Tuesday, October 1, 2013

So...How IS Homeschooling?

Welcome to our school.  I now notice in the picture above that the parrot's head has been covered by the poster, but oh well.  If our school had a motto, this would be it.  "Read!"  Some people have been asking to see inside our day of homeschooling.  Come on in.

This is a busy place.  The walls are busy, the shelves are chocked full, and the kids never sit still.  That's ok.  I have an alphabet up because LMM and Rosebud are learning their letters.  Both are in preschool this year outside the home.  This leads to lots of driving during our day.  We are working through that.  Snug and I work at our church, which is very near the preschool, three mornings a week.

 We use this room to store all of our items.  We work in here Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings, and every afternoon.  The shelves you can see are all of our fiction picture books.  They are alphabetical by author's name.  I have paint sticks with letters on them in between each section.  I use the windowsill to display books that pertain to what we are learning in science, history, or language arts.  Often they are library books.

There are two desks in the room.  One belongs to Snug.  The other is for whomever wants to come in and work quietly.  Inside are the backsides of papers Snug has completed and are free to be colored on. There are also some fun erasers, or other quiet things to do.  There are no pencils, markers, scissors, glue, or crayons in either desk.  Snug has a pencil on his desk that goes onto mine in the afternoon.  Sweet Pea is super sneaky and uses all of these items without making a peep.  So art supplies are on lockdown.  If you need them, go to the closet and get them-then return them.

The bulletin board is used to keep charts up (Bible verses, phonics progress, etc) and our poster we're working on for Bible.  The shelves under that are used to hold curriculum.  Next to that is our shelf that houses or hermit crabs and some other quiet manipulatives for little hands that are in the room.  

Next to that are two towers with colorful drawers.  Those are our workboxes.  One set isn't used this year, but will be if we decide to continue on and have more than one person being home educated.  Each box has a subject written on it (with a removable label).  I put any copies for the week in the corresponding drawer along with workbooks, special supplies that will be needed, etc.  One box says "read aloud" and that is where we keep books we are reading together or I'm reading to him.  
You can see more of the curriculum shelf and bulletin board here.  We have a timeline on the wall (we used painter's tape and sticky tack so it isn't permanent) that we are using for both Bible and history.  We also have a white board, ones/tens/hundreds chart, calendar, and a place to count money.  WAY up high is a blue basket that keeps all of our dry erase markers...again because Sweet Pea would use them otherwise.  To the left of the calendar are clothespins with letters on them Snug uses for spelling practice.  I'll talk about the shelf on the far left of this picture in a minute.  

Here is "my" space.  I have a desk and some files here.  Also on the shelf are our non-fiction books or children's treasuries.  I have math, science, and language arts manipulatives on these shelves.  SO MUCH of this stuff are things that I had bought when I was a teacher or things my mom gifted to me when she retired from teaching.  We have bought very little this year for homeschooling, even in the way of curriculum.  
AND HERE'S THE MESS.  I'm so blessed to have a "closet" I can close.  This room was the girls' room and this closet was always a big joke.  One girl wouldn't be able to keep her clothes in here, let alone two.  #1 built some shelves and it is saving my life.  Top shelf holds things for younger siblings and the little boy I babysit for to play with (provided they are quiet) while they are in the room.  I rotate these things out about every 2 weeks.  Next shelf down:  books I have from college, curriculum I"m not using, and books from classes I took while I was teaching.  Next shelf down:  The crayons, markers, glue, scissors etc. that we "hide" along with extra school supplies.  Next shelf down is art stuff like special scissors, Sizzix machine, stickers, drawing paper, etc.  On the bottom is stuff that I want to keep but have no place for so I keep shoving down in the bottom.  Nice.  

I know how fortunate I am to have a homeschool space.  I also know how blessed I am to not have had to spend much money on it.  All of our curriculum is used.  I either bought it from other people or got it used on Amazon.  The only NEW curriculum I is Snug's math workbook (which I bought on Amazon).  My mom also gave me tons of things to use, and bought him some fun practice books-she also bought the kids the big colorful maps and the second desk.  I'd like to thank Jenilee for selling  things she no longer needed and for all her advice on homeschooling.  I also have many MANY cheerleaders.  I cannot even name you all, but you know who you are.  

That didn't really answer "how is it going" though.  It's going ok.  Some weeks have been great, others are long.  Overall I'd say I really like it and that surprises me.  I never thought it would be horrible, but I didn't expect to actually like it.  We've been able to do some field trips and stop and learn about random things immediately which has been fun.  I have learned a TON this year.  

Right now I'm struggling with motivating him to work.  It's hard when you spend a lot of time in the car, working in a different environment, and battling through curious and crying siblings. He's a daydreamer and he'd fritter his entire day away if I let him.  School is both easier and harder for him this year.  Last year the math was too hard because, for many reasons, he had never learned the basics...which made the higher level thinking things very frustrating.  I was trying to cram basic things like counting money (money was never taught in first grade, and only how to recognize a coin in kindergarten) and basic addition skills in the evenings after he'd been at school all day-he just cried through it as he was tired.  So we've been able to do that and he finally doesn't hate math.  But language arts is much more challenging this year as I know what he can do and I expect it.  Also he is now reading books on his level-mostly non-fiction as fiction written on his level really isn't interesting or appropriate for him.  He reads several levels lower for fun, and I'm ok with that.  But he's never had challenging reading or writing at school.  So he gets a little mad at me.  Too bad :o)

 I asked the other day if he'd rather go back to school and his answer was a firm "NO".  Interesting.  I'd say a bad day of homeschool is still better than a good day of traditional school was.  Some things have been coming out as we sit and talk that happened last year at school.  They have convinced me that we are doing the right thing.  But it is the hard thing.  I have very little free time.  I have even less energy.  I have a tiny social life.  It's called Facebook.  

Are we going to do it again next year?  Well, Snug has already asked that he do it again next year.  I have no idea what to do with LMM.  Much of that will depend on if our district continues its every other day full day schedule.  Then he is FOR SURE home next year.  I can't imagine doing this with more than one kid...but last year at this time I couldn't imagine doing it at all.  When I first decided to go ahead with this crazy idea of homeschooling I said I'd take it a year at a time.  I'm down to a week at a time.  Next week, we'll be homeschooling.  

No comments: