Thursday, May 14, 2009

Homeschooling - Year End Review

My goodness, we are coming into the home stretch. Only a few more weeks of school to go!! This year has been a roller coaster to say the least. On the high notes, Sarah and I learned so much. We were challenged by each others personalities and getting used to a different aspect of our relationship. Visits to Virginia were a lot easier on her, school days were shorter and we were able to take quit a few field trips!

So what have I learned...

Sarah is almost as stubborn as I am. Thank goodness I have a few years on her. When we first started homeschooling, things were all rosy. Then role clashes began. Sarah was used to me being in the mom leader role, but had some challenges adjusting to me being the "teacher" as well. It took almost 6 months to iron those out! At some points, Daniel and I were ready to pull our hair out! But God is faithful. Earlier this year, Sarah started to calm down and accept her role as a student. She had a choice of going back to public school or straightening out. Since she enjoyed the more robust curriculum, she decided to straighten out her behavior. We still have challenging days, but nothing compared to what we were experiencing in the beginning.

Next, I have to be on the ball with lesson plans. This one was a tough one. I'm not the best at being super detailed in planning. When I did this poorly, our days suffered. When I took the time to write everything out, our days went more smoothly.

Another key to homeschooling is to not get involved in too many things. Daniel and I decided to sign up for a home school group. I think this would have been a great thing, but for our first year it came to be too much. I gave up on the Monday classes about 3 months into the school year. It didn't help that we faced 3 family crisis' around that same time and had Sarah on the swim team. The key to beginning home school is to start slowly. Once you have the basic schooling down pat, add in the extra things. Next year, I plan on trying to join the home school group again. It's a great way for Sarah to get to know other homeschooling children.

Last but not least, flexibility is key. Sarah whizzed through Science and History but had some issues in the beginning with Math and Health. Because we were homeschooling, I was able to stop moving forward and focus on the areas where she was having problems. This improved her confidence in both subjects. She will now tell you that she finds math boring even though it's one of her best subjects!

As for next year, Daniel is planning to teach the Language portion of Sarah's curriculum. While I'm good at Language, I in no way compare to him. I believe that Sarah will get more out of that section and that her writing will improve with his guidance. He also plans on starting to teach her music. I can't wait to see how that works. I'm really excited to see what he will do with Sarah.

I will continue teaching Sarah all the other core subjects. I do plan on adding in a bible curriculum and an art aspect as well. I didn't do so well at keeping up with daily devotions this year. Nor was I able to effectively incorporate art into our days. Lord willing I'll be able to manage it all.

As I said before, planning and time management are key. This summer I hope to write out all of next years lesson plans before the school year starts. I also want to research some interesting field trips that are within driving distance and space them throughout the year. Daniel and I plan on using spring break next year to do another learning vacation. We were blessed to be able to take Sarah to Charleston this year as part of our beginning study on the history of South Carolina. In addition to that, our friend Marci treated us to a trip to the Georgia Aquarium and the Natural History Museum in Alabama. We also made it to the Columbia Zoo and the Greenville Zoo.

I can't wait to see what next year brings. I really believe that next year will go a bit more smoothly now that we've gotten our feet wet!

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