Saturday, March 3, 2018

Homeschool

     My husband and I started homeschooling our second grade daughter a month ago. She had been enrolled in the same private school since kindergarten, and although we loved the school and the teachers, we wanted to spend more time with her.
Teaching new concepts to “the class”
   Mark works a night shift schedule as a Peds ER nurse, and I work several 24-hour shifts a month as an OB Hospitalist. He and I were both finding it difficult to find quality time to spend with our daughter because of our sleep schedules. Most of our parenting was revolving around evenings and homework.
     Aside from the safety issues in schools, and the fact that we wanted to spend quality time with her, we also wanted to be present as parents. Homeschool seemed to be the most logical solution to these issues.
     We have adopted a 4-day school week which extends our school year into the first week of July this year. If we keep this same schedule for third grade, we will do year-round school. That may not sound palatable, but it works out great. Our every day curriculum starts at 8:30am and usually ends by 1:30pm. The same structure is used every day:

0830 Bible (Lesson, prayer, Bible Verse, tests)
0900 Spelling (Writing words, worksheets, tests)
0930 Arithmetic (Lesson, review, doing problems on the board, worksheets, flash cards, games, tests)
1030 Lunch
1100 Letters and Sounds (Phonics lessons, worksheets, tests)
1130 Language (Lesson, worksheets, tests)
1200 Writing (Cursive Lesson, practice worksheets, journal writing)
1230 Snack/break
1245 Reading (Carpet time, reading from reader)
0115 Science/Social Studies/Music/Art/Health & Safety (rotate these weekly)


Some days we are finished earlier. Those days we have the option for a trip to the library, the science center, Barnes & Noble, or any desired field trip. This week we planted a “fairy garden” and learned about plants. We are starting to see the sprouts come up already. We have several science experiments planned, and we are gearing up for some fun art projects.
     I’ll be honest.  When we first started this, I worried. Would she get the proper education without getting behind? Everyone worries about socializing their child when homeschooling. Would she end up not liking it? Would Mark and I be too tired to maintain a school and the required structure?
     Since we pulled her out of traditional school mid-year, I’ve been able to keep in touch with her teacher to know what milestones she should be achieving. We are blessed because our daughter loves to learn. We are using the Abeka curriculum with a few substitutions. The curriculum gives you a daily work schedule that is quite honestly too aggressive. Despite the fact that we’ve slowed things down a bit, we are still ahead of schedule and having a fun time learning.
     As for socializing, our daughter takes swim lessons every week with a friend. We have planned tennis clinics. She spends time with her cousins as often as possible, and we have play dates with friends her age. We don’t have a regular homeschool group at this time, but we don’t seem to be needing one.
     Our daughter has “adopted” several baby dolls that she considers to be her children. Every day at school, she is allowed to bring two dolls to class as fellow students. They even have their own desks. They participate in class by asking questions, solving problems, and getting in trouble (I am their voices and personalities). This approach allows our daughter to take a teaching role every day. She likes to go up to the board and show them how to solve math problems, or how to write a word in cursive, or how to spell a word.
   
    This week after school we even had a spelling bee for her dolls. Our daughter made up the words herself. Homeschooling our daughter has been a little challenging, but it’s been so worth it. We love seeing her learn a new concept and be excited about it. We just love being with her, teaching her, and helping to shape her into the person God wants her to become. If you are considering homeschool for your child/children, be sure to look up your state’s laws for homeschooling. There are many more specifics I can help you with if you’re interested (attendance records, grading, work portfolio, etc). We plan to homeschool until middle school. We will reassess putting her back in private school at that time.

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