Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Serenity Prayer

Is there a serenity prayer for homeschool parents? I could use it right now. We just did one hour of school and she fidgeted, whined, cried, and said "I don't feel good!" I don't know what happened to my sweet student from the last two days. I had planned to do our math work on the computer next, but I think we need to go to the store instead. Grocery shopping. I just decided that she will keep track of cost. She can write each items price beside it's name on the list. I will even let her use a calculator. Maybe this will cheer her up. 

If not, then I am just taking an already whiny kid to the grocery store. God grant me the serenity...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Last day of public school

Friday was Kiddo's last day. She was sobbing when we picked her up. Her principal hugged her. Everything felt wrong on the way home. What am I doing??? I worried over this change. Should I really put her through this...

Wait. This is one day. She didn't know how things were going to go. We had not had the first day yet! (I know I need to wait and see.) 

I have spent the weekend rearranging the diningroom. It's classroomish enough for right now. I created a dry erase board from recycling a framed print from the thrift store. I just cleaned the glass well and put white paper behind the glass. It's good enough for right now. You don't have to spend a million dollars redoing the house. My diningroom will still be where we eat. The goal is to make tidying up and putting things away part of our end of school ritual each day so that dinner goes onto a clean and clutter free table. School will meet a clean table the next day. 

I know that these things matter more to me than they will to her, but I want her to see how serious I am. I am at that moment in this change where I am ready to start, but can't rush. I need to give her a couple of days to deschool her noggin. Tomorrow, we are going to read and discuss and see where we end up. We might spend the day with Ramona or some unicorns, ex-presidents or super heroes. I think reading and talking about what we read in a deeper context than we usually do will help both of us open up our teacher and student selves. I have always helped her and taught her things but it was as Mommy. I am going to have to tap into a teaching voice to be a bit different. 

She is going to challenge me. We are going to butt heads. There will be tears, stomping away, and it will be tough here and there. But we can do this. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Goodbye public school

We officially become a homeschooling family on Monday, October 26, 2015. We did the withdrawal dance today and turned in our proof of educational background along with our kiddo's shot records. In a few easy steps, we are now responsible for Kiddo's education.

Let that sink in.

I am responsible for leading her to the knowledge that will shape her future. I am teaching her how to learn and guiding her towards knowledge.

Let that sink in.

I have a big responsibility! I didn't feel the least bit overwhelmed until I saw how ridiculously easy it is to make this change. We only have to appear for formal state testing in 5th grade then in 7th grade! That's twice in 4.5 years!! I could make a million mistakes in that span of time!!!!!! I have no eye in the sky and no one to knock on the door to verify that my pencils are, in fact, all sharpened and my blackboard erasers are clean and crisp. I have no one giving me rules! Scary, scary business is this freedom stuff.

Ok. So, maybe I am being dramatic with a smidge of overly. But I care deeply about her learning experience which is why I am doing this. I want her to love learning and never tire of new facts. I am sure we will do just fine because my need to be the best mom I can will keep me on the right track to be the best teacher I can. I just hope the nay-sayers will stop naying soon. Its a scary journey to begin (Hello! Responsible for the complete teaching of a whole other person!) and support is going to be necessary and helpful along the way. I am anticipating bad days for both she and I (We AAAARE both people after all) and it will help to have a few voices cheering us on and a few ears to whine into when I feel like we have hit a wall.

I so hope this is the best decision. It feels like it is deep down in my tummy, way down near the belly button and the fluttery spot where the butterflies live. I just want her to be happy and love learning again. No more forcing her to leave the house in the morning with tears in her eyes.

Off we go, earlier than expected, but feeling sure of our decision. Monday is the day. Lets all raise a glass of chocolate milk to math work in the back yard and reading history on the trampoline in the sunshine.

Mom/Teacher of 1

Thursday, October 1, 2015

First Thoughts

My kiddo begins fifth grade in the fall of 2016. I am not ready for her to be this old! She is so independent and can self-manage most of her projects. She has expressed to me that she wants to homeschool. Her bestie of foreverandeverandever years is in her third (?) year of homeschool. JB is a bright young lady whose mother, KB, is such a great teacher that I completely understand Kiddo's desire to be taught the same way. They are both impressive people and my kiddo wants to try school the same way.

My husband and I have talked about the decision for a couple of years. At first we were both apprehensive. We were held back by the old "they wont learn to be social and will be odd kids" argument. That stood as a good argument until we saw how public school was affecting her. As time went on and we saw our school adoring child grow more and more upset with going to school, we began to warm to the idea of being taught at home. As with every family decision, we started a pros and cons list.

I am a stay at home mom and artist so my available time will allow for the commitment.
We can travel and take school with us.
We are more aware of what she is learning so that we can be fully supportive when she needs help.
Kiddo can finish her work at her pace and not be held back by classmates or forced to hurry.
She can work in her pajamas or Halloween costume, if she chooses, and not be held to a dress code that (I feel) constricts her adventurous and colorful personality.
She can have pink hair if she wants.
Homemade lunch each day.
No bullies, lockdowns, bomb threats to be concerned over. (Unless I really tick off the neighbors! lol)
She can spend time with her father whose work schedule is time consuming, her great grandparents who adore her, and herself. (She complains of having too little "alone time" because she is always busy at school, doing homework, getting ready for bed, or sleeping.)
Time. We will have a better grasp on how much time out of the day she actually learns and how much is wasted shuffling through hallways, recesses, class changes, etc.
We can spend more time on subjects that she needs help with and less on those she masters quickly.
Parent teacher conferences happen daily over the dinner table.
We can have school on the porch or in the fort.
We can have field trips any time.
No school bus accidents without seat belts.
No lice from the classmate.
Less germs to contend with.
No attendance policies to contend with. Sick? Rest. (We can make that a reading day.)
We can watch documentaries with popcorn and pause it if anyone has to potty.

No sick days for Mom or Kiddo. (Within reason. Pukers don't have to do work.)
No substitute teachers.
No escaping a project because its time for another class. Must finish.
No classmates for recess.
No picture day or yearbook.
The dog cannot eat your homework.
Fees, books, and curriculum costs. (Wait... I pay those anyway throughout the year.)
No set structure... oh, wait... we set that ourselves dependent upon what she needs to learn to the best of her abilities

As you can see, my pros list is longer.
I didn't even mention on that list how priceless my pal, KB is with this homeschooling adventure. She has muddled through any difficulties and paved the way. I get to walk down the path avoiding most hurdles and puddles because she has already been there and left a road map. I feel fortunate to have her. So, in my list of "Things You Need to Homeschool" please pay close attention to the need for a KB in your life.

I hope that keeping this blog will keep me inspired and on track with this change in our lives. I know it will be a wonderful experience. I also know I will have bad days. She will stomp, pout, push my buttons, and slam doors before we find a rhythm that works for both of us. But I also know that I will never give up on trying to give her all that she needs to succeed in life and be ever curious and always learning. I also hope that someone might find some kernel of assistance in this blog that I have found in the goldmines of info I have gleaned from KB.

In my next post, I hope to have the list of what I require to make this work. There will also be a sprinkle of "Is this going to make her weird?" and a smidgen of "Can I really do this?" along with the ever present load of "AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING AS A PARENT??" Please don't be scared by those thoughts. I have the same thoughts when I buy her new boots knowing she hates socks, when I agree to hand stitch her Halloween costume the week before Halloween, or when I buy a video game that she promises wont take over but totally does (Thanks, Minecraft, for being my child's first drug. You are the most ridiculously addicting video game for her and I cannot understand why.) I will never stop questioning if I did the best thing for her because, since I heard her heartbeat through a stethoscope from my belly, that's been the most important question in my life.

So, feel free to follow along with our adventure. Comment any time. I am doing this with her best interest in mind, but I don't have all the answers yet. I am going to be learning each day alongside her, so I will appreciate any info that teaches me along the way.

Mom of 1