I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting the last couple weeks. Deciding to Homeschool is a big, hairy, scary monster of a decision. My child’s education, and future rests on my shoulders. That responsibility is heavy. It’s scary, and for the last two years, I have battled my insecurities about “how to Homeschool without screwing the kids up” by piling on the work. It’s been all about rigor, and challenge, and maybe, sort of, making myself crazy.
Over the last couple years, long time readers of this blog have seen me question again and again how to teach my children. How to keep them appropriately challenged. How to make sure the work I am giving them is the right fit for them. How to keep my sanity when they are bottomless pits for information.
Experienced Homeschoolers have told me to RELAX! but did I? Nope.
Bug has torn through everything I have thrown at him. Everything. We’ve gone through enough Math curriculum (not tried, but started, solved every last problem, and finished) in the last 15 months to cover K-3 math. He’s working well ahead in almost every subject. He’s just chugging along, eating it all up. He’s happy with a challenge, and I’ve been happy to provide one for him.
I’ll tell you what though, you don’t cover that much ground without taking a lot of time to do it. I don’t feel like I have been pushing him. He doesn’t cry over work, or get bored or complain. He is happily learning, and I have been happily teaching. But…. something doesn’t feel right.
So much of my time is spent each day keeping him challenged. But you know what? I have two more little people in this house who need my time and attention. Mr. Man is on fire. This kid is thoroughly enjoying learning how to read and write, and is also picking up on math concepts quickly. Even Little Miss is learning each day, singing songs, and practicing the motor skills that allow her to scale all the furniture and unlock all the safety locks in the house.
I don’t really know what happened, or when I had this epiphany, but….
I’m missing the little years.
I’m missing out on picking flowers just to pick them. I’m missing out on macaroni necklaces. I’m missing out on picture books, and cute crafts. I’m missing out on celebrating holidays. I’m missing out on these things that make teaching early elementary fun and schooling memorable for these precious little people I promised to do my best by.
So, I have a plan, and a new goal for my school this year. Don’t worry, I’m not giving everything up. But I am changing everything up.
I’ve put away almost all the purchases I made for this year for the time being. They can wait. Bug needs this time to be little. Sure, he may be capable of long division and doing research and diagramming sentences. That doesn’t mean those materials are right for him or we need to be doing them right now.
Needing More time to Just be one of the Littles
Right now in my home I have little people. And by golly, we are going to do little people things. Bug can hold on a little bit and let his maturity level grow to match his academic abilities. I want to go “wider and deeper” with him instead of faster, which may mean we do two years of third grade materials instead of one. (Don’t worry family reading this- He’d STILL be “ahead” even if we do that.)
While I am doing that with Bug, this is what I want to be doing with the WHOLE family:
- I want to find a rhythm for our Homeschool
- I want to focus more on Mr. Man’s reading, writing and math skills
- I want to go back to having circle time every morning
- I want to do crafts and include Little Miss as much as possible
- I want to do Tot School, and more Five in a Row and other fun, educational things with the Littles
- I want to spend more time outdoors enjoying nature and this beautiful world around us
- I want to play more, and sit at a desk less
I have a plan to pull this all off, and hope to have a box day post to share with you soon to be more specific about the program I am moving Bug to, which will free me up considerably while still giving him a solid education. I am not getting rid of the wonderful programs we are using right now with Bug, but am instead pushing off most of them at least until the end of the summer (year around Homeschoolers here!) if not until the start of our next school year in January. We are still going to do wonderful Reviews with the Schoolhouse Crew, which will give Bug the challenges he needs (You didn’t for a second think we would stop, right? We *LOVE* being on the Crew and the wonderful Homeschool products we get to use!).
Mostly, I am changing MY focus. I am going to focus more on helping this kids find the magic in their childhood, and balance my attention more between the Big and the Littles. I’m hoping I feel more balanced and less like I am missing out on something with a change of focus.
What do you think? Have you ever made drastic changes in your Homeschool? Are things working for you right now?