We are 103 days into our school year and I figured I would share how it has been going.
Back in March I had essentially purchased all of our curriculum for the year. I decided that I wanted to use Classical Conversations as our base curriculum and there were some additions that I needed to make and did so through considering our boys and their needs and interests. Little by little there have been some tweaks that we have had to make as far as math and reading but overall I love the curriculum.
We began our journey in August. The boys jointly decided on a Sunday that the next day would be their first day of school. I was not sure about starting as early but they were gung-ho about it so I decided we would go with their excitement. The first three weeks were an adjustment for all involved. The realization that we are together twenty four hours a day seven days a week in our sixteen hundred square foot house offered a few come to Jesus moment. There were a few tears, mostly between little brother and myself. We have personalities that are similar and different all at the same time and we had a few battles of wills. We ended August with a field trip and the culmination of our study of birds and their flight patterns / migration.
September began with the excitement of meeting with our CC Community on a weekly basis. Granted there were some nerves on my end as I chose to be a tutor for our community, and as it turned out the only tutor for the thirteen children ranging from 4-11. With the addition of CC Community came with it the introduction of the Essentials of the English Language and IEW curriculum. There were a few weeks of complete overwhelm with the information. Some considerable frustration over the writing aspect of the Essentials program. We ended September with another field trip… this month’s field trip was not really pre-planned there was no connections that were planned in the going to the Step Back in History – it was more of a break from the every day and a welcome break at that!
October brought about some heart work that needed to be addressed. I think the realization that we are all together all the time and that we are doing life and school together got a little too much for a few of us. Middle brother and I struggled – I was informed by him that I use too many words. We had hit a wall with math and I am so grateful that there were a few mornings that Michael was home and was able to sit with Middle brother and talk through some of the equations. By the middle of the month both Big and Middle brother completed our purchased math curriculum. Both of the boys were then given the task of going through Khan academy grade level math and getting an 80% or higher on all tests. Kind of crazy to me that after 50 days of schooling our boys had completed the 180 day curriculum. I do acknowledge that math is their favorite subject and that they would much rather spend two hours on math than ten minutes on writing! 😉
November was a lot of the same stuff. The boys each night as I was tucking them to bed would ask, “What are we doing tomorrow?” My answer was pretty much all the same, “School!” This month the word “Diligent” became one of my constant vocabulary. Since the older two boys had completed our purchased curriculum they were working on Khan and I began to notice less than diligent work habits. Being on the computer allowed them to scroll Amazon or log in to their Roblox account or simply watch YouTube. There were many days that I would walk into a room and the screen would change. Little brother and I had to really begin working on his reading. I realized that although we were doing read aloud as a family he was not necessarily doing the reading and there was one afternoon that we sat down to read and he was struggling considerably with known words. Oooops, something fell through the cracks. November also brought about the end of our community for the year. We finished with our CC Community the third week and would have the rest of the year off for family.
December took a little more mental fortitude to get through. There were some unkind behaviors. There were days that I was needing to be more present for the office work and could not devote hours to sitting with the boys. Add to all of that we had lost our momentum of our weekly schedule and accountability of the community that brought on a few really rough days. Some days there were was more fight required to get the simple tasks done. I will say though that the last week of December the boys wanted to do school work and I told them they were actually not allowed, I wanted them to go outside and play, use their imagination.
That brings us to January. January 5th we started back to school work. Yes, it was a Saturday but with Michael’s schedule we have been doing school on some Saturdays – it offers a schedule and routine that we all thrive in. Little brother has about a week’s worth left of his purchased math curriculum. He is not quite as gung-ho about completing his curriculum as his brothers. I have already purchases the next year’s math for him and we will begin it when he does finish his book. This month I am hoping to get ourselves back on the momentum that we had in November. This month also has the slim hope that Michael will be able to be around a little more, which I know will be beneficial for us all. The lack of his presence is sensed by our boys – we need some family time for sure!
Overall I am so glad that we decided to home school. There have been says where I wonder what the heck we got ourselves into and then there are days where I want to freeze time and savor the simple. 103 days in and I am confident that we chose to home school at just the right time. Who know what the coming year will bring. Big brother has shown interest in attending the local public middle school in the fall. We have orientation for that next week. To say that I am nervous would be an understatement! The other two boys have said that they love doing home school and Classical Conversations and want to continue in the fall. We shall see what the coming months hold!