Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling’

H is for Homeschooling

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would ever contemplate home schooling my kids, I would say it had never crossed my mind.  At the time, being able to stay at home at least part time was a wish I thought was likely to never come true… but even if it did, I assumed kindergarten would mean heading to the public schools wherever we were (which wasn’t planned as where we still are!)   Three years ago, I lost the job that I thought was necessary to our family income .  Somehow (and I’m really not sure how!) we’ve made life work since then with some part-time, sporadic work for me.  It comes with sacrifices… like having a car that hasn’t worked for too many months now… but we haven’t wanted for necessities.  Somewhere along the way, I realized how grateful I am that I’ve been the one around to catch all of the adorable-isms that have characterized the preschool years.  They make the times of feeling isolated (because I will apparently never be like the other SAHMs) or overwhelmed worth it all.

The other thing that I thought I would never say is that I am grateful that my son had the chance to be in an in-home daycare for a few years, with kids ranging in age from infants to 5 (though I still don’t think those babies got the best care — at that facility, not all daycares — and I am so glad he was 1 before he had to go there!) I love that he had the chance to be around other kids and older kids to get some introduction to sharing, playing together, letters and numbers.  Looking back, I prefer that to the typical kids of the same age preschool set-up.  When he was finally home full-time at age 3 1/2, preschool or even a PDO was not an option.  We started doing “life school” at home… nothing formal at ALL, but just showing that all of life is learning — pointing out letters on the highway, reading tons of books, getting toys that were fun but also allowed for creativity.  And I started to realize how much I love watching him learn and don’t want to see him lose the love he has for learning.

Add that to some doubts about our neighborhood school, some doubts about public school in general, and having a child who is very asynchronous in development so far — past the end of the year kindergarten curriculum in some areas, right on target in others, and probably behind on some gross motor skills — and that leads to being fairly sure we will be homeschooling in the fall… though I will admit that decision is changing frequently right now.  I guess I should say we will be officially homeschooling… because I have come to realize that I’ve been doing it all along without labeling it as such.  I’m sure in the fall we will get more formal about it, but for now he loves to “play school” on the days we do more formal learning and learns just as much on the days we play or visit the zoo or something similar.  The huge task at hand right now is finding some groups to get support and friends from, and trying to have faith that it will all work out somehow.

This morning we had fun testing out an online program I’m thinking about for reading/phonics, playing go fish with sight words and counting/graphing with jelly beans! 🙂  Taking a break for lunchtime… then headed to the store to pick up a few groceries and the library to pick up some books on hold.  I’m thinking about making pretzels this afternoon but it depends on whether we’ll have time for the dough to rise and bake before we have to head out to pick up my husband from work.  And *that* depends on the weather… because I’m fairly sure we’ll end up at the park unless it decides to rain this afternoon.  I love having the flexibility to plan schedules around *my* priorities…

D is for Direction

Decision making is not a strength of mine.  I excel at endlessly analyzing options and never reaching a decision (My husband will be quick to agree with that).  But… over the next few months I am going to have to make several huge decisions (even if they end up being decisions by default) about what the next few years will hold for my family.  My 5 year old is heading to kindergarten in the fall… or not… depending on a decision about homeschooling vs. our local public school.  I am headed back to work… of some form… or not… depending on the school decision and a number of factors I can’t control such as whether anyone will hire me to begin with (job interviews rank in the top 5 of my least favorite things to do).  Life is headed in a different direction… and right now I don’t have any idea what direction that is.  I feel like I am just beginning to find the map for how to manage being a stay at home mom and now it is time to switch maps (and I’m not sure I ever got to where I was trying to on the first one!).

It is very easy for me to feel like there is a right decision… and a wrong decision… for every choice.  The reality is that not every choice is black and white.  (Okay, practically no choice is black and white… but the ones I am facing seem to be a very medium shade of gray).  I am trying to remind myself that whichever path we choose… or have chosen for us… will have treasures along the way.  (That isn’t working right now, but I’m trying!).  I have spent much of the last few years begging for some blazing billboard to tell me a direction to go in life.  It hasn’t come.  I really don’t expect it to.

I don’t expect to ever get to this point:

… but I sometimes wonder if it would be easier just to get rid of the expectations and trying to plan (it doesn’t work anyway) and just live life as it comes.  (Except, that still calls for making decisions!)

One Thousand Gifts: #89-#110

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

I’ve been slacking on blog posting during the holidays… and apparently well into January… but happy to report that I have not stopped being grateful. 🙂  Here are some little and not-so-little blessings of the last few weeks… and a promise from me to make more notes of what I am grateful for to share with you!

89) a white Christmas — flurries in Memphis, snow covering the ground in Nashville… that’s a white Christmas in the South!

90) the beauty of snow-glazed trees on the drive down I-40…

91) my little boy who is more excited to give than to receive gifts…

92) and who gets most excited about the presents that to us are materially small.  The “big gift” in his eyes last year?  A pear from Santa.  The “big gifts” this year?  That Santa remembered to bring a pear again… and a little Jelly Belly jelly bean machine.

93) spending time with extended family… some of whom I haven’t seen in a few years… at Christmas at my grandmother’s house.

94) The clean slate of a New Year…

95) Which also always reminds me of the blessing of parenting this miracle — for 5 years now.  (His birthday is New Year’s Day)

96) Being invited to play along with all the new Legos and Lincoln Logs and fun new board games.  I’ll take any day he wants to include me!

97) Watching all over again how much my little boy loves his Granny (my mom)

98) Clean water

99) Having access to whatever ingredients I need for cooking and baking… and being able to choose from a variety of foods to prepare (or, for that matter, never wondering if I am going to be able to eat on any given day)

100) The people who work on Christmas Day — doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel and gas station attendants come to mind…. passed a bad wreck on the interstate on Christmas Day and all I could think of was the family dealing with tragedy on that day… and the people who were there to help the day be a little better.

101) Watching the love between my little boy and our Oliver-kitty (so wish I had pictures of this one!)

102) The crunch of snow underfoot — twice in two weeks!

103) Watching Andrew and another little boy from our neighborhood play together in the snow… neighborhood friends are few and far between here.

104) My shower drain that finally drains water on its own (simple fix that took forever to figure out… but it makes the days start a little better around here!)

105) A impromptu story time at Chick Fil A (I offered to read a book to a little girl and attracted a crowd for a couple of minutes!) 🙂

106) The wonderful staff at our pediatrician’s office — I am glad we are not there often but also glad to be in such a caring environment when we are there!

107) Some peace on the decision to try out our local public school for kindergarten… or at least more peace than unrest at this point.

108) Avocados. 🙂  (Yes, I’ve been on an avocado kick lately…)

109) Being able to see the floor in my closet.

110) Silence… the gift for right now… just me up, and no sound except the click of the keys on the keyboard… not even kitty snores, which are usually part of the background noise.

Hoping that all of my blog readers haven’t left during my long hiatus!  I promise to get more on track with blogging. 🙂

Saturday Summary

I have decided to use Saturday blogs (at least during NaBloPoMo) to talk about random things that happened during the week or updates from other posts during the week.  I’m assuming some of you don’t have much time to browse blogs except on the weekends, so maybe this will be helpful! 🙂

The big hit from the menu plan this week was an amazing white bean and sausage soup! I didn’t plan for Saturday morning… but we are making a Sausage Breakfast Casserole right now that smells great! Bison burgers and sweet potato fries for supper — yum! Mondays are about to be all about weight loss here too… which fits in well with menu planning!

I talked a bit about homeschooling… and I have to admit that our lesson plan didn’t make it far. We’ve been having fun doing “school” in other ways though, and we made it to our favorite activity of the week — library story time!  I have found some cool art ideas from Ellen at Art Experiences for Tots (who is a fellow NaBloPoMo blogger, so check out her blog!)  I can always come up with reading/phonics/math activities, but art is a weak area for me so I am very grateful for tips!  We got a boost to Bible study by watching a DVD about trusting God, so that counts too, right?  Plus we learned lessons more valuable than schoolwork about giving to others, including helping a grandma at the store come up with present ideas for *her* 4 year old grandson, so I am going to count it as a successful week!

I’ve talked some about some friendships… and renewed some blog friendships (which I am sure I’ll be talking about at some point soon!).   I was able to spend some time catching up with a friend on Wednesday, and tonight my husband and I will be hanging out with 7 kids between the ages of 3 and 13.  One is mine, six are the children of a friend of mine.  We love this family and so we are glad to get to see them again!

I think the weather skipped right through fall and straight to winter here.  We had our first freeze warning last night and it was just above freezing when I checked the weather this morning.  Fortunately for me, we have plenty of hot chocolate, leftover soup, and chocolate chip cookies on hand!  (You really should check out those recipes, they are delicious and not that bad for you if you make the hot chocolate with skim milk!).  I’m going to go bundle up and try to get in some exercise today… but overall it looks like it is just going to be a lazy Saturday around here until it is time to go babysit.  That is the best kind anyway, right?  Might as well get a few of those in before the holiday rush starts!

By the way, today I am thankful for lazy Saturdays… the hot chocolate and cookies I got to snack on last night… and just having some time today to spend with family and friends.

Have a wonderful weekend!

This week is brought to you by the letter “E”

First of all… today is Election Day.  Even though sometimes I wonder if it makes a difference, I am thankful for the right to vote.  I am thankful today that I get to take my little boy to the polls with me and teach him a bit about voting too.  He did make me laugh this morning when I told him we were going to vote and he said, “But, I don’t know how to vote!”.  We’ve talked about what voting is and how he gets a vote in our family at times… so I had to explain that he is not allowed to vote today!  That reminds me… when I was in kindergarten, we got to “vote” for president in the 1980 election.  (Now I feel old).  I wonder if schools still do that?

Speaking of school… I am not sure if I have mentioned on here that we are contemplating homeschooling.  Expect a huge post about that in the future, but for now I mention that because I am inconsistently teaching Pre-K at home.  This week is brought to you by the letter E!

Our “pre-k” is not very structured.  The letter E lesson plan was developed Sunday driving home from church.  I was contemplating talking about the election… and then realized we have been reading a Magic School Bus book on electricity… and Sunday School had talked about Esther… and the ideas snowballed from there.  Andrew joined in with suggestions of learning about eagles, expectations, and eggs.  So… looks like we have a busy week ahead!  I’m sure we’ll add practicing writing the letter E and writing E words to that list.

So… I’m thankful for having a little boy who shares my love of learning.  I hope that, regardless of whether or not we homeschool, he keeps that curiosity throughout his life.

Have an excellent day!