clean it? start on one of the million projects I have been meaning to do for the last 10 years? No, I headed back in to get started on our home school day for the other 4 kids still doing school at home. And this September I am getting ready to teach Kindergarten for the 6th time, 2nd grade for the 5th time, 4th grade for the 4th time, 6th grade for the 3rd time, and 8th grade for the 2nd time.

Darn it, I am tired of being tired of teaching. I want it to be fun. I want to make models of the ear out of boxes and blankets and toys. I want to run around the outside of the house singing "Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho!" at the top of our lungs. I want to go out to the field and hunt for leaves and things to make art projects with. Again. Because I have done all those things with that one little Kindergarten boy. As the years have passed and I have gotten more and more overwhelmed with the sheer number of children in my care I have let the fun go and have gone to just getting through the day. We just do the basics and forget about the fun science experiments and art projects and history lessons that aren't just reading and answering questions but are acting and playing and cementing history in their minds forever. I put the books in front of them and then get frustrated when they seem to have no interest in learning.

With that in mind, I have changed my plan of attack for this year. I have actually planned out the science experiments and history projects that we will be doing. I have all the supplies ready to go so when it is time to do a project I won't have an excuse not to do it. Now all I need is the patience to sit back and let the kids do the discovering instead of wanting to hurry through. Usually when I get in a hurry I take over the experiment and they watch. Yeah, that sounds fun. Oh, and in case planning out the all projects sounds like a set up for failure ("what happened to FUN and SPONTANEITY," you ask incredulously) you are probably right. So another part of my plan of attack is...ready? sure?...Flexibility. Yep, you read it here first. Not only am I planning on having some patience, but I have introduced a new word into my vocabulary: Flexibility. Sure I planned the whole school year, but the nice thing about having all my plans on the computer in a program called Homeschool Tracker is that I can use the "reschedule" feature. Or even the "delete" feature.
We have some challenging subjects planned

And some that look a little more fun

Yet again I am feeling optimistic about our upcoming year. Possibly even excited. My goal is for the kids to learn that while your work isn't always easy, you can still have fun with school. Oh yeah, and when it gets hard, Mom is there to help but she isn't going to do it for you. Hopefully we will have lots of pictures of cool projects to share.


Cathy said...


If you're up for fun let's plan a nature day together, Mrs. Flexible. We'll call it science. Or a day off.

Cristy said...

Sure, let me check my schedule. heeeeee