Sunday, August 19, 2018

A New School Year

If you're anything like me, your Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of back-to-school pictures and posts. Just because we homeschool does not mean that we don't have a fair amount of this "back-to-schoolism" ourselves. Next week, Therese (17) and Nicholas (15) will be starting dual credit classes at Lone Star (community college). Therese is taking 12 hours and Nicky (I think he's going to go by Nick) is taking 6. If he handles that well, I'll bump him up next semester. I feel very good about him doing Lone Star. Therese has already applied to several colleges, and she is applying for every scholarship in sight. I can't believe she'll be gone next year!

As for the twins, I'm having that, "But I haven't really taught you anything!" crisis of confidence that I think we all go through. They are in 8th grade and my time is running out. They are the ones who constantly reassure me that they have learned plenty over the years. Intellectually, I know this to be true, but I can't stop beating myself up with the notion that I could have done so much better. If I could start over homeschooling today, I would do so much better! Of course, I have ten years experience under my belt now...

If you're just starting out homeschooling, I have a few tips for you:

  • At the beginning of the year, unless it's a total disaster, pick a curriculum (or your lesson plan) and stick with it. Jumping around rarely suits anyone, apart from the ADHD curriculum mother.
  • Realize that your kids are learning all the time. Many homes other than homeschooling ones foster a constant culture of learning. I grew up in one. I would say that the vast majority of homeschooling homes fall into this category. My kids are always watching something scientific or historical on TV, they watch brain stuff on YouTube, and they play learning apps. Obviously, we talk about everything all the time, too. Just because they are not learning it at the schoolroom table does not mean that learning isn't happening.
  • Don't let some subjects slide. Voracious readers will learn reading, writing, and spelling without even being aware of it, but math is usually something that has to be taught and drilled. Once behind, it's very hard to catch up.
  • You don't have to homeschool like anyone else. Do co-op or don't. Do formal field trips or don't. Make changing a light bulb a science lesson or just change the dang thing. Find your own path.
  • Don't waste too much time on regrets. If you come to a point where you realize something wasn't working or it was a dead end, change it up, but don't beat yourself up about it. 
Ask me how I learned all of the above...and have a great year.

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