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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

FAQ: Homeschool

Lately I've had a lot of people (pretty much everyone) asking me about homeschool.  And they're all asking the same questions.  You've got questions.  I've got answers.

How's it going?
This week began our 4th week of homeschool.  I know it's early.  And perhaps we're still in the "honeymoon" phase of our new adventure.  But we love it!  We really do.  We've not had one bad day yet.  That doesn't mean we won't ever.  Because I'm sure we will.  But I honestly wasn't expecting it to be so . . . GOOD right now.  I was expecting it to take us awhile to adjust.  I was not expecting Mason and Hannah Kate to so quickly embrace and enjoy homeschool.  

Within the first week, everyone easily settled into our new routine, and we haven't looked back since.  I was very anxious during the final weeks of summer.  There were lots of things I just wasn't sure about.  But this has absolutely been THE BEST thing for our family.  I knew I was stressed.  I felt like a ton of bricks sat on my shoulders 180 days out of the year plus some.  I just didn't realize just how bad, how stressed, how unhappy we all were until we completely removed ourselves from the situation we were in.  I had come to the conclusion that there just wasn't going to be any "happy" for us when it came to school things.  I envied those families who just breezed through the school year with happy.  But now . . . there is happy in our school days!  There are no more bricks, no more stress.  I never thought that would be possible.  But it is!  So, yes, this was a HUGE, scary decision into uncharted territory for us, but the BEST place to be is in obedience to the Lord in ALL things because He will go before you and show you the way!  

Are the kids enjoying homeschool?
Yes, they are!  I mean, did you see those smiles in that first picture?!  

Mason loves his new "school" (I use that term very loosely since he's there only two half days a week).  He loves his teachers.  He has new friends.  He's doing very well in all of his classes and learning some really cool things this year.  One of my favorites is his world history curriculum.  It follows history in the order that it happened all over the world and is studied from a Christian worldview.  So we look at events as they are told in the Bible and then at what was going on in other parts of the world at that same time.  For example, we started in the book of Acts.  So we've studied Pentecost, Paul and the first martyrs.  We've also studied Josephus and Pompeii because that was going on at the same time.  Last week we studied about Masada, a fortress where many of the Jews fled to from the Romans during the height of persecution in the first century.  I told Mason that we could probably find a picture of Masada on the internet, and we did.  While we were searching for that, we found that a TV mini-series had aired in the early 1980s about Masada.  Mason immediately asked if we could watch it.  We haven't yet, but I told him we could.  To me, that was exciting!  He is actually showing an interest in what he's learning and wanting to know more.

Hannah Kate is enjoying homeschool, too.  She really loves being able to work at her own pace, which is super fast!  She is studying United States history this year.  Last week we learned about Christopher Columbus.  Since she is so artsy-craftsy, I found a craft for her to do.  Of course, Ellie wanted to do it also.  And then Mason insisted on doing it, even though I told him he didn't have to.  They made the Santa Maria (Columbus' ship) with their handprints.  You'll notice that Ellie has hers sailing at sunset with all those pink lines across the sky!        

What does Ellie do while you're doing school?
Well, Ellie is right there with us.  She does school, too!  I found the cutest little workbooks for her so she is currently working on coloring in between the lines, cutting, pasting and drawing straight lines.  We are also working on the letter "E."  She really wants to learn how to write her name.  She also has some special toys (all educational in nature, of course) that she is allowed to play with only during our school time.  The biggest challenge for me has been training Ellie for school time.  It's a big change for her.  She's getting the hang of it though, and there are less interruptions than there were two weeks ago.  But we're still working on it.

Is this something you will continue to do even when they get in high school?
Look.  If I were to tell you that I knew what was going to happen six months from now, much less six years from now, I'd be lying!  I mean, this time last year, I had NO IDEA that we would be homeschooling this year!  So the answer to this question is simple.  We are going to continue to do what God wants us to do.  And if that means homeschool, YES!  If that means something else, then we'll do something else.  But as of right now, our plan is to continue to homeschool.  We are planning to enroll Hannah Kate in Sequitur next year, too, so both of the older kids will be there.

Is this something that you really want to do?
Yes.  Yes, it is!  Is it something that I ALWAYS wanted to do?  Nope.  But the Lord changed my heart to bring it in line with His will and plan for our family.  I mean, I LOVE this!  I really do!  I'm having the most fun re-learning history.  I hope it sticks this time because it really is fascinating!  I just didn't appreciate it the first time around.  The kids and I really are having the best time together.  One afternoon last week they played on the slip 'n' slide for "PE."  I laid my quilt on the ground and enjoyed a few chapters in my book while they were laughing and playing.  And then I thought to myself, "I can't believe this is my life!  I mean, this is GOOD!"  We have had some of the best conversations lately.  Right now, there is nothing else I'd rather be doing!

How are you (meaning me) doing?
I've never been better!  I'll be honest.  I go to bed really tired at the end of the day.  But it's such a good kind of tired.  I don't dread waking up the next morning.  Again, the past five years were so difficult for so many reasons.  I am thankful for God's grace during that time, thankful for the lessons learned, thankful for the faith that was refined by the fire, thankful for some of the wonderful people I met, thankful for God's gracious and generous provision.  But I am so thankful that those days are behind me now.  I really do feel so humbled and so honored that God has chosen me for this.

We've already done a lot in our four weeks.  Our first field trip was to the Baton Rouge airport.
A large part of the tour included the emergency personnel and procedures.  We got to see a firetruck demonstration, which was really neat.
In recent years, the airport has been renovated.  There are several "exhibits," as they call them, one of which was a bench made out of Marucci bats.  Of course, that was a hit with Mason (see what I did there . . . bat . . . hit . . . ).
Hannah Kate is studying the different names of Jesus in the Bible.  So a couple of weeks ago, I explained to the kids how Seth and I chose each of their names and what their names mean.  We then made home-made-from-scratch sugar cookies (which is a big deal because I don't bake, and it was the first time I made sugar cookies that they didn't lose their shape and spread out into one big cookie glob), and they decorated them with their initials.
I don't talk about Mason's middle name a whole lot because, well, I don't.  And I had honestly never even looked up the origin of it before.  But I did this time.  And I nearly cried when I found out what it means.  Famous warrior.  WARRIOR.  I mean, there is not a better word to describe my Mason than that!  He has fought and overcome so much!
Last week we had a back-to-school bash with our homeschool group.  There were inflatables and LOTS of kids (I think 166 to be exact!).  Barn Hill Preserve also came and gave a presentation on some of their exotic animals.  And then the kids got to have their picture taken with either a baby kangaroo or ball python.  Do I even have to tell you what my kids chose?!  For some reason, Ellie refused to be in the picture.  Can't say I blame her!
And that's a little sneak peak of our homeschool lately.  I say all of that to say . . .

God is faithful.  He blesses obedience.  His plan is GOOD.


1 comment:

tracy said...

Julie,
I so love reading of your adventures. I began our homeschool journey last January, and we began our first full year a few weeks ago. Like you, I never even gave it any thought. God simply laid it out for me so clearly. I pray that you continue to love it and see the fruits of your labor clearly. Your family is beautiful.
Love,
Tracy