Celebrating our first year homeschooling

June 17, 2010

what a year! thank GOD for the blessing and privilege to be home with my daughter this year, learning and growing and being stretched and being blessed.

my husband and i both had been feeling drawn (led?) to homeschool over the past few years, each of us growing in our belief that this was the  ideal schooling choice (for a plethora of reasons) for our family. maddie began to ask to be homeschooled last year (!) , and it became increasingly difficult to explain why we weren’t. finally, with my husband leading and making the leap-of-faith decision last summer, we took the plunge.

and i am so thankful!

i spent last summer researching, seeking, learning, asking … and becoming overwhelmed, as there is SO much information out there; so many options and choices. and i wanted to make sure i was making the very best decisions and did not leave a stone unturned. ultimately, after a couple months of near-frantic research, i had a peace – that things would be FINE, no matter what choices i made about the details (which math program, etc). in my mind, there were the “majors” and the “minors”; goals that were over-arching, big picture goals and then the less important details. when i kept focused on those, knowing above all my human effort, GOD is sovereign and His grace truly supplies all that is needed, i relaxed.

some of the sweetest parts of homeschooling??

:: spending TIME with my daughter; focused time, down time, in-between time … talking, walking, learning, laughing, growing (deut 6: )

::being stretched as a parent without the “out” of someone else spending most of her waking hours with her (school).

::being in the moment.

::being spontaneous! want to go to the park mid-morning with friends, because the sun in shining and we long to be outdoors? yes, let’s go!

::knowing what my daughter is learning. sounds so basic, but when she was at school, i was so disconnected from the learning that she was doing, and would be lucky if i quickly glanced over the multitude of papers that made their way home at night.

:: our incredible network of homeschooling friends and families! we are blessed, in abundance. most weeks were full of playdates, outings, learning times, spontaneous play opportunities, etc. and what we loved? the “socialization” was not just with other 10 year olds (as in regular school classrooms). maddie played with kids ranging from newborn to 14 yrs old!

:: being able to dive deeply in to what caught her interest; to look closely, study deeply, discuss, explore.

:: to notice the beauty around us, like the birds in our backyard! she now knows about scrub jays, pigeons, spotted towhees, sparrows, and red robins.

:: flexibility! in studies, in schedules, in life.

:: being able to sleep in!! =) maddie loves to sleep late, and her body needs it. so there was no frantic morning rush to get out the door; instead, we could enjoy a relaxing pace, eat a homemade breakfast, and slowly start our day.

:: morning walks together!

:: a major highlight (as this was one of the goals and a “major” for the year): maddie read 3,218 pages! that is *incredible*!!! in real books, not segments of stories in a text book. real books, real reading, and she loved it! what an answer to prayer.

:: studying GOD’s word together, and being able to spend an hour learning about samuel, for instance. both of us, learning! filling hearts and minds with the most important knowledge.

(there are so many more highlights that i’ve forgotten, for sure …=) )

and because we are imperfect and life is hard, this year was not perfect. there were hard days, hard moments, and plenty of struggles. there are things to be done differently next year; plans to implement and new ideas to try.  there is always learning to be done! but overall, it was good. and i am grateful.

** to celebrate a wonderful first year, we had a little “party” last friday night. we got donuts from the local donut shop, as our tradition is to go on the first day of school (including the first day back after christmas break), so i figured – why not the last day? =) we made pizza (of course, friday nights!) and then i presented maddie w/a  scrapbook/journal that i created for her.

for the scrapbook, my bffer jaina helped me think of how to organize this one. =)

  • the first 4 pages were filled with “highlights from 4th grade” – i went through my day planner and school organizer and wrote down every special activity, event, project, outing, etc … then listed them, bullet point style, down a white page. i mounted the page on colorful craft paper, put in the scrapbook.
  • the subsequent pages were divided by learning subjects, and i listed her test scores, focus of study, learning done … for each category (ie, for reading, i listed the title of the books that she read and then had a page highlighting her total pages read this year). the pages were: reading, bible, math, spelling, geography, history, observation, moving our bodies, writing.

journal cover- she selected the pic!


4 Responses to “Celebrating our first year homeschooling”

  1. Wow Em, I love the scrapbook/journal! I want to do something more exciting for Regan that just his planner.

    I loved walking through this first year of homeschooling journey together!

    Definitely worth it! I’m so glad we did it!

  2. Lori Says:

    Wow! What a fabulous and creative idea! I love that! Wonder if I could pull something like that off??? Don’t know how it would work with 3 of them. But that is really beautiful.

  3. Stacy Says:

    YAY! What a wonderful post. I loved reading about all the highlights for you of homeschooling! (Isn’t it *such* a great blessing!?)

    Blessings to you and yours!

  4. Meredith Says:

    So glad to hear that Maddie is fostering a love to read books 🙂 I used to love the summer reading program at the library…I’d look forward to it all school year!

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