The bird’s-eye view:
- Monday: ROCKED it. One of those fulfilling, meaningful, “I’m on the right track!” kind of days.
- Tuesday: great day- yay!
- Wednesday: low energy; the novelty had worn off, plus we had appointments and so the day felt a little chaotic.
- Thursday: rainy and cozy. The kids did just fine, but between school and then running errands together, I felt overstimulated by the day’s end.
- Friday: that’s today and I can already tell it’s a good one because Fridays just have that good energy! Plus, Fridays are a little lighter. We’ll do math, H will finish up her final draft of her paper, reading for all, then H and I have a canning project we want to try and K has a playdate.
- Our local schools don’t go back for another week or two, so the girls enjoyed getting to play with friends after school each day. I’m glad they have some down time to just play, too, before September comes and all the activities are back in full swing.
- New structure of lessons on the hour and downtime in between feels like a good fit. We have not done this before but both kids have verbalized that they like it. It takes longer overall, but feels more relaxed.
- Loving our Saxon math with Nicole the Math Lady.
- I’m adjusting to needing to be fully mentally present again. Between 9:00 and 1:00, I am fully engaged within the four walls of my home. As someone who thrives with boundaries, I’m feeling incredibly fulfilled by it. It’s just about the kids, lessons, and housework.
- I’m unsure if we will use screentime tokens this year. They’ve worked SO well for us in the path but I’m hoping they are at ages that we can have some more flexibility with screentime. To be determined.
- I’m bringing back read aloud time. I wasn’t sure if we’d stick with it since H and I are doing a book club and I read with K in her daily lessons, but we all love it so I am. I’ll let you know if I regret it, but we’re going to start The Hunger Games series!
Do your kids struggle to get along during school? Competing to finish first/being nosy? Historically, yes there has been some of that competition to finish first, but I think our new structure is helping. It doesn’t matter now if they finish in 15 minutes of 45, we will all start the next subject together as the start of the hour. Anything left over will turn into work to be done on their own after 1:00. I also explain (sometimes to deaf ears) that they are at different grade levels that require different things so it’s not a straight up comparison.
How not to be overwhelmed? I’m only doing pre-K starting in the fall and don’t know where to begin. For the first part of the question, each year is so different that I have to find what brings me personal peace for those ages. Naps and quiet time were a savior for a while and now I’m figuring out what it will be for this year. But it’s important to find those pockets of time to help you rejuvenate. Play around with it and see what feels right. As for the second part, spoken like every seasoned homeschooler ever, enjoy those young years by learning through play! Go outside, read books, explore the questions he asks, do household chores together. Many experts argue formal education need not begin until at least 7 years old. However, if you want a curriculum, here are my favorites.
Can you tell us more about the family meeting you had before the first day? Sure! First, I decided we’d have a hard start this year. I know a lot of families that thrive by adding one thing back in at a time, but I wanted to jump all in. My kids also thrive (especially H) in knowing what to expect, so the weekend before we started we sat down as a family (David present, too- united front!) and went over everything. First we went over the structure of the weekdays: they are expected to set alarms and be up at 8:00. That gives them an hour to eat, get dressed, and brush teeth. They are expected to be ready to start math at 9:00. Then we went over the lay out of the day, beginning each new subject on the hour and any leftover work needed to be completed later in the day. Finally, we shared our expectations that with each new year there is a new level we rise to. Entering middle school and upper elementary means we have higher expectations. This set the tone for our year quite well! Let me also add that this is a new structure for us this year. When my kids were younger I loved the coziness of staying in pajamas and leisurely starts to the day, but I’ve found as they get older and have more to learn, a little structure works better for all of us.
What do you do if your child needs special services like PT, OT, speech? I can only answer for my situation because I don’t know the overall answer but we’ve needed speech therapy services and found a fabulous speech therapist that we worked with one on one out of her office. We paid out of pocket for the services, though it’s my understanding some work with insurance.
How independent are your kids and how much do you teach? I’ve slowly been phased out over the years, ha. I loved teaching it all when they were younger but am enjoying the increased independence for core subjects, as well. H (6th) is almost all independent in instruction, and my role is more like a TA, helping with problems and editing of papers. I still teach the majority of K (4th), minus math, which she does on her own and I’m in the TA role. We do geography/history/science together and I teach that.
When and how are you recharging as a mom this year? TBD! I have pockets of time, like when we are all reading for 20-30 minutes during morning lessons, which is nice. And exercise- my early morning walks with Finley and afternoon strength training with David are revitalizing. But I do feel I need a midday power recharge option, too. Open to suggestions!
What does a typical homeschool day look like and how do you figure it all out? Just like you’re already doing with parenting, you figure it out as you go! You start small and learn along the way what works best for your child. Like Julie Bogart says, there are no educational emergencies. Adjust as needed. I’ve fallen in love with how well I know my kids and how they learn and when to push and when to play. Our goal is to ignite a spark and love for learning coupled with practical education of life skills from household management to how to run a small business. While we do have structured lessons, the goal is that we’re learning all the time and that homeschool and life are intricately interwoven.
How to juggle homeschooling multiple kids and a toddler? Obviously I only have two kids, but I did find some helpful tips when K was younger. Practical tips for homeschooling multiple ages.
I’m not able to get to all the questions in this post (Finley is demanding it’s time for her morning sniffari), but if you have more questions about how we homeschool, check out my homeschooling page; it’s filled with curriculum review, tips, reflections, and more!