Day number one…

It is a little after 6 am and I am ready to start our very first, official day of homeschooling. I have been longing for this day, all the preparing, all the thinking ahead it is coming to a close, at least a little. The daily thoughts of having chosen the right way, still follow me often. Sometimes I wonder, sometimes I question it, and then I look at the success we have made already, the happy moments we have been able to share because of it and I am just thankful. If you would have asked me 20, 10, 5 , 2 years ago.. about homeschooling my children, I would have declared myself crazy. But now having read so much about it, having read shared success stories from wonderful, loving families, and even meeting some of them, I simply don’t know why not anymore.
I remember my school days often. I don’t know how much I can really compare my school life to a normal kids school life in the sates, so many things are different, were different, and are different today. I had the freedom to walk or ride my bike to school and I remember those walks and loved them most times. Often I walked with friends, sometimes alone. I had time to think, or we played, or I listened to music, most times we adventured and played though. Later on I took the bus, and still that freedom was wonderful.
The freedom here for kids in schools has disappeared. Society has changed, the world has changed, things simply aren’t the same anymore. I have to meet and come up with new expectations for myself and for my family. Of course I had dreams and thoughts of how I imagined our life. The way public school made and told us to live wasn’t it.

We went to the library yesterday and saw a little magic show, and it was sweet and very imaginary. My kids loved it and carried on playing imaginary things throughout the day. My little one had brought an invisible fairy with her from the magic show and carried her everywhere she went. While we were waiting for the start of the show, I overheard a mother talking to her young daughter. Her daughter had picked a large, junior novel. She told her to put it back, that they wouldn’t have time to read it, because school was starting.
I couldn’t help but feel sad for both of them.

Things aren’t perfect here yet. We struggle to find our new routine, the new schedule for my husband and daily life. But I know we will find our way. We all have already learnt to be more patient and understanding. Knowing that things wont always be perfect is the first step. I know some days will be harder than others, some might be easier. But when I look at the thankful little faces I know this will all be worth it.
We are ready for our first, big steps….

Advertisements

Catch and release

We have about a week until the day I plan to have our official first day of school. I’m still nervous, still think I am over thinking things, and might just put too much thought into worksheets, curriculum and everything around it. After all life has so many lessons all on its own.

The girls have been very interested in grasshoppers lately and we found some great books from the library to go along with it. After a very fun night out at the park last week , where we met so many other local homeschoolers and also saw so many grasshoppers, we figured we needed to go back out there and try to catch our own grasshoppers, a perfect break from all my “getting ready” . So Daddy helped along to make some jars and the girls were very excited about making a little home for their friends. We packed some juice, water and snacks and after dinner went out. Of course, when you are looking for them, as it is with everything else in life, they are hard to come by. The girls expected things to be easier and were getting discouraged fast, something I still need to work on, especially with my older munchkin, but I am so glad I now have all the time we need. After looking around in the tall grass ( I am normally NOT a bug person, especially here in TX with all the creatures) we found one sitting on the ground. I quickly grabbed the little ones jar and we had one !!
My little girl was thrilled that we had gotten one, my older one not so much. She wanted to do it on her own and only with a bit of talking she at least took the opportunity and studied the only one we had. I understood her disappointment and the feeling of wanting to get it done on her own. I promised her we would keep trying. We tried and tried but that one was our one lucky shot. After all we had fun with the little guy and after a few minutes let him escape back into his freedom !! But we will be back and someone will have her own chance again to catch her very own grasshopper 🙂

GOSSPHOTOGRAPHY

GOSSPHOTOGRAPHY

GOSSPHOTOGRAPHY

GOSSPHOTOGRAPHY

GOSSPHOTOGRAPHY

GOSSPHOTOGRAPHY

 

GOSSPHOTOGRAPHY

Getting started

I won’t deny it. There are days where I am completely thrilled about these new adventures and there are days where I am completely freaked out. You read wonderful articles about all these amazing home school families, dreams of even completely unschooling, and traveling in a van across the world pop in my head. I think everything is doable if you only focus… And, then there are those days, where I am thinking ” WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING ?” The nay sayers pop back in my head, the few articles of pointing out the bad homeschoolers, the few (and I really have only met very few) teachers that are against it. I am lucky, we are lucky, to pretty much have our whole family as a support group. Even though none live close, it feels good to know they are cheering for us. My mum helps wherever, with whatever she can. Advise or materials, she is there, and I thank her for that. Without her, without my amazing parents I wouldn’t have this dream. A dream of a better life for my family, for my children. And that’s when I am okay with it again. I know we won’t get things perfect right at the beginning, I know it won’t be easy, I know there will be people to make our path harder, but I remember every day why we chose to do this. I will remember all the good things I have read, the statistics as well as all the amazing people I have come across, and I will remember how important it is t be here for my kids and go through this learning adventure of life with them.

Even though my last post, was about not rushing back into school, we are all of course excited and I can’t drag the start out much longer. Plus, a good home school friend pointed out to rather start early during the hot months in texas and have more time off when it is actually nicer and colder for us 🙂

So a big help for me is organization. I feel like since we have preparing for homeschooling, I have gotten more and more back into the habit of it. Meal planning, grocery lists, yard work schedules and of course we will need some kind of schedule to get our school done every day. I thought about it for a long time, how much we should really schedule and how much we should let the kids decide. Since my kids have a hard time to get going in the morning and get side tracked every easily I figured we still need a somewhat strict routine, at least for now. Hopefully though the years we can be less strict on things.

We live in Texas and our homeschool laws are pretty relaxed, dream like compared to some other states and countries.

Texas State Law Requirements Regarding Home Schooling

To home school legally in Texas, you must follow three state law requirements:

  • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
  • The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
  • The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.

Pretty easy to get along with. Next to our Horizon packages of English and Math we agreed on History, German, Geography and Science. Music , Arts, and World Culture. Some of these we have a textbook and workbooks for, other we will just choose along depending what everyone is most interested in. After rewriting this schedule, about a dozen times I ended up with this rough estimate. We can tweak if we need to, but I think it’s a good start for us …The hard part for all of us in the mornings is to get started. Hopefully the 30 mins I plan in, will help with that. I plan on using songs, music, fun little games and interaction to get them awake and in a happy mood. Don’t forget 4-year-old and 7-year-old can still hold a pretty good tantrum and be pretty grumpy (mommy’s too especially if they don’t get coffee )

I found the time table through pinterest. I remembered how many fun timetables we used to have in Germany for school. Something I was always excited about when the new year began. Copy the new timetable. Everyone gets these, they are free when you buy your school supplies 😉 If you like it you can download it through pinterest.

http://pinterest.com/pin/257338566180866216/Stundenplan.psd

http://pinterest.com/pin/257338566180866216/