Enthusiastic Homeschool

I recently read this post by a wonderful homeschooling mom, Audaciter Matris. Go ahead. Read it. I’ll wait.

Good, right? I mean, after homeschooling for four years, it is fun to remember the excitement that I once felt as a newbie. When my system was still in flux, when I wasn’t totally sold on this idea or that. When it was all fresh and unknown.

Going into my fifth year is interesting in a new way. I have finally found what works for us after trying different things for four years. I have tried so many methods, every year starting a new book or a new schedule. I have given up on most everything that I have tried. I figure that if I am bored teaching something after only a few weeks, then the kids must be barely surviving!

But, this year, I think that I have got it down. This year, I am doing what we did last year. For the first Β time, I am entering a school year with confidence. Last year, we tried out some things and they worked so well that we can repeat them this year. It is a cool thing to know what we are doing, to know that we will enjoy it. Amblesideonline.org is the main thing. We are on year four, and we love it this year as we have in years past. (Right now we are working our way through, “George Washington’s World” by Genieveve Foster. Awesome!)

Homeschooling is a journey, and I am sure that it will change again. Soon, the big kids and the little kids will have to be separated and I will be teaching two classes. As learning styles demand new methods or our lifestyle changes and takes us down new paths, we will adjust and continually search for what works for us.

But, for now, I am thankful to have found what works for us in this season, at this time. It isn’t as exciting or as thrilling as those first few years of daring and exploration, but rather, it is cozy and comfortable. For this year, anyway…

7 thoughts on “Enthusiastic Homeschool

  1. This is our second year ‘doing school’, though my son is only in 1st grade. I keep wondering, is this it? It doesn’t seem so hard! It only takes an hour to an hour and a half in the morning and we’ve covered it all! Of course, it is only first grade, and Thomas is already a proficient reader.

    The most frustrating thing, though, comes during narration times. When we read a chapter and I ask, “What happened in our chapter today?” or “What was your favorite part of our chapter?” I only get feeble answers. And I wonder how many leading questions I should be asking to get a cohesive answer from him.

    But there is so much excitement. And it’s so nice not having to send my kids away for the day!

    • I pretty much skip narration. I find that it comes naturally. When the Man asks them what they learned at the dinner table, or something in our day makes us remember, “Hey, this is like in that book…” I guess that is my unschooling tendency talking. πŸ™‚
      We only “do school” one day a week, for about 2 hours. The rest of the week there is lots of reading and game playing and discussion, so there are lots of opportunities to see if they are retaining what we read during “school”. πŸ™‚

  2. This is the start of our ~well, MY~ 18th year. Being a “newbie” and excited just doesn’t do as much for me as the confidence I have in know what direction works (with a little tweaking here and there, but not much!) The beginning of every year is exciting, even if not for long.

    I think that for narration with a first grader, I’d do all kinds of leading questions, tons even, and put all kinds of my own thoughts out there. It helps them “see” how to process it if they can watch you process it and process it with you. And yes, natural dinner time/dad times are great narration times, too! Plus, maybe some days, they don’t even have a favorite part! πŸ™‚

  3. When I was in high school, if anyone had ever even mentioned that one day I might get the “enthusiastic homeschooler award” you would have been laughed out of town. =)

    On another note, I don’t wait until the end of the chapter for narration a lot of times. I try to break up longer readings with “Okay, so what has happened so far?” or “What do you think is going to happen next?” or whatever. Especially if I see attention spans redirecting. =)
    And sometimes we do not do narrations at all, but like you said, it comes up later in the day. Especially with my 4.5 year old. She usually cannot tell me at the end what we just read about but I’m always hearing, “HEY! We have Italy on our map!” type stuff all day long. =)

  4. This is my 4th year. I think I go more “unschooling” every year. I feel like we get sooo much learning just living life. πŸ™‚ Of course, I still have only one “student” who is very proficient in reading and conprehension and will not put books down (even at 12am!!).

    Next year, I will have another “student” and will have my very first experience of being responsible for someone learning to read (my oldest went to building school for a year where he learned). I am a little nervous and excited about *next* year.

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