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Friday, September 25, 2015

What We Learned Our First Month Homeschooling

You guys. It's finally FALL here in Georgia.

I can wear shorts with a sweatshirt or jeans with a t-shirt and can go a full 24 hours without sweating if I choose to do so. It's my most favorite time of the year. All of my favorite holidays are right around the corner - Halloween and Thanksgiving. (Any adult who still ranks Christmas as their favorite either doesn't have little kids or has learned the art of low expectations.) In other words, not me.

September also ushered in the season of homeschooling and I'm proud to say I survived a full month of teaching my own progeny and (for the most part) enjoyed it.

What has my first grader learned in school this month? 

Math: addition and subtraction facts up to number 10. So far I haven't actually introduced new concepts, but we are re-learning things the Singapore Math way and I feel like Elijah actually understands why 7-2 = 5 and can also explain why this means that 7-5 = 2. So maybe we've gone deep rather than wide here.

Reading/Phonics/Language Arts: reading, reading reading. It's exciting to see this kid finally reading snippets of text with ease. He still balks at picking up a book and reading, but it seems like soon he'll have enough of a base that it's not so painful each time. He's written a few letters, but I'd like to make that more of a priority this coming month.

Science: the animal kingdom. We began by classifying vertebrates vs. invertebrates and studied insects and their life-cycle (Britain could tell you in a heartbeat the invertebrate you are seeing in the picture above is an insect because he has 6 legs) and we just started talking about birds. Next week I'm planning a field trip to a local nature center so we can see birds of prey up close. Also, so I can see people other than the ones I birthed while the sun is up.

History: the very first people and early civilization. Highlights included creating making clay tablets and imprinting them with cuneiform symbols and making a model of the Nile River.

What have I learned during homeschool this month? 

School happens most effectively from 9am to 12pm. (Because everyone is fed and happy and the baby is sleeping for a good bit of that time.) Every now and then I'll work one-on-one with Elijah during the kids' afternoon quiet time, but I really like having that time free to prep dinner/do chores/rest.

Britain (4.5) and Ben (3) really want to "do school" too. I imagined they would be more content to wander around playing on their own. They really want paper and pencil type activities to do when Elijah starts doing the book-work stuff. I'm thinking it might be wise to buy a few pre-school activity books from Target to throw their way when E and I need to do desk work.

Between homeschool mornings and afternoon naps, I am at home ALL THE TIME. While I would love company, I really can't do playdates/see friends if we're going to have an effective day.  I wouldn't exactly say I'm lonely...but I do feel isolated. I keep reminding myself that this is a season and once Jude drops his morning nap, our schedule could change and we'll have more freedom. In the meantime, getting texts reminds me that I do have adult friends out there somewhere, so text away!

This is ALL-CONSUMING. Homeschool is not something we can do on the side or in-between our usual routine. I've started doing the grocery shopping on Saturday instead of mid-week which has actually been quite lovely as no children accompany me. Our house cleaners are a GOD-SEND. They come 2x a month and are the sole reason we sleep on semi-clean sheets and use semi-clean bathrooms. (To clarify...the house is spotlessly clean for entire minutes after the cleaners leave...but things descend into chaos VERY quickly.) My typical schedule at the gym has been side-barred and I really miss those classes. They were life-giving!  I am struggling to figure out when to pay the bills, when to call friends back, when to blog...when to do anything really that isn't essential to the day-to-day function of our house or my kids' education.

Teaching my kids is the coolest thing. All parents are naturally teachers. We teach our kids countless lessons without ever intending to...but having this opportunity of intentional hours, set aside for the sole purpose of's a precious gift and right now I'm enjoying it so very much.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh you are such an incredible mama to your incredible kiddos!! Loved this - so impressed by all you are teaching and how much Elijah (and Britain and ben!) are retaining. They're so smart but they've also got the sweetest little hearts, just like their parents. I've said it before & I'll say it again- I just wish I was a Leipprandt!! Ps can I crash the field trip to see the birds?!


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