Saturday, October 2, 2010

Our School Year Begins

Our plan was to begin school the first week of October. But the closer that time came, I found myself seriously procrastinating. It didn't help that September's weather was far closer to summer than at any other time this year. Who wants to miss out on sunny days? However, we did begin last Tuesday, slowly. On Monday, when I told Alec we would begin the following day, he wasn't at all pleased. I thought he'd be the one I'd have trouble with but, no, he was the first one up and hasn't had any difficulties all week. What a pleasant surprise. Carmen has been eagerly awaiting school time and though the first hour was difficult, she has enjoyed the week, being very proud of herself when she gets everything on her schedule accomplished.

My challenge has been Chad. He has grown considerably this year and become more independent. His brain, of course, has not grown as fast. He is finding it difficult to listen to instruction, along with his new and more difficult math. We are both finding our way, I think. After several lectures, I finally remembered to pray for his attitude. It's hard for me - one minute we are talking like friends and the next, I have to be his mother and then, I have to be his teacher. Sigh.

What I don't like, as I read my first paragraph up there, is how structured our school sounds. I really feel that learning should flow, not be boxed in but we do need some structure to our day. I do up a small schedule for each child every week as my kids like knowing what they have to do and like checking the boxes when they finish an assignment. There's nothing wrong with that until I read someone unschooling or Charlotte Mason-ing or whatever. But then, I must remember that our homeschool will look very different from anyone else's. We are such a mixed bag - perhaps I should avoid reading about different methods of homeschooling. I was in need of motivation this past few weeks and got out some of my homeschool books and magazines for inspiration. As long as I use these resources as a guide and don't let them confuse me. Here I am a veteran homeschooler - I need to remember my focus and rely on God for guidance.

But we have finished our first week. We have started slowly and I plan to add, adjust and rethink as we go. That is definitely a benefit to this lifestyle of learning - nothing is set in stone.


jugglingpaynes said...

There was actually a discussion about this last week after one of the comics I posted. The thing is, even us veterans need to relearn things for each child. That's the beauty of homeschooling them! Sierra was born independent, so I adopted a more unstructured unschooling path for her. Chase likes a routine, so I have him to read through different subjects in the morning. At this age (14) I try to let him be more independent in his studies but I help him when he needs it.

What kind of math is Chad working on? With Marina, I had to scrap the math book we were using when she reached algebra and we used the library to try out other math texts and books. Even after all that, she still had trouble passing the placements at college when it came to the algebra portion, however, we found that many of the kids from the public schools in our area were also retaking that portion of the placement. Experiment. Let Chad try other methods. It's best to do this sooner before he loses confidence with it. I know that from experience.

Peace and Laughter,

Mama Self said...

Ahh, getting back into the swing of things. I find myself trying to do that each Monday! Just remember that each day is a new beginning, that you are so blessed having your children at home with you (even when they're difficult), that you are allowed to change techniques as needed, and that God will never leave you nor forsake you. With that, my friend, you'll be ready to conquer this school year! Blessings!

Cate said...

Sounds like you are already on to it. Having homeschooled older kids, I found that things evolved til eventually they & I would look at what needed to be achieved over the week and write that down. I then allowed them the flexibility of setting their own timetable to do that work - which may mean working at night if they've been out during the day etc. It seems to have prepared them well for tertiary studies.

I also used a maths tutor, which in my son's case especially, worked well, giving him one on one time with an older man, and a break from his mother as well :-)

If you get the chance, I'd love you to pop over to see my new series, and to drop me an email at nzcate at

C x