I’m homeschooling a first grader.
I feel like that’s legit homeschooling. We’ve always homeschooled. Living education as a life. But first grade? Oh man. It FEELS like a huge step.
We’ve just completed our first week of our first term. Our first term is going to last four weeks long. Then we’ll take a less focused week, do some review, evaluate for our next term. Our next term looks like it could be five weeks long. So while I’d love something steady and regular, I need to accept that our path right now needs to be taken one chunk at a time. We could end up with a dozen terms in one year, y’all. This is all an exercise of giving myself permission to remain at peace.
I have a pretty blue Leuchtturm1917 to use as a bullet journal for our homeschool. This makes my third bullet journal–I love the process that much. Also, I have discovered that I need to segment my life in order to have better focus and these pretty little books are just the thing.
Most of August was spent in thinking about which subjects we would cover, what skills she needed to focus on, what habits I needed to insist upon now, and which books were going to be tools for us. We’re quite eclectic around here with bits of a lot of different methods informing how we homeschool.
Teaching the skill of narration is very interesting. I really need to practice this skill myself. Narration is hard! When filler words start appearing in her speech (or sentences that say “the next day, she woke up in the morning that was the day after the day before”), I tell K is to stop and think about what she wants to say. She dictates to me and I write it down. Here she is drawing a picture to go along with her narration.
K made notebook covers for each of her four binders that we will fill as time goes on. I wrote down the titles so she could copy them but then she made additions. Deciphering her spelling is quite a job but I’m pleased as punch that she’s making a big effort to sound things out. This is progress. (Note: Explosion, S[cience] Stuff, S[cience] Goggles)
Our formal homeschool work is in the mornings but I admit that it I feel some pleasure when it becomes a springboard for further work whether or not it was related to what we did together. K independently made mystery goo in the afternoon.
Art has never really been my thing. Kaelyn draws better than I did at twice her age. I’m not very creative but I think there is something important about becoming familiar with different works of art and artists. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. K has an interest in art and so I stuck it in. I showed her the picture and had her look at it quietly for a few moments before talking to me about what she saw and asking any questions. Well, we attempted the quietly aspect. All about progress, right? We had a rich conversation about boxing, about whether it was real, and some of the detail in the art. I learned some things along the way! That evening, Jared was brought into the conversation as K had some unanswered questions still.
The next day art was on the schedule, I gave K a coloring page and she was so excited to see Dempsey and Firpo. She requested to see the art work while she colored. This is the first time she has done any sort of shading. I just had to capture it!
Fridays is field trip day. I have no idea what this will look like but I really want to get outdoors a lot of the time so I see exploring hikes and a lot of the area. K wants to visit some museums as well so we’ll get to this when the weather is cold and I don’t want to be outside. K also likes to explore nurseries (garden stores) so that will probably show up sometime.
Today we went to a nearby park. Some moms from church were getting together for a playgroup there midmorning so we headed out before then and played disc golf. It’s a lovely course in the woods. I’m terrible at throwing frisbees and so K and I were pretty equally matched.
One of us landed our frisbee in the water twice. And it wasn’t the first grader.
I find myself in semi-conversations where people make excuses for why they can’t homeschool. I get it. Not everyone wants to or can homeschool. No judgment here! However, many of these excuses are things that homeschooling parents have to handle. We don’t have children who magically want to learn when they’re told or do the work right or listen and obey promptly. We aren’t always organized. We lose our tempers. We bicker with our kids.
There is something vital about how we view and approach education. Is the goal to get the kid through the books? Or to get the knowledge into the child? Are we insisting upon behaviors because it is right as God has taught us? Are we at odds because we’re expecting a behavior from our child that they aren’t prepared to give? Are we humbling ourselves to be directed by the Holy Spirit to what our children needs best at that moment? Are we setting up habits and desires to live a lifetime of learning? Are we modeling what we want to see?
Are any of those questions specific to homeschooling? No. It’s about our children. It’s about looking in their eyes and in our hearts to find the path through life. It is about finding what is best and then supporting that. It is about recognizing seasons and sensitivities. It is about nurturing. It is about love and relationships. It is about seeing the truth, beauty, and goodness that fills this world.