Well, the school year is officially over for us...but the learning never stops around here and I like it that way. Now that grades are reported and the paperwork is done, I'm throwing caution to the wind and taking the summer to regroup and re-evaluate. I have learned alot this year...about my kids, and about myself and re-figured alot of things I thought I had all figured out. I thought that I would share some of these lessons with you...knowing that you probably have already learned them all you homeschoolin' mamas.
* It is possible to have too much "fun": Now, I am all about keepin' school fun and relaxed and entertaining, but I have a tendency to over book when it comes to my lessons "plans". I sometimes think I have to have about 10 fun weekly activities to keep my children engaged, only to find that they would rather just color and have good book read to them. Not to mention the unreal amount of stress and pressure this puts on me to try and hunt stuff down. All I do when I pile up the "fun" is set myself up for dissappointment...and it's not the kiddos fault...it's mine for having such lofty expectations.
*My kids don't have to be experts and know it all's: Another of my tendencies is to be thorough and think that I have to drill every single detail into their heads. It's as if I think I'll never be able to cover the topic again so they have to get it all in one swoop. Really, I should just be happy that they know one or two details about a given subject.
*Though history and other such subjects are fun, the focus of these early years ought to be giving the kids the skills they need to self -teach, such as getting them to the point where they can read fluently and problem solve, allowing me to take a more hands off approach someday and giving them more control over their minds and education.
*THey'll do it when they're ready: It being anything. Read, write, whatever. I need to remind myself that every child is different (praise God for that) and will do what they will do when they are ready and any attempt on my part to force them to do things before they are ready is futile and vain.
*My "school" doesn't have to resemble a public school in any way : A good friend of mine and I were talking the other day and we both agreed the hardest thing to do as a homeschooling mom from a public school background is to rid our brains of the public school mentality. Public school functions like it has to given the situation. All their methods are geared for lots of kids and one teacher...it is impossible to do otherwise. But I have the blessing of a one on one teacher student relationship with my own child. That being the case, I can tailor make and accomodate the learning environment for each child. What works for Lillie, won't for Jack, but I have the opportunity to accomodate the differences. My kids don't have to be fully dressed to learn. We don't have to read by the time we're done with 1st grade or write by the time we get out of Kindergarten, I'm not going to label my child below average for not being up to the standards of the public school system. Learning does not happen only between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm, but it happens every second...every moment they learn something.
These are a few lessons that stand out that I will certainly keep in mind as I "plan" for my next year. I am always amazed at how God shows me things and teaches me through seemingly mundane daily happenings. My desire for my children is to have them grow up to love Him and serve Him, love and serve others, and not have so much "knowledge" that they don't have any common sense. Have a blessed day!