Home School With a Block Schedule

I haven’t written about our home school world in a while or ever. Maybe because I never feel like I know anymore than any other home school person out there. Yet, I have come to let many things go and focus on the fact that those of us that home school do it our own way. We have our own lives, goals, family needs, needs of each child, etc., which we have to work into a routine to work best for us. It has taken us a bit of time because of many different things that came into play over the past 6 years. Seemed once I THOUGHT I had it all figured out something would occur…a new baby, a lay off, working from home, a different job or shift, etc.

Yet, I now believe that those past 6 years of learning how we work and reflecting on things I have read have led me to a state of PEACE with how we have been functioning over the past few months. Things are clicking for us in MANY areas of our home that it feels really good. I hesitate to share, because I think part of my frustration the past 6 years came from a sense that I needed to do what others were doing. Although, I also have taken pieces of what I learned as a High School teacher and pieces of everything I have absorbed as a home school Mom and applied it. With that said I suppose sharing may help someone on their journey.

Basically, during BOTH weeks we attend our Academic Co-Op one day a week and the other four days we do our Reading, Spelling, Handwriting, Math, and Co-Op homework each morning. Their homework this year is an essay, Geography work, and extra grammar or math review sheets. Then we have lunch. Evenings are pretty much the same each week as well. After we are home from their activities (dance, tumbling, horses, karate, scouts, gymnastics) and settled down for the evening we do reading/storytime. Each evening we read from a different area Monday is a Literature book, Tuesday US History, Wednesday is a book of their choosing, Thursday is World History and Map work, and Friday is poetry/Shakespeare.

During Week #1 our afternoons include our elective/hobby work and projects around home. We are also working to make sure all our appointments and play dates are done during this week. Things we do during this week are random home projects, yard work, cleaning the house, bulk baking and cooking (which the kids help with all steps), sewing, knitting, and anything else we want to learn to do.

During Week #2 our afternoons include studies of typical elective classes. These include our own

  • Geography work (2 lessons during week)
  • My son’s Scout badge activities (1 lesson/week)
  • My son’s religion work (1 lesson/week)
  • My son’s US History curriculum (1 chapter and activities/week)
  • Human Body Study/Sex – Ed/Anatomy whatever you want to call it (1 lesson each/week)
  • Language Arts which includes grammar, literature, and writing (2 lessons/week)
  • A Science experiment (1 lesson/week)
  • Science (1 lesson/week)

We do prioritize these as some of their workbooks are not a full year. Other things around the house take a back seat this week. We just maintain our world as we have 5 LONG full days of book work.

I have been feeling so much better knowing we are covering all our interests and all the things I feel they should be learning, but in such a manner that nobody hates learning here. We never feel overwhelmed and we are learning primarily through primary texts rather than textbooks.

Remember this is a system that is NOT perfect, but one that I have finally found works the best for the demands and structure of our family AT THIS STAGE of our lives. I am guessing in a couple of years things will change and require me to adjust AGAIN! All good as long as they are getting what they need.

God Bless! I am praying for you please pray for me!!

You Are Doing What? Homeschooling Really?

Let me begin by taking a journey back in time about 20 years ago sitting at my Grandma’s kitchen table learning my Uncle and Aunt were going to home school.  I remember saying and thinking the very same thing I assume nearly every one says when they hear someone is home schooling ….”How will they learn to communicate with others?” Now I laugh hysterically loud at myself for being so naive and even uneducated about how people really learn to communicate with each other. Over the years I grew to stop thinking about home schooling at all.  In my mind it was just something some people choose to do to educate their children.  I do recall thinking the girls were quiet or shy, but never thinking that was due to homeschooling. I just figured that was their personality.

Now jump ahead to my 20-something years. I am beginning my public school teaching experience and associating with people that challenged me in my thinking of school, character, faith, government, etc. I began to have my heart and eyes opened to what I know to be the truth about a great deal of things. I had not really decided to home school my kids when they arrived; heck, I wasn’t even married yet. As time went on I just came to know home schooling was what we would do. Figuring out how to convince others that was the right thing is another story. We eventually decided convincing people wasn’t our job or place. Our role was just to let God lead us through this journey and He would take care of the rest.

Why are you homeschooling? In all honesty, I have never truly been able to answer that question with an answer that the person doing the asking would understand. Not that they wouldn’t get it or where … well, dumb, but because at first it was me just following my gut…my God’s leading. I really did not even know I was doing something so crazy. Why I was making waves in our small town … in our family.  Don’t get me wrong we did get some love and support, but mostly silence. I would wonder at times if it was really worth it. I would ask myself why? Again, I still can not verbalize why I KNEW we were to home school. I just KNEW it. Today I see, hear, and learn about our world about the state of so many things…I discover things about our kids learning abilities and I think “Oh, I get it NOW God! I see NOW why you led me … us into this amazing beautiful world!”

Today, right now as I am typing the 1st draft of this post in the Fall of 2014 at 10 pm, I have a full heart. I have a head that wonders if it is doing it all right. I am amazed at how the mind works. I am truly blessed to have read and discovered learning styles, multiple intelligence’s, abilities, etc before we found dyslexia. It has been a heart breaking heart warming tear jerking journey. That is another story. Yet, you know I still know beyond any doubt that home schooling is right for our family. With that said I also know that it is NOT right for every family. Could every family do it YES…”With Christ all things are possible”, BUT to be right one has to believe it is right NOT just do it. That is how I know it is right for us I believe it is God led.

Now it is June 2015 and I am editing the final draft. Nothing has changed, but do want to add that though I never question that I am supposed to be home schooling our kids I do question my abilities all the time. Then I thank God that I do not have to do this alone and that I trust that since He led us to this journey He will lead us through it. Thanking Him every moment of every day!

So, why are we homeschooling? Because my heart tells me so…..

Books are Frightening!!

I vividly recall watching our son over and over again RUN to his room screaming and crying when he seen papers, pencils, books, etc.

I vividly recall yelling at him or raising my voice at him thinking he was being lazy or just making excuses to avoid school time.

I vividly recall this with tears streaming down my face from shame or guilt that I have now let go of and now forgiven myself for. I mean come on I knew no better. We can only parent to the extent of what we know.

The pain I felt for him and his tears. I began to pray like I had not prayed in a long time for God to show me to reveal to me what was wrong. Halfway through his 1st grade year I SEEN it like I had never seen it before. I seen the “b and d” mix ups. I seen the confusion of words like “was and saw”. I thought, “Could this be dyslexia? God could it be?” Then I seen him struggle with his Math facts. “Help me Lord! How do I help our son?” I then started searching online and found check list after check list or symptoms or signs of dyslexia.  I remember just starring at the computer sobbing over the past year of pain he was in and the needless struggles we had. I sobbed over the relief to know, to finally know, that we could in fact get through this and LEARN.

I vividly recall the pain he physically had at the sight of a book. The FEAR in his face to even HOLD a book. The anguish I felt as his Mommy, who did not know where to start. Thankfully, I have dyslexia all over my family ..”Ha thankfully….that is funny!” … I could turn to them for wisdom. I turned to the internet for curriculum and reviews. I learned I, in fact, could teach him at home. I realized in hindsight that this was one reason God led us to this crazy world of home schooling. He would never get at school what I could give him at home. DO NOT ARGUE with me on this one you well may think you are right in your convictions, but I am his Mom and that trumps your convictions all day long.

So, where are we at today? Well, in fact we were at the Library today. Returning books and checking out new ones. Easy readers still. Not at grade level, yet. Reading Thanksgiving Day prayer in front of family. Standing up in co-op to read his essays that he is creating. We still struggle with spelling, but our math has improved. I say “we” and “our” because this is a family and we struggle together and share victories together. I as the teacher am grateful to know now what I know to help the younger sister with her dyslexia.

I vividly see him holding a flash light in his bed reading a book, as I feel the tears swell in my eyes, and feel my heart ready to burst with joy.

I vividly hear him asking to do more History, because he LOVES the stories.

I vividly see him beating the clock on his Math facts and asking to do Logic and Problem Solving sheets.

No he is not at what our government says is his grade level, but our boy has come very far and continues to improve by LEAPS and BOUNDS every day. Mostly, in the area that counts the most, his confidence.

Thank You Lord for leading my heart, giving my eyes to see, ears to hear, …. the journey continues.