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Kristen is a home­maker, home­schooler, and a home­keeper. Her experience includes nineteen years of practice, raising three kids, a husband, and a dog. Writing about her life helps her stay sane. She believes that sharing stories helps others by providing opportunities to share advice (and helpful hints) about homeschooling, and raising kids on the autism spectrum, while supporting marriages and families that are striving to thrive.



We're All a Little Mad Here

 

As I write this, I am in the middle of our school day, and summer is coming fast.  

We are not quite halfway through our curriculum.  

We just didn't get to it. While the anxiety side of me starts to panic at this thought, the rational side of me reminds me that it is OK.  It's not like we didn't do school at all this year, because we did.  I know that, sometimes, homeschool just doesn't look like school.  We belong  to a co-op where the girls took science, writing, foreign language and drama once a week.  We went to music lessons several times a week.  We just didn’t stay on top of history or grammar the way I had planned  We were not as structured this year because of health concerns for four out of five of us, which necessitated traveling to many, many doctors and specialists. Throw in the husband having foot surgery and being home for ten weeks… well, we just didn't always get to the curriculum.  We had a lot going on, to say the least.

I wrote a post back in the fall about how this is a season. Again, in my head I'm good with this, but in my heart I get all nervous and worried. I fret about achievement scores and the end of year testing we have to do.  The only testing we do.  I'm over aware of the girls’ sentence structure, while they're talking, mind you.  Things like subject verb agreement pop into my head during random conversations. Everything becomes a “teaching moment” which to the kids sounds a lot like a lecture-- I call it discussion. My little one is dyslexic, too, and can not grasp the usage of commas, semicolons, capitalization, and periods. Grammar is consistently the girls’ lowest score on the end of year test. This year, math anxiety is high for both girls, too.  We bake together, but fractions continue to be a road bump for everyone in the math world, including me. We watch a lot of videos explaining fractions. 

In a nutshell, we were all a little worked up about testing this year. So, did we wait to finish the curriculum before we tested? We could have. We have until August to submit scores to the Superintendent. But, no! We all (the girls and I) had the same thought to just take them and get them  over with. So, we did. Then, we prayed and hoped for the best. And, just like homeschool statistics consistently report, they did fine. They did more than fine, actually;  they did above average- even on the grammar and dreaded math sections. 

Here is the best thing about homeschooling:  you get to follow your own schedule, and work at your own pace. So, this year when we were driving back and forth to Fairfax or Richmond or spending all day in the car, we could still cover some history and reading with audio lessons, and we were able to discuss content, so we weren't really skipping school. Also, on bad days we could stop early or take a break altogether, because we could always do some things on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon if we needed to (which translated, meant if I was feeling guilty or panic stricken because of a perceived lack of progress). On the mornings after a bad night of pain or restlessness, we could sleep in and start slow.  And on the days when we were dealing with meltdown after meltdown, we could abandon school entirely and focus on character training. 

So, my angst over the end of the year testing and lack of completion of the purchased curriculum is just that. It’s angst. It’s unnecessary. We don’t need to get so worked up about testing, because “school” is happening in every day life. Now, we can relax and just take our time finishing up history over the summer. We usually read and do math anyway, so it won’t be all that different. The girls, of course, think their world is coming to an end with the announcement that we’ll be doing school through the summer.  I’m trying to calmly remind them we’ve had a different kind of year, anyway, and haven’t really done a full amount of schooling this year (even though we did, albeit differently)... but we’re all a little mad here. Anxiety runs in the family, I guess.

It is nice to see the sun again, and we’re totally excited that it's almost summer. We will be spending the mornings (hopefully) finishing up the Renaissance and early explorers and doing some math, and then we will be out enjoying the warmth and sunshine!  We will continue to sleep in and take our time.  I believe this is officially called unschooling, but I still just call it a season. I’d prefer a little more structure for the next school year, if we ever get there.  I suppose it’s possible, though, that we will just be used to this pace and continue on with it. Only time will tell.  

What are the plans for your summer days?  Do you tend to be willy-nilly, or more structured? 

 

 

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