Saturday, September 17, 2011

One week down... the homeschooling has begun!

Our school year has started... and I've already had a melt down, ha ha! We took a day off after our road trip and started on a Tuesday instead, even so Tuesday hit me like a ton of bricks and all the sudden I felt totally overwhelmed. This is the first year I've done Kindergarten with anyone, I've always taught preschool in the daycare and last year I did preK with Bubu which is just a little step up from preschool so it didn't really phase me. This year there are a lot more subjects to cover in more detail and something about that threw me off. Also I think it will take a while to get into the groove of things and everything just felt really forced and unnatural. Add in to that two toddlers who weren't use to the change yet and wanted to climb all over me and do what Bubu was doing and two more kids who wanted in on the action and I just really felt the whole thing spelled disaster. Thankfully it's gotten better since then...There is always an adjustment period when you change a schedule with children or throw new things in. Our daycare schedule hasn't changed but with the added home school schedule for Bubu thrown in there it's definitely changed our day. After that first day and a melt down the next morning just thinking about starting the day, I've made some changes and things have gone a lot smoother.
The problem was mostly me, as usual. I'm afraid of failure. Always have been, so much so that it's held me back in life in a lot of ways. It hit me all the sudden that I could fail big time with this and I sort of froze up for a moment. I let it overwhelm me and started doubting myself and my ability to teach my children. I had to take a step back, speak with my husband and some homeschooling friends and supporters, and get my perspective back. I know that homeschooling fits our family best, at least at this moment, and so I am willing to throw myself whole heartedly into it.
I've also made the decision not to take on another daycare kid even if a good opportunity presents it's self. In fact I feel at this present moment that I am done taking on any new families ever. My current family is planning on having one more and I only have one more available opening anyways so I will be open to watching a second child of theirs and that's it. Even so that leaves about seven more years of childcare. That's enough for me. Hopefully at that time I will be able to stop daycare and focus on my children's schooling alone. At that time I will have ran a daycare for about 14 years! It will be hard for me to call an end to my childcare but I have a feeling it will be the best decision. If it wasn't for the love I feel towards my little daycare kid and my desire to watch him {and the fact that the family is a blessing to work with} I would call it quits now, even though that wouldn't be the wises financial decision. But he really does fit into our family dynamic well and so it doesn't add in a lot more stress then say my daughter alone. The only issue is the work it takes running a daycare and following all the daycare protocol as well as keeping my house in running order and cleaned up enough to open each day. That is actually the most stressful part for me right now. Sometimes I just want to be able to relax the schedule a bit, or leave the kitchen a mess in order to work on something with the kids, things like that. But I can't and that is what overwhelms me the most and causes the anxiety I feel. I hate feeling behind or having to rush to catch up, and I feel like my days are consistently like that right now. All those down times I use to spend cleaning and catching up are now spent teaching... where do I fit in the cleaning with out driving myself mad and staying up until midnight?
All that being said I do love teaching my children. It's exciting. And when I let go of the other stuff and focus on that it's a lot of fun!
We have some really great materials this year. I pieced together a kindergarten curriculum for Bubu for this school year but next year we will be using the full Sonlight curriculum. If I was braver and more confident I would love to put my own curriculum together, but for now I will rely on a really great program to do that for me. :) That way I know for a fact that every thing that needs to be covered is in fact being covered. There is a lot of book reading and less work books and text books in this curriculum so I feel that it fits our family well.

I spent some time organizing a corner of our playroom to fit our needs. I've changed it around a few times since then and it still doesn't feel perfect but it's almost there. The kids have easy access to the things they need and their own spaces for their school projects and papers. I have space for everything I need and it flows pretty well.

I organized and rearranged our art shelves in the laundry room, which is right next to the playroom. I made room for each kid to have their own shelf for their school work and such. I was going to move this into the playroom but for now I think it might be best out of the way {and out of the hands of the little ones}. It's easy enough to get to.

I posted Bubu schedule so that it was easy for me to see and know what comes next. I've already changed it a few times to make the day go smoother, it's all a learning process. I have the bulletin boards all prepared, although I might move them closer to the learning corner. I do wish that the school corner was a bit more separated from the play room but there really isn't anything I can do about that right now, and I also need a table and chair set up that is better for little kids, so that their feet can touch the floor. That I just have to figure out here in the next few weeks, maybe find a shorter table/chair set up or just make the current one shorter... not sure yet. Our school day right now is from 8:30 to 3 at the latest, broken up by breaks and snack/lunch. We are doing a 4 day schedule with Fridays used more freely. Sometimes they will be used for bigger projects, or any catching up that needs to be done. Sometimes we might just take a Friday off to enjoy the sunshine, or take a breather. Maybe even use them to go on a field trip. Who knows, but for use the four day a week works best for now. You'd be amazed by how fast you can cover a subject with just a kid {or four}.

So there you have it, our first week. The ups and downs and all. :) I will try to post more about our year, mostly so that I can look back on it all, hopefully with fondness. ;)


Marlea said...

You are a brave woman and I admire you!
So coming from a parent who has 2 kids in public school....My kids only go to school 165 days, that includes 2 late starts each month (4 hour days), their regular school day is only 6 hours, that includes 2 recess at 15 min each and one lunch at 15 min. In kindergarten they only go half days, 3 hours with 1 recess and lunch. In kinder all they have to know is their alphabet, numbers and a few words. And honestly I don't even think they HAVE to know that much.
So what I am saying is that you are WAY ahead of the game. Don't stress, I see kinder as a testing ground. :-)

MGM said...

Started "formally" homeschooling my daughter when she was three and reading already. Didn't push her, just tried to give her the level of stimulation and learning she seemed to need. I didn't know at the time that she is "gifted" as she is our first child. By the time I was in the fourth year of homeschooling, I started my second born (my son) in a "formal" kindergarten homeschool program. I was 100% more laid with him at age 4 than I was with my daughter at age 3. But he was ready, and I took a nice gentle approach. Sonlight worked well for a couple years with my super precocious and quite gifted and advanced daughter, but would not have worked at all with my also advanced son. Regardless of the curriculum, I took a much more laid back approach to "school" with him last year, and was still met with great success in what he learned for the year--how easily he was reading and how well he was reading by the end of Kindergarten. My learning experience in this is that I got just as much progress, probably more, in a really laid back approach. Son probably had a total of 1-2 hours per day of any sort of "formal" instruction for Kindergarten and still finished up the year successfully and exceeding the "mark."

In my 5th year of homeschooling this year, and have finally learned that so often "less is more" in so many ways--slowing down and just doing small bites matched to my children's individual paces and learning styles, and slowing down enough and straying from my agenda enough to find the learning opportunities in daily life has been so much more rewarding and effective for all of us. Detaching myself from the idea of recreating "school" as we know it at home(including all the things that are NOT effective in formal "school" settings), helped immensely as well.

At a homeschool conference a couple years ago, I listened to a speaker present solid research outcomes showing that homeschooled children excel on every measured aspect, and demonstrated that the reason WHY had nothing to do with what curriculum was used, how many extra curricular activities are included, how the day was structured, what "method" or approach was used, but instead the success was due to the level or PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT in the students' lives and learning. That's it. Plain and simple. So enjoy the process of just BEING with your kiddos and fostering a positive, non-stressful learning environment, and it will unfold beautifully!

Best to you on your homeschool journey!

MGM said...

P.S. Sorry for the "novel" length comment above! :) Just passionate on the topic!

Riahli said...

Thanks gals, I needed those words of encouragement... I often make things too complicated before I realize I need to back off and relax. :) I wish I was able to relax better, I'm pretty hyper and highstrung, I'll admit. Plus I always want to do everything perfect and hate making mistakes or being wrong. I know that learning from my mistakes is what matters but I just hate making them in the first place. I hold myself to a higher standard then anyone else around me. With homeschooling I've notice already that I forget to step back and look at the bigger picture, which means I get caught up in all the little stuff and worrying that every thing is not being done perfectly. I know that Banden does better with a laid back approach so I need to let go and relax a bit to be successful with him. I want this to be a fun learning experience were we grow together and to be honest the way I've started the year out hasn't exactly been that... :/