Archives

Homeschooling after vacation

Apparently, my kids took our Spring Break as the beginning of summer. We have had a really, REALLY hard time getting back on a routine. The first week home we did some review because I knew we had testing coming up the following week. Plus an unexpected (but welcomed) house guest stayed with us for a few days. So after life got settled down, I thought it will be easy to knock out the next 2 months. We are refreshed and ready to go….or not. Everytime we sat at our table for school time, I dreaded it. I wanted to be doing other things, crafts, science projects and more, not sitting at the table giving another spelling test or reviewing the same concept of a sentence for my special needs child for the millionth time. I love homeschooling, it’s one of my passions, but I was hating it at the same time. Turns out I have Homeschool Burn Out. I don’t know how many times I threatened to send the kids back to school because I was over it. All I wanted to do was throw out our books!

Guess what? I did just that!

We are doing fun learning! Something I call school for Dakota because he “hates” school and it’s boring. I now do for all 3. We put all books away except for our Math. I sat down with my computer and tablet and made lessons plans based on what we are learning and using hands on activities, including lapbooking and notebooking.

Before this happened, I read a few articles online about Homeschool Burn Out, but never really took it seriously. Believe me, it is a serious condition! If I hadn’t taken action, I may have put my kids back in public school. For my kids (not all) that would have been very damaging. Plus I am not sure what I would have done with my day. I am glad something in my mind clicked and said research this. And when I read all the symptoms: depression, not wanting to do school, threatening to put kids in school, tired and irritability. I knew this is what I was fighting. Thankfully, I saw what me and the kids didn’t want to do and changed to the items we were craving, using our creativity!

It’s only been 3 days since I threw out the books, but it has felt so refreshing to be free. I am beginning to see that play really is the best education you can give a child. And I am focused more on doing than filling out a worksheet.

2014 homeschooling schedule

I am excited for this new chapter of schooling. I made some changes that I hope and pray will work because I just don’t know if I can handle throwing out and starting over part 3. Originally we were doing 6 weeks of school and then a 2 week break. This was idea when my kids were younger, but now we are in middle school. And honestly 6 weeks isn’t enough time to fit in all the learning that we wanted to do. Basically any hands on activity and field trips got pushed to the back burner. They have burned to a crisp by now.

Plus I realized when the holidays were upon us, there just wasn’t enough time to do our regular homeschool routine and celebrate with fun activities. So, of course, all the fun was sucked out again. Also I felt like I was always rushed to shop and entertain and homeschool and EVERYTHING!!! I didn’t get to enjoy it!

Well I have found a schedule that will fix all that. January through May, we are doing school consistently with a week off in March for Spring Break. Our spring break will be different every year because we will coordinate with my oldest daughters school schedule. They will also have the occasional day off here or there.  We will wrap our school year up in May and have June and July off for summer break. Then in August we will start our new school year and homeschool strong with the occasional day off through to Thanksgiving. The week of Thanksgiving will mark our Holiday break. We will be off until after the first of the year.

This schedule is just for my older kids. My preschooler will be doing school all the time. His schedule is a little more relaxed. We usually do school 3-4 days a week. And he needs consistency to keep up with what he is learning. These breaks are the perfect time for some one on one time with mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

Here we go again! Throwing out the plans Part 2!

Yes, that is right. I am revamping our homeschool schedule again! This is what I love about homeschooling. The fact that I can stop and change directions on a whim is empowering.

So this what we were doing in the beginning.

I was trying to fit every subject into everyday. I was also trying to do preschool like I did it back 10 years ago in a daycare center. And I was trying to follow the Florida school calendar.

This didn’t work at all!

Then I began:

Doing split scheduling like I did last year. We also started 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off, except preschool. And mostly book work.

Forget about it. With 4 kids that have dentist appointments, doctor appointments, sick days and the everyday household running, I felt like I was flying through the 6 weeks, but not accomplishing anything and rushing my kids through. I would leave out the “fun” part of homeschooling~ all the hands on stuff. And I still had a preschooler who hated school. He woke up twice and told me my school sucked and that he hated school, especially coloring. Plus with Christmas here and all the fun of that, it is hard to fit in school, fun, errands and cleaning.

So for now we are just coasting through. Working on hands on projects, finishing up books that we were reading, practicing our writing and working on Math. For Lil Man, we are making everything hands on. More learning centers, more arts and crafts, more computer and tablet time. And it has been working so far.

But beginning in 2014, we begin a whole new chapter, which the girls and I are very excited about. We are starting back to school January 6 and I will be posting more regular updates then.

Throwing out all my planning and winging it!

We are 2 weeks in to homeschooling and I haven’t found what will work for us. It is so much harder than any of those blogs, the ones that make you feel like your not doing enough, let on. I can’t seem to balance everything. So we are trying last years schedule with some adjustments and additions.

Preschool seems to be the hardest because he wants nothing to do with it or he wants all of my attention. I can’t win really. And trying to get a 4 year old to wait is impossible.

Hopefully next week I can post how everything has worked itself out and is going smoothly.

HOPEFULLY!

 

First Day of homeschool 2013

Here are my angels on their first day.

 

DSCN2328

Dakota on the first day of Preschool. This was our 3rd attempt at a picture.

 

DSCN2330

Brianna on her first day of 6th grade.

 

DSCN2331

Cailin on her first day of her 8th grade gap year. She has a goofy smile because of her uncle standing behind me.

DSCN2332

Here they are my 2013-2014 class!

You know I still can’t believe how fast time flies. When we started our homeschool journey Cailin was going into 3rd and Brianna was in 1st and little man was just a hope and dream!

Not Back to School weeks 2013

Well I hate to say this but the last two weeks of summer for my homeschool kids have sucked!

The weekend before my oldest was to head back to school, my homeschool kids got a really bad cold. So the first week of what was supposed to be fun and HAHA we don’t have school consist of sneezing, coughing, dirty tissues and Mucinex. My poor babies were hit hard. But they were due. Other than a few sniffles here and there, they have been extremely healthy for at least 2 years.

Once they finally got back on their feet which took about a week, it was time for our back to school shopping. No we aren’t shopping for school supplies! We are shopping to stock up the house. I do this at the beginning and end of summer. It was time for a BJ run! At the beginning of summer I took Hubby and 2 kids with me. BIG MISTAKE!! Hubby threw everything in the cart and boom $1000 before coupons! Never again, I tell ya!

This time I had 3 kids and well……….I wasn’t much better……take a look……….

 

DSCN2335

That is my receipt next to my brand new table which is a 108 inches long. My receipt well over half! OOPS! But that’s what happens when you got to stock up the house after going 3 months of non-heavy duty shopping. Plus my table is now full. Yup that’s right there is a total of 8 with 4 being teenagers. Another post coming about that later.

So that being said our not back to school  week wasn’t very fun. Hopefully that’s not an omen for the school year.

Why we are not homeschooling high school this year

I know just last week or so I posted that I would have a Pre-k, a middle schooler and a high schooler.  After much stress and anxiety (about 5 months worth) on my part, my daughter decided she wasn’t ready. She said there were things she wanted to go over and grasp before she jumped into high school. And I was very relieve! But then stressed again because we start school in 2 weeks. 

Are we saying she failed 8th grade? No! My daughter struggled in some minor areas but the majority she passed with flying colors. We are calling it a gap year. Yes all the formal paperwork says 8th grade but to us it is a catch up year. Which we knew she would have an extra year option.

Here in Florida if you turn 5 before September 1, then you start Kindergarten that year. Teachers here hate it! At least all the ones I have come across.  If your birthday is after September 1, you don’t start until the following August. Even though my oldest and middle daughter are 2 years apart, school age they are only one grade apart.  My middle daughter would be graduating before she is even 18. This will also happen for my son who is born in July.

My hubby and I always knew we would have a year if she felt she needed it. And I am really proud of her making the decision to take it now to prepare more knowing that high school is when it counts. Even though she feels terrible for all the money spent (that’s my frugal girl) on the curriculum for 9th grade. It’s not like it won’t get used next year. Plus my hubby was over the moon. He has had a hard time accepting it. I mean just 2 weeks ago we were talking about it and he said well she doesn’t start high school for another year. He has been in denial over the last few months. So when she asked if she could take her gap year he was quick to answer yes! Poor guy couldn’t handle his little girl growing up.

All in all my daughter may not be going into high school yet, but she showed her maturity level by making a very good decision.

 

 

Pre-K, middle and high school

This is my life and the cause of my anxiety. The question of the last 3 months has been how in the heck am I going to homeschool 3 kids at 3 different levels without someone getting left behind or forgotten.

I have a preschooler who needs my attention to learn the basis of learning for the rest of his life. No pressure there!

I have a middle schooler who is severe special needs and is actually on a 3rd grade level.

I have a high schooler who doesn’t need as much guidance but still needs something to make it fun and engaging. Working out of a textbook day in and day out is not going to fly around here.

We are a hands on learning family. So needless to say this next year is going to be a major success or the death of me. Regardless it should make some great blog post.

If only I was a more organized mom

I feel like I have a lot of missed opportunities when it comes to my kids. And sometimes (ok A LOT of times) I think if I was more organized then I wouldn’t miss them so much. I feel like we miss out on a lot of the fun aspects of homeschooling because I am so focus on finishing the books and saying we did it. I am definitely missing out on things with my son because of being so focused on the girls and not having a plan of attack. Sometimes he will ask to do school and then I have to scramble. And to me that sucks! I feel like it is half ass done then.

I also feel like if I was more organized then we could do the experiments and the art that my kids thrive on. We could take the field trips that they drive me crazy about.

For example, this past Monday I thought I was having oral surgery done. And I had nothing planned for the kids to work on while I was recovering. I had barely any menu planned that wasn’t microwavable and processed. I felt terrible. Luckily the surgery didn’t happen and I am feel to live about my life without stitches in my mouth and with yummy solid food in my belly. But then yesterday, reality hit that I have no meal plan, no grocery list made, no homeschool plan, coupons from the last month that needs organizing and a huge TO DO pile that has deadlines.

So I am determined to get more organized this year (what’s left of it). I want to make my life easier. I want to have time to myself because right now all I do is cook, clean and try to get organize. I have no hobby or anything for me. And I realized that I need that, no crave that me time.

First things first, the present task at hand. We have to eat, so bring on the meal plan. I usually try to make a months worth of menus but decided a week was good considering everything going on.

Then grocery list!

Homeschool plan is very vague and non detailed but gives me an idea of what to accomplish so done there.

Work on coupons with the kids.

And I want my To Do list done by Friday.

So that leaves the weekend open to think of more ways to organize and make my world simpler.

Why I homeschool?

10 years ago I would have never thought I would be a homeschooling mom.

But now 6 years into this journey, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Let me paint you a picture of my former life.

I was a normal suburban mom. I got the kids up in the morning, fed them breakfast and off to school we went. Some days I would stay and volunteer all morning. Other days I did grocery shopping or leisurely shopping. I made lunch dates. Then I would go back and pick my kids up and go home to homework, dinner and bath time. And always couldn’t wait until bedtime. OH MY bedtime couldn’t come fast enough. One year I was even a PTA board member. Voted as volunteer of the year in our school! Homeschooling never even crossed my mind. I loved being away from my kids.

So how in the world did I become a homeschooling mom?

We moved out to the country. And people weren’t as nice as they were in our old neighborhood. I wasn’t embraced by the school, teachers or PTA and neither were my kids. We came in the middle of the year and that made us different. Why I am not sure? Tons of people move schools in the middle of a school year. Out here it made us outcast. I had a daughter who was brilliant and they couldn’t see it. And a daughter that would freeze and have a panic attack at the mention of a test and they didn’t care.

Down here in Florida we have an annual test called the FCAT. Like a standardize test, but Florida thought it would be fun to say if you don’t pass this test in 3rd or 12th grade, you don’t pass or get a diploma. So the teachers were under pressure and they put their students under pressure. This wasn’t a good situation for someone with a test anxiety. So I talked to the teachers. The results were deal with it because the State of Florida says this is the way it is. Let me tell you, I tried to walk away from this teacher without an argument. But she followed me out into the hallway and confronted me. After a huge argument which got me labeled as the Bitch mom. I walked away and decided no one was going to tell me to deal with it. This was the day we decided to homeschool.

At first it started with just my oldest two children. But half-way through the year, my youngest joined. Over the years, my kids have chosen home or school. I think we finally got it right with my oldest in a regular public school and my 3 youngest homeschooling. It fits everyone’s personalities and makes everyone happy.

It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. And there are days when I am like what was I thinking!?! But to see my test anxiety child, who hated reading and took 3 hours to write spelling sentences, pick up a book on her own and fall in love with the characters and stories was amazing. To see her read a 700 page book with joy, unbelievable. And now I am experiencing it with my special needs child. Who always felt safer to stick with the easy reader books, branch out and found, not 1 but 2 series that has her excited for our library trips. There were tears, fights, judgement and criticism. Still is.

But I have seen so much and learned so much through homeschooling and my kids.

I realized I love them more everyday! And being with them to watch them grow is a blessing.