However, Homeschooling has always been in the back of my mind, and last year, as we realized Lizzie was just a year away from Kindergarten, we really began our research.
I have searched pros, and cons, making list after list of reasons not to homeschool, reasons why I was scared to homeschool, and reasons why homeschooling can be awesome, and the evils of common core curriculum beginning to be implemented in our schools. I made a list of the values I want my children to learn and how they can learn those values.
When we got Maricopa I started learning about the great homeschooling society here, and the support that is available. but I still was too nervous and overwhelmed to take the plunge of homeschooling.
I researched over the last year (much of my researching filled my long hours of bedrest), all the different types of homeschool styles and curriculum. I learned about education and discovered how I felt about education.
The school year started out ok. Legacy teaches kids in subjects the grade level above them, meaning Lizzie was being given stuff at a very fast pace, and that her math was first grade math. A lot of people I have talked to around here tried Legacy and found it too difficult and fast paced for their child. I want to emphasize that this was NOT the case with Lizzie. It was very easy for her, and she will continue to learn at this pace or even faster at home.
But her school has kids spend the whole day in their desks, and they do very little creatively. Lizzie struggled with this because she LOVES to create and use her imagination, and it's also something I place high value on.
I have felt on the fence about homeschool ever since we decided to start Lizzie at Legacy August 1st. She attended for over a month, with nothing majorly dramatic. Last week she started to struggle a bit, her tummy hurting and her crying and crying that she didn't want to go to school. That she wanted to learn Kindergarten at home. I thought it was nerves because of her poem recitation coming up. I told her no matter what I decided, she was still going to school to recite her poem, because that is part of being brave and doing hard things.
She DID her poem. She did great, even if you couldn't understand her too much through her tears and sobbing as she said it in front of her class. :-) But that's just Lizzie, being in front of people is not her thing.
I thought we had passed the difficult part. Getting over fears is so important and I believe standing up in front of people and doing something hard is part of growing up. She gained a measure of confidence in herself by that. She came home very cheerful and proud of herself and had a good rest of the day at school.
then the next morning came around.
She said she still didn't want to go to school anymore. I think there is a little bit of boredom for her there, just like with me in school. The next morning she woke up with a tummy ache again.
I realized that there was no reason at this point to keep her in school. I wanted to teach her, I felt it was my calling right now to teach her. She wanted to learn at home. We were learning to read better at home anyway. She was progressing faster at home. Our family is closer when Lizzie is home and learning is going on all day long.
So we did it. We took the plunge. We pulled her out of school last week and it has been great. I am not going to lie and say it is all sunshine and flowers. There are still tantrums and she sometimes doesn't want to do the work I give her, but overall, it has been a great change.
The spirit is in our home more fully. Also, the spirit of learning is in our home. We learn all day. We have the freedom to do school work when we want to, so we do an hour of work, and then take a break and read or play or whatever. But it seems like school never ends, because everything is involved, we learn about fractions while cooking together, we learn about counting when we clean, we learn about reading all day as Lizzie sounds out letters all the time and read EVERYTHING she possibly can.
Sara LOVES having Lizzie home, and while having her home more means that they fight a little more, it has also made them be friends more.
Lizzie and I have been butting heads constantly for the past year. She does not like to listen to me and we both like to argue a point to death, and that makes for a lot of frustration for both of us! One of my goals this year has been to LISTEN more and be much slower to frustration. This doesn't mean I let her get away with more stuff, but it means that I listen honestly to her reasons why she is acting out and I try to pinpoint what is causing it.
Because of this shift in MY attitude, I was prepared to listen to Lizzie as she told me all about school and told me why she wanted to be home. Lizzie and my relationship has changed so much and she and I are much closer. She hugs me more. She wants to be with me more. I am so so grateful for this. She told me I am "the best mom ever" for keeping her home and teaching her.
I am not trying to convince anyone to homeschool. I am not even trying to convince you to agree with me. I am stating our process of the decision to homeschool, and how we got to this point. I don't want to make a list of all the reasons I think it is right and all the studies I did and blah blah blah. I don't want to argue with anyone, I just want to post about our decision, and how peaceful and happy we feel about it!
Also, one of the best things that I love about homeschooling is that we read. A lot. We learn by reading. And I love it. Lizzie is already loving to read and we have read two Junie B Jones books this week and half of the Lion the With and the Wardrobe just in the week we have been doing this! How wonderful! They have also really enjoyed when I read Aesop's Fables to them and we talk about the lessons we learn from those stories. And we are enjoying some classic fairy tales from "The Red Fairy Book."
This past week and a half of homeschool we have done so many fun things! A lot of her school work and curriculum are arriving by mail in the next few days, so we just did simple stuff. She has a little spelling list we worked on I gave her, and she wrote out lots of abc's, and she worked on phonics. She read from her easy books to me, sometimes while I was feeding the baby or cooking dinner. she is getting really good. We did some math pages adding up to 10 that I printed online until her worksheets get here.
But, we also just played! They spent one afternoon painting, and another creating a fun and hopefully comforting project for a struggling family member. We have watched nature videos together, and I LOVED watching them get up and try to dance like the cranes, so cute. Then we talk about what we are learning.
This week we are learning about China, and I plan to do this every week, a different country. We will learn about it during the week and then they will help me cook a meal and have a mini party as if we were in that country. We are having tofu and fried rice tomorrow, and making paper lanterns and maybe even watching Mulan for family movie night. We will print off maps and facts and interesting stuff and gather each country in a binder.
Anyway, we are doing great and thriving with this, and we just wanted to share this decision with you all and update how we are doing. Which is wonderful! Lizzie is still on the waiting list for afternoon Kindergarten, and if a spot opens up we will probably put her in it, she will probably do better at that time for a number of reasons. For now though, we are super happy.