I set my alarm as usual this morning only to find that our internet was out as soon as I got to my computer. No problem, I have a hotspot on my phone! Only that wasn’t able to connect either. I’m sure there are a million productive things I could have done, but instead I took my time getting ready for the day and some solid time scrolling Instagram too. I feel it’s a pretty good depiction of life lately- best laid plans and all. All the more reason I am grateful for keeping these virtual homeschool journals; a reflection of what our real journey in homeschooling looks like.
In My Life This Month
It’s been a hard month for reasons I will share when I’m ready. I only bring it up because it’s been a new experience to navigate being responsible for Hailey’s education while my mind is largely elsewhere. I’ve taken the advice of talking to myself as I would to a good friend and I’m happy to say that I’ve successfully been able to show myself grace. It helps that we are only in kindergarten. It helps that Hailey can read and on the days when my mind is largely absent I can resort to worksheets, computer programs, or just good old fashion letting her sit and read a book. It helps that I have some really incredible teacher friends offering me invaluable encouragement and reassurance that the one on one direction she is getting is more than enough.
On a personal note, this month I’ve deepened some of my friendships and connected with new people that have lifted my spirits and really strengthened my belief in how many incredible, loving, kind, and compassionate people are in the world. I hope that doesn’t sound hokey. I don’t know if it’s the Christmas season or what, but I feel like I’ve been blessed with seeing so much good lately. Related: I rarely, if ever, watch the news and it does wonders for my mental health too.
In Our Homeschool This Month
Sigh. Ok- honesty. It’s been all over the place. Structure and routine have been largely non-existent. However, my “talk to myself like a would a friend” mentality reminds me that learning is still taking place.
My focus when we have time to “do school” has been largely been on math. I think it’s because I am most nervous about failing her in that area and am trying to cover all my bases. Hailey can count to 250+ (maybe higher but I got distracted and zoned out- oops), add and subtract numbers <20, count by 10s and 5s, and randomly multiply (wish I could say I taught her this, but she seems to have across it on her own?). I constantly wonder though- is that on track? ahead? behind? I clearly have some deschooling work to still do so I can let go of the need to compare. I also need to let go of feeling that we need to be doing everything at once (time/clocks? handwriting? logic puzzles?) It can feel like there are too many things to try and focus on.
We are also working on money, especially adding coins, which has been a slow process. It is, however, really cool to me to see the learning sneak in just by doing life. I love taking her to Target and hearing her say “mom, these cost four dollars and 99 cents, but they are 25% off, so how much money does that take off?” and then walking her through the process.
We are still reading our Little House books together (though again, we could be more consistent with this) and she’s reading chapter books on her own. We haven’t done our Brave Writer curriculum in a couple weeks and I miss it (and have guilt over not doing it), but it takes some prep on my side that I haven’t been able to do. We’ve sprinkled in science experiments, we “study” maps and planets every meal thanks to these, and occasionally will throw in a Sid the Science Kid or Magic School Bus episode. And yes, that totally counts in my mind.
My shame gremlin (a reference from The Power of Vulnerability) is telling me not to share all this because I’m afraid people will think I’m failing at homeschool, but I’m sharing it anyway. Does it look like I want it to right now? Nope. But my kids are learning and I’ll get it back to a structure I’m comfortable with soon enough (even though I don’t see a real routine returning until after the holidays).
Places We Went and People We Saw
We had a BALL seeing so much family this month with the Thanksgiving holiday. 6 days in I asked Hailey if she was ready to get back to her own bed and she said she’d be fine if we kept house-hopping forever!
My Favorite Thing This Month
Being with my family, hands-down. I love my people so much.
What’s Working for Us
Grace. A whole-picture approach that learning encompasses more than just what can be found within the pages of a text book. Saying no to obligations and purposefully creating white space in my life which allows me to manage my stress level more effectively and be more present when parenting. It’s more obvious to me everyday how much learning takes place in the nooks and crannies of life (so true whether you homeschool or public/private/charter/etc). If I’m in a place where I am able and willing to engage in real conversation (because 6-year-olds are little people with big thoughts and questions) then we learn a lot through simply investigating her questions (deer are crepuscular by the way, a term derived from the Latin word for “twilight” meaning they are largely active at dawn and dusk) and spending time together in the car or kitchen.
Homeschool Questions and Thoughts I Have
Though I’m trying not to compare, I’m super curious what other kindergartners are learning and working on. I have a friend that sends me updates sent home from school with what her kids are working on and it’s so helpful. I hope I can let go of this in time, but for now it’s comforting for me to be able to check and see if I’m “on track.” I trust what other moms of 5/6/7 year old kids send me more than what I can find on google!
A Link to Share
Best Early Chapter Books About Girls – I found this list super helpful because I there are a ton of books for young readers to sort through and some are certainly higher quality than others.
After we went to Disney last year David and I agreed that we’d wait a few years before going back but I talked with Molly yesterday about her upcoming trip to Disney and now I have the itch. Do you think this post on DisneySchooling at The Magic Kingdom will help convince David it’s an educational experience?
I’d love to hear from you…
What is working in your life right now?
Do you have any successes to share? Struggles? Triumphs?