Monday, February 11, 2013

Mom hints: homeschooling

I've been a homeschooling mom for 22 years now.  I can hardly believe it's been so long.  We've been through a lot of ups and downs, the kids and I, together.  Times when I burned out, times when they burned out.  Times when I wondered if everyone else was right, and I was ruining them...
  We did a very small stint in the church school when we first moved to Grandview, but it didn't take long before I knew it wasn't right, and the kids needed to be home.  I missed them.

Even now, I can't claim to have a lot of wisdom, because people homeschool in so many different styles.  There are those who want to follow the public school system in the way they teach.  Those who use every minute of the day to school.  I've met a mom or two who say their husbands have to come home from working all day and help with the housework and cooking because it takes them all day to school the children.  That is amazing to me.  One thing I decided a LONG time ago was that our school day would not last more than two hours.  I am not just a homeschooling mommy: I am also a clean the house mommy, a wash the clothes mommy, a cook the meals mommy, and a lay back on the couch and read a book mommy...

Many times I hear other moms say they could never homeschool their children, they just don't have that much patience.  I always think it's not a virtue to have patience with your own children.  That should just be a given.  By that, I don't mean you never get frustrated or lose your temper.  And I do confess that it takes some maturing and learning to give up some things in order to keep your children with you 24 hours a day, and take on the responsibility of schooling them.  But honestly, with the internet today, it's a lot easier than it was 22 years ago, when I started homeschooling and did not own a computer!

There are some wonderful online places to turn too.  This is the first year we have really tried it as our only source for certain subjects.  We have used Monarch for English and Math for Angel-Leah this year.  She has enjoyed it so much, and gets her lessons done really quick.
For Luke, because he is in the second grade, and Monarch doesn't start until the third,  we have been using Khan academy, a free online learning center.  He is doing great there and enjoys it - in fact, many times, he asks to do his math there as soon as he gets up in the mornings.  I tried this out with Selah, who is in the first grade, but quickly decided she needs workbooks for another year or so.  Doing math on the computer is a bit too confusing for her.

I also let the younger kids play on Jumpstart.  They hardly even realize they are learning, they have so much fun.

I bought a couple of Leapsters for learning games, too.  Those are a great hit - in fact, it's what Selah wanted for an adoption present.  Because they are a bit expensive, I make them share, but you can find the Leapster itself, and the games on Ebay.  I got a great deal on one there!

Homeschooling is so much less stressful for children - you can do it in your pajamas!!

Selah's weight has been a problem since I've know her, she is a tiny, skinny child.  Since Christmas, she has had a lot of time at home:  three weeks of school vacation, then back for a few days, then, when her adoption was final, I withdrew her from public school and began homeschooling her.  She has gained a few pounds since being home fulltime, and I attribute that to my being more able to watch whether she eats or not, more sleep since she doesn't have to be dragged out of bed before the crack of dawn, and just overall less stress!

Another good thing our family discovered is homeschooling co op's.  I resisted those for many years because I felt like if you are going to homeschool, then you need to school at home!!  But I finally gave in, and have learned that a co op is really a good thing.  The kids go once a week for a few hours depending on how many classes we want to take.  They are taking things like hymn photography, solar system, fun with numbers, anatomy...and I'm even teaching a couple of classes, which is good for me, too, and I am enjoying it.

Here are my five who are homeschooling, arriving at co op.

Of course, there is always at least one who looks back...

... but that's okay, because momma comes to co op, too.  Homeschool co op is not a "drop off" activity.  At least one parent is required to be there and take part by teaching or volunteering in some other way.  It's good for us mommas anyway to get out of the house and spend time with other homeschooling moms.  We make a lot of new friends.

Now I'm not one of those homeschooling moms who lets her kids make cookies and calls the measuring, "math".  But it's still something we like to do, so this afternoon, when other kids were still stuck in a public school classroom, we did it!

I have some kiddos who concentrate hard on decorating their cookies:

And I have one who just wanted to eat the decorations...

haha - caught him on camera!!

And then we had our only public school sister - Miss Cynthia, adopted almost three weeks ago, who is still going to public school, and who came home and sampled the work we did while she was gone:

Cynthia thrilled my heart a couple of days ago, when she told me that she thinks maybe she will finish out this year in public school, then stay home with us next year.

We welcome her!!


  1. khanacademy is real good.

  2. What a blessing to read today, especially when our school has been taking us so long during the day! I've got to find a way to get it all done - this week was tough! But - then again - every time we make changes, it takes time to work the kinks out!


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