Our First Year of Homeschooling: Everything You Need to Know!

I decided to homeschool the children this school year for a number of reasons.

It’s something I had always kept in the back of my mind to grant them flexibility and the chance to learn outside of the box. My husband was homeschooled so he always encouraged me to give it a try. But the main reason I chose to homeschool my children this school year was because of the pandemic.

If you recall, last summer there were still so many variables and unknowns when it came to the pandemic. To avoid the back and forth with in-person and virtual learning, I decided to pulled them out of the local public school district and I transformed my basement into a school room.

We just wrapped up the curriculum (I chose My Father’s World this year). While we will continue to do school work all summer long, I am no longer standing at the white board teaching lessons from a spiral notebook. At least not for the 2020-2021 year.

So let me break down the pros and cons of my first year of Homeschooling and then answer a few of your questions.

CONS:

  • It’s hard. I’m going to start with the most obvious first. I won’t sugar coat it…. homeschooling multiple children at different grade levels and learning styles is H A R D.
  • Each child’s learning style is different. I struggled the most with Eden. She has a much different learning style than Luke. She reminds me of myself. More of a creative and has difficulty seeing things in black and white. The curriculum we chose this year was more black and white. She would get frustrated (understandably so!) and give up sometimes. She is just as smart as Luke, if not smarter in some ways, but her learning style is much different. I’m hopeful she will excel greatly in the 2nd grade at school with a teacher next year. 
  • It can be lonely. I know there are support groups and there are even women in my neighborhood who also homeschool. We did homeschool field trips too. But when it comes down to it, day in and day out can be very lonely.
  • Curriculums are hard to choose. I went back and forth for quite some time before we started homeschool, and ended up choosing My Father’s World. Since I’ve agreed to homeschool Luke again, I won’t go with MFW. In my opinion, it was too easy. It didn’t challenge Luke as much as he would like to be challenged. So we will look for alternatives this fall.
  • You really have no idea how you’re doing. I don’t think it will be until Eden goes back to school next year that I will have any idea if this last year was a success or not.

PROS:

  • Flexibility. This is the first pro and the biggest one in my opinion. If we had a trip planned, we just doubled up on homeschool the previous week or that weekend. If we has dentist appointments or swim lessons, we’d do school later in the day as opposed to first thing that morning. You can take Fridays off completely or Mondays… or really whatever you’d like because there is no set schedule!
  • Freedom to learn whatever you want. I was pretty clueless at the beginning of the year but after a full year of homeschooling I have learned what works for my kids and what doesn’t.
  • Closeness. The kids have grown so close to one another during the course of this year. Sure, they were already close…but the bond they share now is deep.
  • I learned a lot about the kids. When they are in public school, I really don’t have any idea what kind of student they are until parent/teacher conference or if there is a problem. As a homeschool mom, I have learned so much about each child and had the chance to see their strengths and interests flourish.
  • There is so set schedule. If you want to homeschool during the weekend, you can. If you want to cram 2 weeks of work into one, you can. If you want to go on 4 vacations, you can. There is so much freedom in homeschooling. That is what I will miss the most.

Questions you had for me about homeschooling: 

  1. What curriculum did you use? I used My Father’s World for 2nd grade. They recommend purchasing the curriculum for your oldest child even with multiple kids. I don’t think I would use MFW again, though. I’m not sure how challenging it was. 
  2. What would you do differently? I would have found a better math curriculum. Math is the only subject I don’t think we did a great job on this year. I am already trying to research for next year with Luke. 
  3. What did your schedule look like? It was busy! Some days were more chaotic than others. I tried to get the kids up, dressed and fed by 9. They then did their morning chores and met in the basement by 9:30. We did homeschool with very little breaks from 9:30-noon, depending on everything we needed to accomplish that day. Noon-1 was lunch and “recess” we then they would have golf, rest time, or free play for the rest of the day. We took every Friday off for a field trip or nature walk. 
  4. Would you consider doing homeschooling again? Yes! We have already decided to send Adam to preschool this fall for the 2021-2022 school year. He needs socialization beyond his brothers and sister. Eden will return to our local school and enter 2nd grade. She misses her friends and thrives in a social environment. Jude, of course will be home with me. But Luke wants to continue with homeschool. Luke is extremely disciplined. Waking up, showering, making his own breakfast and starting his studies before I can even say good morning. He wraps up his school day around 10-11, has a quick lunch and is ready to golf. His main reason for wanting to continue with homeschool is for golf. I know he’s only 8, but as many of you know this kid’s passion is unlike anything my husband and I have ever seen. So, through a lot of thought and discussion, I have agreed to keep him home again next year and continue with our homeschool studies.
  5. Any wins you noticed as a result of homeschooling? Yes! Lots of wins throughout the year. We spent a lot of time on history this year. Learning about the Pilgrims, early settlers, founding fathers, Native Americans and so much more! Eden’s reading is stronger now than it was before the year started, Adam can recognize all his letters, spell some sight words and add small sums. Luke is mastering Spanish! 

Honestly, I know I will look back and miss a lot of special moments we had together this year in our basement. I’m very thankful I took the leap and chose to homeschool them this year. I know now I can do it, and would do it again! Not to mention, we have all grown so close which is something I will cherish forever.

Do you homeschool? If so, what are your pros and cons?

 

2 Comments

  1. Kori Ireland
    May 4, 2021 / 7:32 pm

    What math did you use? And what did you like and not like about it? Six kids and 15 years, and I have used LOTS of math programs! Some are geared for kids who struggle with math, some are geared for kids who love math, some are geared for mom’s who love math😂 – it matters!

    • Shanisty
      Author
      May 5, 2021 / 7:41 am

      We used Saxson math… but honestly, I kind of did my own thing more than following that curriculum. We will for sure do our research for this coming fall!!

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