July 2, 2015 by Courtney
These past few weeks have been pretty crazy! We started homeschooling last week, and our first week went amazingly. I’ve heard that the first week is like a honeymoon. Every day was better than the day before. It was better than I anticipated. I ended the week so excited about our new adventure!
This week has not gone as well. Karis struggled to get through all of her work. She had tears. Ethan was highly distracted and couldn’t get things completed. He complained and complained. Said he hated homeschool and missed being at school. Levi just wanted to play. He had no interest in the curriculum.
I know that there will be good days in homeschool and there will be bad days. I’m expecting that. But, I’ve realized a few things the past few days (talking it out with people has been so helpful!).
I chose to do school during the summer because I felt that it would give us more flexibility, the kids can’t do as much around camp during the summer, and we’re taking a trip in August/September. But. The kids haven’t had a long enough break and transition time. They had school for 9 months, then we moved. They haven’t fully gotten used to their new surroundings. They’re still trying to figure things out. They’re sad and missing their friends. They love camp, but they still miss a lot about our old life. I just want them doing things to enjoy camp right now so they fall in love with it like Robert and I have :-).
I decided that maybe the classical method isn’t as much for our family as I thought. I’ve been doing the classical method of writing, and the kids hated it. It was so boring and non-engaging. It is mostly copywork, dictation, and narration. I’ve decided to change writing curriculum. The one that I chose is more like what they’re used to. It’s called Writeshop. It’s more like the writing workshop. It’s engaging and hands on. It will be so much more fun! I know that school isn’t entertainment, but I want them to be engaged and not hating what they’re doing. I also like that this new curriculum teaches different types of writing and reinforces the grammar skills that they’re learning.
I’ve decided that instead of doing full school this summer, we will do sort of a “homeschool lite.” I don’t want them to lose what they’ve learned, but I don’t want them to have school all day every day during the summer when they still need a break. Each day, we will do calendar time (which they LOVE and it teaches a lot of valuable skills including calendar, date, numbers, time, money, weather, patterns, etc). The kids will all read every day because I feel that’s important. I will work on math fact memorization, especially with Karis (and some with Ethan). And they will do a daily word problem. We’ll also be doing a few unit studies with friends, which will be fun! This should be less than an hour a day, and then they can play with their friends (who always come over wanting to play during school time!).
The fact memorization will be very beneficial for Karis. Her math curriculum assumes that she already has her facts memorized. We will make sure she has all her addition and subtraction facts memorized (which, she has most of her addition facts memorized), then we’ll move on to multiplication. Isn’t it crazy that she did REALLY well on her math STAAR test without having her addition and subtraction facts memorized? It’s crazy to me that that is possible. That’s common core for you (I know Texas doesn’t technically do common core, but what Texas does is basically the same thing). I asked about Karis’ issue in a homeschooling group that I’m in on Facebook, and almost everyone said it would probably be best to stop the curriculum and make sure she has her facts memorized first. So, that is what we’ll do.
Anyway, I’ve heard that the first year of homeschooling is mostly about developing routines, setting boundaries, and just figuring things out. Everyone’s homeschool looks different. That’s the beauty of it, but it’s also the challenging part. We will set a date in August to officially start “school” and we’ll move forward from there. By then, they will have had lots of play time and time to get used to their surroundings. And in the mean time, I can get more organized at home, which will help me tremendously. We haven’t even finished unpacking our bedroom! We have nothing on walls, yet. I think it’ll help all of us to be more settled.
Life at camp has been amazing in almost every way. We’re getting used to having to drive an hour and twenty minutes to get to town. We go to town about twice a week right now, which is getting better. We’d like to get it to once a week eventually, but that might not happen.
One of our favorite things to do is hang out on our back porch. In the mornings and evenings we can hear the worship music playing and the birds or crickets making music. It’s beautiful to look out over the hills, which is our back porch view.
We also love to go hiking in the woods, though, we haven’t tried out any of the hiking trails as a family yet (we just take the roads most of the time). I have gone on a trail with a friend, and Robert and I went together, but it’s time to take the family. I’m not comfortable enough with the trails to go without Robert, and his days off are usually really busy :-). We’ll get there!
We don’t eat in the dining hall for every meal because the same food over and over gets kind of old. So, we pick our favorites and eat at home the rest of the time. We’re not eating very healthy right now, but right now we’re sort of in survival mode… just trying to get through the summer. So, we’ll hit healthy again in the fall when we’re in more of a routine.
We set the trampoline up in our “backyard” (which really isn’t a yard…), and the kids have loved that. It’s a favorite among camp kids. We also spend a lot of time by our natural fire pit in the back.
There are stickers EVERYWHERE, so it makes playing in the yard kind of difficult. But, the kids are just learning to watch where they walk. And they’re getting used to picking stickers out of their shoes. All of the yards at camp are over grown with weeds, but that’s the way it is. You just get used to it. It’s the natural look, and requires no upkeep. Robert actually really likes it. Because of all the rocks, it is impossible to mow. He grew up in west Texas and hates yard work.
We’re getting more and more settled in, and it feels more and more like “home.” We plan on being here for a long time, so that helps tremendously. The last house that we lived in, we knew we would eventually move. It was more of a temporary set up. Now we’re in it for the long haul. Which definitely helps it feel more like home, and it makes it okay that we’re taking our time getting everything set up.
Until next time…