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5 Things I Learned My First Year of Homeschooling

5 Things I Learned My First Year of Homeschooling

We just finished our first year of official homeschooling, and despite only having one in preK and one in kindergarten, we still learned a lot about what we (or mainly me) need to change in the future. 

While the year was not terrible, there were definitely days that could be improved. So thining it over I came up with five areas to work on:

Planning- I need to do more of it! I chose not to write down specific lesson plans for any given week, so I wouldn't stress out if we weren't accomplishing what was on my list. While this did allow the girls to work at their own pace, I feel like it also resulted in us missing out on some topics we could have covered because I was not prepared to teach the or did not have the needed supplies. I think it will be more beneficial to review my plans at the beginning of each week, and tell the girls what we are trying to accomplish, so they can also have a sense of pride in what they do accomplish!

Flexibility- You would think since I didn't plan much we didn't have a problem being flexible. And as far as extra curriculars and things like that we didn't. The flexibility problem came into play when the girls were having a bad day, and I kept trying to force school to happen (one thing I was trying to avoid by not planning). I do actually think more planning will allow more flexibility as well. I will have the more interesting subjects planned, so if we come across a bad day we may be able to do some of those instead of forcing others. It will also give the girls more of the control they seek as well.

Free Time- This goes along with the flexibility and planning issue.  I am very much a to-do list person, you know the one who writes down things after they are finished just to cross them off. Not a problem when it is just me, but try to get any number of strong willed kids (or probably kids in general) to go along with plowing through a to-do list and there are going to be problems. I think to solve this I need to set specific times to work along with breaks of free time in between. This will give them a break as well as me (even though I hate to admit I need them sometimes). 

Working at Their Own Pace- This wasn't a huge problem for me as much as it was for the girls. Nadia specifically tried to keep up with Bria in everything despite being a year younger. I tried to help her as much as I could, but eventually I had to force her to stay back a little while, and once I took control of that (despite tears from her), things were much better for both girls. She could work where she needed to be, and Bria thrived by not having to wait for her. 

Quality Time- This should be a plus to homeschooling not something you have to try and squeeze in. This isn't something you can do plowing through a to-do list! While I don't think there was no quality time, there were definitely more days of wanting to throw in the towel because no one was happy then I would have liked. 

Luckily I think all of these things can be remedied this next year with some planning and patience. However the year was not a complete wash, there are some things that worked well for us! These included:

Sabbath Schooling- We did schooling for 6 weeks and then had a week off.  Even though it made the year longer overall, it gave us a lot of flexibility that we needed when it came to moving or just being burnt out. I intend to use the same layout next year although I might start a couple weeks earlier in order to get out a little earlier.

Curriculum- We didn't use a ton of curriculum since we were just in preK and K, but what we picked out seemed to work fairly well.  We are continuing the same math curriculum this year, but finished our phonics, so we are using a new reading program that will hopefully work equally well for the girls. I made sure to get lots of opinions from people with similar kids, so they should work well!

Field Trips- We love field trips, and we try to take a lot of them. You can learn so much through the experiences you have on them. You can also get a idea of what topics your kids may really be interested in for future study! I actually hope we can include more this next year if at all possible!

We had out share of difficulties, but in the end the year was still a success as both girls progressed in their subjects and I think we are all closer then we were when the year started! Next year should go even better now that we all have an idea of what to expect and, hopefully, a better understanding of each other!

Now to consult my Homeschool Planning Resources and get started! 

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