Back To School! This Is How We Do It!

by Hope Sewell on September 4, 2012

in family, home schooling, kids

Well, it’s that time of year again!!
BACK TO SCHOOL!! 

Although our summer of 2012 was probably the best summer we’ve had in a couple of years, we were ready to get back into the swing of things with our school routine.

We have homeschooled from the beginning.  It’s just one of those things I feel like I was crafted to do.  I enjoy getting all the supplies and books together and making our school room into a learning haven.  And believe it or not, I enjoy spending A LOT of time with my children (and it’s a good thing too because it takes a lot of time…and patience!!).  We don’t always like each other in the moment, like when I hear an “awww…” from somebody after I say it’s time to get started but it all works out in the end.  And I get to take part in so many firsts in their lives.  We have actually just completed our 3rd week of this school year and we’ve already gotten to do so many fun things and have learned so much!!  It’s like a second education for me and I love it!!

 I want to answer a few FAQs really quickly
Q. What curriculum do you use?
A. There are TONS of wonderful books and products out there to use when it comes to schooling at home.  I personally use a curriculum called My Father’s World: Exploring Countries and Cultures.  The style is a Classical/Charlotte Mason blend.  We LOVE it!!  It’s written with a Biblical world view and pretty much all of the planning is done for me!!  PLUS, I can teach two (or more)  children who are in different grades at the same time.

Q. What do you do with Lilly (who is 3)
A.  She sits in the school room with us (if she’s not at the table).  I have simple worksheets for her to do, cutting activities, flash cards, games and puzzles.  I am focusing on teaching her numbers, shapes, letters and even some letter sounds.  I’d like for her to be reading some simple books by the end of the school year.  I think she’s ready and she LOVES looking at books and has asked to learn to read….but there is NO RUSH there!!  I’m starting her just like I started the other two, with Handwriting Without Tears Get Set For School materials.

Q. What’s your schedule like?
A.  I like to have a pretty structured day.  I also like to be done with school by lunch time.  So we start in between 8 and 8:30 and we are done by 1.  We have a snack time in between, normally after English.  If we have an art project, I save that for last or for after lunch even. So our subject order is Bible, Language Arts, Spelling, English, (snack) Math, Geography, Science, Latin, Reading, Art/Music. There are several things that I get them started on and they do the work themselves.  At these times I work with Lilly, swap out laundry machines, take attendance, check school email, etc..  And sometimes they have “homework” which is extra practice on concepts we’ve learned that day/week.  This is normally math and english.

And finally, the MOST FREQUENTLY asked question…
Q.  How do you do it all??
A. Discipline.  Intentionality. Determination.
Homeschooling your children is just like any other difficult thing you do in life. It takes pushing yourself and hard work.  As the creator of P90X, Tony Horton, says, “You have to feel the burn!!”  I don’t always get to do what I want to do.  I really like to sleep until about 8 or 8:30 (after having at least 10 hours of sleep).  That RARELY happens.  :)
My “motto” for this school year (and every school year) is to “start well and finish strong”.  At this point in my life, the education of my children is my top daily priority.  Everything else comes after.  That’s something I have to remind myself of often.  It also takes some planning on my part.  I plan my meals one month at a time.  I have scheduled laundry days (folding doesn’t always happen in a timely manner).  We ALL help around the house.  The children clean up the school room while I work on lunch and they sometimes even make their own lunches. They help vacuum, unload the dishwasher, dust, put away laundry, on top of keeping their rooms picked up.  And things aren’t always “deep cleaned” but overall it’s pretty well put together.  It’s NOT easy, but it CAN be done and the key is organization, being intentional, determined and self disciplined.  I expect my children to be disciplined and I should keep myself in check as well.

I am not a perfect mother.
I remember doing pre-admission 2 days before Lilly was born.  I’m sitting in a nurses office answering questions with yes, no, no, yes.  After I completed the paper work the nurse looks at me and says, “Well, you are the perfect mother.”
My answer…maybe on paper.
I do not have it together every moment of any day.  There are many days that tears are shed (by all of us) over whatever subject is frustrating us that day.  There are many times I wonder if anybody is learning a single thing other than me!!  And then there are those moments where I ask Tobin to name the 7 continents and Lilly pipes up and names them all unprompted simply because she’s catching what we are saying and doing by sitting in with us.

I am investing in the lives of my children.  I am pouring my faith and myself (faults and all) in to them.  And I call it a privilege to do so.

*And let me add that having a school ROOM is not a prerequisite to schooling at home.  I have only had a room designated for school for 2 years.  Prior to that we schooled at the kitchen table with space in my pantry or cabinets designated for school supplies.*

Here’s a look at my students.

Ruthie

 She wants to be a homeschool teacher when she grows up.  Her favorite subject changes with the sun.  Sometimes it’s math and other times it’s art.  Her favorite color is pink.  Her favorite book is Usborne’s The Princess And The Pea.

Tobin

 He hasn’t quite decided what he wants to be when he grows up.  But he does know that he either wants to work at a pet store, a zoo or Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach, Florida.  (Hmm….there’s a theme there:)  His favorite school subject is math (and it is amazing how his little logical mind works).  His favorite color is blue.  His favorite book?  The giant book titles Digging For Dinosaurs.

Lilly

 When she grows up, she wants to play with Tinkerbell, Strawberry Shortcake, and Dora.  Her favorite thing to do in school is Starfall.com.  Her favorite color is pink.  And her favorite book is Strawberry Shortcake’s Filly Friends.

We really do have a good time on most days.  We have our moments but we make it through.
I hope you and yours are having a GREAT start to your school year!!

Lots of Love!!

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