Friday, May 1, 2015

The end of our first year

The kids have completed the last of their workbooks, we are done...

I had meant to post more, but the first year of homeschooling got in the way! I can't believe we are here. We did it. I feel like I should get some major award or something. In all seriousness, it has been an awesome year. I taught my daughter to read. I did that. Me. Wow. I was so afraid to get started this year, I held back from pulling C out of public school earlier, because I was afraid. Yet, I accomplished it. I accomplished what I was most afraid of and I did it well. I taught my kids and they learned.

Has it been a hard year? Yes and no. The actual teaching part was the easiest part. The teacher guides walked me through each lesson. My kids seem to pick up most things pretty fast, so there was only a few times I needed to find ways to get them to understand. Thank-goodness to pinterest for the wealth of ideas and games. The only real stuggles we had were with spelling and handwritting. I learned to give myself permission to go at our own rate. Once I did it was fantastic.

The hard part of homeschooling was dealing with the "I'm bored" my 7yo constantly complained about. It was hard for my kids to turn off cartoons and start focusing on school in the mornings. I thought about no cartoons in the morning. Honestly, it would have helped. The truth is, I need that time to run a load of laundry, throw dinner in the crockpot or to simply say 'hi' to my friends on facebook. I also tried starting a rough morning off with art. This is perfect for M, but C not so much. What has worked best was starting a marble jar. Once they complete a subject they drop a marble into their jar. They each need to reach a certain number of marbles to be allowed to play games on their Kindles for one hour after dinner.

The best part of this year was seeing  C grow as a reader. When we began this journey he didn't love reading. He thought reading was ok, but if he could get out of it he would. Now? He loves to read. I even have a rough estimate of books he has read over this school year. Are you ready? 84 chapter books. Not books I read to him. Not comic books. I am beyond proud of him. Not bad for a second grader!

M loves school. I am able to bend our time learning around her. When she begins to struggle keeping focus, I pull out a puzzle or a coloring book. I've also been buying games for her to sit and play to increase her ability to stay focused. I often wonder how she would have done in a traditional classroom. She likes to move, play, color and draw. She turns in numerous worksheet with drawings on top of her's ok I just have her verbalize what I can no longer see. I feel like she has the freedom to be herself and I get the opportunity to witness it everyday.

I am seeing some areas I'd like to do better about next year. When I first started, I looked at the curriculum guides and wrote everything down in a planner. I realized pretty quick it wasn't helping me, so I stopped. Then towards the end of the year I found I needed to make sure we hit certain goals during our week. I started with a vague outline in my planner. By the end of the year, I was thrilled I had a weekly plan. Its funny how you just find what works for you. I'm excited to start planning out my next year!

I am most excited about pulling out all my new books for next year and getting everything ready! But I'll make sure we have lots of fun in the sun this summer, too!

Next years books!!!!