We completed our first week of homeschooling!
It was certainly an invested week. All the months of research and planning culminated in one goal: just. get. started. Getting started is a big deal. Taking that first step into a big commitment takes bravery and courage. Getting started deserves celebration!
I thought it would be worthwhile to chronicle this journey in the hopes that it will encourage someone else who is new to homeschooling. I’ve read a fair amount from seasoned homeschoolers, but what I needed most this week was encouragement from newbies. It reminds me of those early months of having an infant. You read all kinds of books and trade stories with other mothers just to learn that the struggles you are facing are normal. That someone else can relate. That you are not in the task alone.
Our first day was rough. We both looked at each other a few times and wondered out loud if this was really what we were supposed to be doing. God gave me patience to persevere and not throw in the towel midway through math, but I was beat at the end of the day. If you read my last post, you know that He also provided encouragement via my husband and Instagram that built me up and helped me reset my defeated thoughts for day 2.
As the week went on, and we spent time on worksheets for math, spelling, language arts, and reading, I kept thinking there must be more to this than an endless barrage of worksheets to go over and fill out. But you have to start somewhere, right? We went to the library twice and just worked on finding a rhythm in our day. It felt, quite frankly, kind of contrived and boring. Not at all what I had hoped for.
When life hands you lemons…
By Friday we were feeling kind of blah. We are both aware that this is a learning process, trying to figure out how to do this homeschooling thing. I’m so glad that Youngest is old enough to process through these challenges together with some level of mature conversation. We’re in it to win it, so to speak, and willing to press on and make this a great year of learning.
We sat on our family room floor Friday morning, talking about how we could end the week on an upbeat note, and decided to go on a little field trip. Months ago, a friend who is a small business owner offered to have Youngest (I’m just going to start calling him Y, k?) – Y to work in her store for a couple of days. We agreed that he would go through the process of writing a resume of sorts, along with a cover letter explaining why he would like to work for her. He would also interview with her before starting his job. So, on a whim, we drove to her store with a written list of questions for him to ask her about what it’s like to be a small business owner. I’ve mentioned before that he has plans to start a store of his own. What is he going to sell? Whatever he can, basically. Not a good business plan at all.
She wasn’t available, but we had a great conversation with one of her employees, who happens to also sell her artwork on Etsy and in various other other venues. Now I had not one, but two people who were willing to share their real life knowledge with Y! We were getting somewhere! We went to Barnes and Noble to see if there were books for children about starting small businesses (negative), and ended up walking out of the store with Business Plans Kit for Dummies. Our first textbook! And oh, do I have plans for that baby. Finally I can help Y understand that you need to make a solid plan before launching into such an endeavor. There are so many ways we can integrate this into real 4th grade learning… lots of writing with a purpose, looking for opportunities to present real life math processes, talking about economics and how they play a part in the culture of the world, reading comprehension and vocabulary…
I’m hoping this will provide a great springboard to branch out of his core interests (read: fixations) to learn more about the world around him. Yes, he’s a bit of an Alex Keaton (he’s so cuuuuute!). We haven’t really encouraged his interests. He just has a natural bend toward technology and business. If schooling is not to be an endless barrage of worksheets alone, we have to have something worthwhile to add to the lesson plan.
Now, if I can just get him to follow my lead on this endeavor. The quandary facing every teacher.
To be continued…
source: 1 (me) 2 & 3 via