I am homeschooling the ‘big 4’ this year- Harper, 6 & Warner, Crews, and Maverick – 5 . Haven, 2, certainly tags along and tries to interrupt quite a bit. But, now that we have been schooling for about 2 1/2 months, I think we’ve found a little groove. The beauty of home school is that it can be flexible. While we have our school groove – the time of day we get into our groove changes. Last night, Harper and I did school at 5pm. It wasn’t the best time, but we had not had a chance to get school in yesterday any earlier.
I’m using My Father’s World curriculum with both Harper and the boys. Last year I was very frustrated at the speed the kindergarten lesson moved. I knew we could be doing more. I wanted to push Harper- to see her achieve more. Now that we are in the this year, I am so thankful that I did MFW last year. While it wasn’t super speedy, it gave me some steady footing in learning how to be a teacher! I tried some other curriculum this year, and I went back to MFW for first grade. It is just a good fit for our family. I love how the curriculum is centered on the Bible. One of Harper’s first history lesson was on the Jewish calendar in comparison to our standard calendar. We are following the calendar throughout the year. We are looking at the history as well as the festivals in the Jewish calendar, and I am LOVING learning about this! Harper is learning to read with a very strong foundation. Math is made fun! (We tried another math program earlier this year and she pretty much dreaded it.) MFW is very gentle in its approach, but gives a solid lesson plan so I know exactly what to expect. In the next few weeks she will begin reading from a Bible reader. I love that these words are some of the first she is internalizing! Oh, and the art program with MFW is Drawing with Children and Harper is goo-goo eyed over art right now!
I am reusing a lot of the MFW kindergarten curriculum that I used last year for Harper, for the boys. I just had to order a few more packs of the consumable worksheets. They boys are liking it. They are frustrated at handwriting. They ADORE math and are really accelerated in that area (which honestly freaks me out a little.) For example, I taught them how to count by 2’s. We counted together one time from 0-100, and they got it. Harper, still doesn’t understand that. It will have to be memory work for her, and that is okay. But I was shocked how easily the boys caught on!
For the boys’ school time, I have them all sit down at the table with me. It’s like they are my little class. We do Bible, poetry, letters, math, writing, and we finish by me reading them a book. You would think this would take hours… it doesn’t. It takes about 30-45 minutes depending on what our day holds. Sometimes we add in art, sometimes science outside.
The girls are usually playing together while I am teaching the boys. It is so cool to see them stop playing and come sit on the floor to listen when something is interesting to them! I pull the boys to the side individually a night a week to work on something that may be frustrating to them. Most of the time it is writing, but lately we’ve been putting letters together for reading and they are loving that!
Harper and I do school while Haven and (sometimes) the boys are resting. If we happen to get it done before lunch – hooray! But, most of the time we do not. It is a wonderful time to connect with her one on one. Our time together takes about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.
Haven, being 2, still requires a lot of my time and attention. But, Thursday morning are our time together. We run errands, read books, she helps me do laundry (kind of!), or she plays with any toy in the house without being bossed. I love Thursday mornings with my little Gussy girl. On school days, she will color, play with an alphabet letter board, look at books, play with salt in a tray, or play with her babies.
The big 4 attend a co-op program on Thursdays from 8:30-3. We begin the day with family worship from 8:30- 9, and every week I am encouraged. We pray for countries around the world, learn about missionaries, sing together, and pray over the kids. There they do the following classes : Five in a Row (boys)- literature based with fun activities, Galloping the Globe (Harper) – learning about countries around the world, PE, Music, Science- fun & messy experiments that aren’t always fun for mom to do in the home, Art (Harper), and Legos (boys). We are connecting with other families, and I get a little time to do some errands/ to-do list items.
I love this season of our lives. It is un-rushed yet filled with chaos. But the chaos is just childhood chaos, which is not really chaos at all. Just loud, messy, laughing, passionate, & occasionally fighting little children – which I am seeing a treasured chaos. I am learning so much on how to connect with their hearts, and I can’t wait to share with you more on that! (Vlog!) Home school has been a huge blessing to our family. We are not dead set on homeschooling through all of school. However, at this state I want to! I just wanted to capture a little of what 1st grade and kindergarten are like for us right now.
I have to say I was very nervous about taking this job as their teacher, but it has proved to be so fulfilling and such a blessing. The toddler years are HARD. And I was afraid I was signing up for an extended year of exhausting work. Now that Harper is 6 and the boys are 5, we are just entering into these precious years where their hearts want to please. They are learning to communicate their feelings – which would cause so many melt downs and tantrums in the early years. I know the thought of sending kids to school is very much a mental & physical relief for some mamas. And I can say there are days when I wish they were in school, but those days are few and far between. But, I am loving our slow mornings with no deadline to be up and out of the house. I love preparing lunch at lunch time instead of packing lunches the night before (I had to do this when they were in preschool and I hated it!) I love that they are having a slow childhood this year, and we are truly enjoying each other. It is much more peaceful than exhausting. I would truly be sad to send them away to school every day. But, this is just this season in our life. I am embracing it…we will see what the future holds.