8 Homeschooling Lessons Learned in My 1st Week

We did it!

Sky & I have somewhat successfully completed our first week of homeschool. And we love it! Honestly a little part of me wonders why we didn’t explore this option sooner. But I know homeschool would be complete misery for my oldest daughter.

It’s kind of funny when you consider the opposite ends of the spectrum my two daughters are on. My oldest is a sophomore at one of the most liberal & diverse high schools in our city. Yet we’ve chosen to homeschool our eighth grader. It just shows you that each child is unique & thus must be treated as such.

Considering that we didn’t make this decision until a few days before school was set to begin, I had & still have a lot to learn! Nevertheless, I thought I’d share the homeschooling lessons I learned in my first week. . . . . . . . 


TO CHILL OUT!!!

I’m fully aware of my character defect, perfectionism. I’m working on it. But in my first week of homeschooling it reared its ugly head. Surely you can understand though. I mean, with me being a newbie & all. . .  Homeschooling is a big responsibility which should not be taken lightly. I definitely don’t want to be responsible for Sky falling behind! Still, I can’t have her working day & freaking night!

Lucky for me there are kind people among us. One of them put me in contact with a veteran homeschooler. She gave me the permission I needed to give Sky a couple of days off, simply so that I could plan. I’ve pretty much had zero time for that. For some reason I put this unnecessary pressure on Sky & myself to keep up with the public school schedule. Rookie mistake #1, I’m sure. Hearing that it’s okay to take a couple of days off, from a veteran, somehow made it okay.

That being said, I also have to find that line between pushing Sky to be her own personal best while not coming off as critical. I don’t want to bestow upon her my curse of perfectionism, though it may be too late. All I can say is, it’s a work in progress.


HOMESCHOOLERS ARE SUPPORTIVE OF ONE ANOTHER

Homeschoolers don’t judge one another’s choices. This is probably because they’re used to being judged so harshly themselves. They’ve taught me that there’s no right or wrong way to do this. It’s simply a matter of what works best for you & your child. I also find it refreshing that homeschoolers are willing to help one another out so freely that they offer advice & pass down resources. Some sell theirs, which I can’t say that I blame them -that ish expensive. But they usually sell them at decent prices. Maybe eventually I’ll start a homeschool resource page right here on The Sunny Shadow! Why not?!


THERE ARE TONS OF SOCIALIZATION OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE TO HOMESCHOOLERS

I think the below tote bag is perfect! Especially for our situation. I have no shame in admitting ignorance after becoming aware of the fact. I mean, how am I supposed admit it before. . . while I’m still ignorant? Anyway, this has definitely been the case when it comes to the whole socialization topic. It wasn’t until connecting with other homeschoolers that I realized, there are loads of extracurricular activities available to homeschoolers. Who knew? -Homeschoolers, that’s who. Because of Sky’s social anxiety, she likely will not be partaking in any of these soon, but it’s nice to know they’re available when she’s ready.


MIX METHODS

Like most parents, I’ve always tried to take advantage of teachable moments. Though I’ve missed a few important ones. . . okay, a lot. But I’m trying. And to poor little Sky’s dismay, since taking on homeschooling I’ve become even more aware of them.

Homeschooling is so overwhelming because of all of the options available; one being “unschooling.” While unschooling does make sense to me, it simply does not fit Sky’s personality at all. She craves structure. Unschooling follows the belief system that ‘life is school.’ By living, we’re learning. . .  And to allow the child to be led by his or her curiosity.

My point? I’ve found that many homeschoolers apply a combination of methods & I can feel myself doing the same. There are elements of various styles that I like & admire. And I feel myself looking for the learning opportunities provided to us by living everyday life.


SUPPLEMENT CURRICULUM

We ended up going with a free online curriculum. It provides a basic structure to Sky’s day. Just starting out, I couldn’t imagine not having something along these lines. I’d be lost. . .  more lost. This online curriculum even offers extra courses like Spanish & HTML Coding. It also tracks attendance.

I figured I could supplement it if need be, & I definitely “need be.”

But from what I’ve read from homeschooling pros, no curriculum is perfect. It’s simply impossible to make one curriculum to fit every child. All children are unique, thus they possess unique learning styles & challenges. Additionally, most children aren’t at grade level in every subject. They may be at it, above it, or below it.

It’s the norm to supplement curriculum. It’s the norm to tweak it & change it along the way to suit our child’s needs. No one can tell us what will work for us. It’s up to us to find out. But that’s okay. We’re in control. We have the final say.


THERE ARE ENDLESS RESOURCES AVAILABLE, MANY OF THEM FREE

We generally can’t afford to spend money on curriculum. Maybe here & there on specific supplemental pieces. But thankfully there are TONS of great & free resources available on the internet. This means a little more digging, but not too much more. PLUS, I’ve found that many of our local museums cater to homeschoolers & even offer downloadable teacher packets. This rocked my newbie homeschooling world! These packets allow you to go over the material with your child before visiting the museum. You know, like real teachers do in public schools. And of course museum admission isn’t expensive. Our local science museum is running a program all through the winter that covers precisely what Sky will be studying this year! It’s the little things =-)


TAKE ADVANTAGE. . .

. . . of everything! In the past, I was always ready for the school year to end but by the end of summer I was ready for my girls to go back to school. Not anymore. Maybe it’s because they’re getting older & I now know how quickly time passes. Like sand, I feel as though they’re slipping through my fingers. So most importantly, I’ve learned to take advantage of this unexpected, extra time I’ve been given with Sky.

Additionally, I’ve learned to take advantage of the opportunities in which homeschooling provides that public school does not; & there are many. We’ve always thought school starts way too early, so we wake-up a little later. We’re trying to go on walks each morning before we even get started. Also, we made an American Revolutionary War recipe, “Firecracker Cake” {Gross! Those poor soldiers}.

It’s Sky’s school, we need to accommodate her. If that means taking a couple of days off to plan, so be it!

 


HAVE FUN!

At the end of the day it’s our school {Sky’s school}. We make the rules. One of those rules is to have fun. And we get to decide what that looks like. Of course it can’t be all fun & games, all the time. But we’re at home for goodness sake, we’re going to do our best to take advantage of that!

What homeschooling lessons do you have to share? What homeschooling styles & curriculums do you use?


Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow


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