Until a few weeks ago, every time I heard someone talk about homeschooling I thought, wow. I would never do that in a million years.
First and foremost, I couldn’t imagine choosing to spend every day mired in kid activities when there were perfectly good schools nearby that would offer me hours of free time.
I thought I’d be awful at it—wouldn’t have the first clue where to start, wouldn’t know what to focus on, wouldn’t have the patience.
And if I’m being totally honest, I thought homeschooling sounded just plain weird and would probably result in unsocialized oddball children who wore handmade aprons all the time and cried at birthday parties because the cake wasn’t made of tofu.
I feel a little reluctant to say that we are officially homeschooling, for some reason. Maybe because I still have lingering preconceptions, maybe because I don’t like the way people tend to respond to it (“Wow. I would never do that . . . “), maybe because Riley’s basically in between preschool and kindergarten and it’s not like I’ve pulled him from public school to do this.
But here’s what I do know: we’ve had an absolutely amazing week so far. Riley has been super engaged and excited about our school projects, and every day when JB comes home, Riley runs to tell him everything we did. It’s a massive change from trying to pry information out of him about his days at preschool, which tended to go something like this:
“So, what did you guys learn today?”
“Oh come on, you must have learned something.”
“Um . . . I can’t remember.”
(Now, I know for a fact that he did learn a LOT there, but he was rarely able to describe much about his day other than “Hey guess what, Ethan has a new Transformer!”)
It’s only been a few days and I know things will be constantly changing as we move along, but the biggest surprise of all is how much I’ve enjoyed this week. I love hearing my kid say, “Is it school time yet? Can we do more school after lunch?”, I love the creative challenge of coming up with new things to do. I love how the day seems to buzz right along.
Well, and I also love it when the babysitter comes and I can escape into my work for a while. Balance, it’s a good thing.
For our first week of homeschool, I chose summer as the theme topic. (Ironic, since Seattle has gone into winter mode and it’s been all of 60 degrees most days.) I started by having Riley brainstorm summer topics which I wrote on the whiteboard.
I decided to generally use those areas as jumping-off points for learning projects, so from there we did some writing and phonics practice:
We checked out a bunch of summer-related books at the library:
We did a nature hunt and Riley took pictures, which I printed into a little book:
We talked about why it’s hot in the summer, and made a temperature/math chart and a little sun/earth project:
We talked about how plants draw water from the ground, and did a little food coloring experiment:
And we made homemade ice cream.
I thought it worked out really well to pick a general theme and go from there, incorporating a mix of stuff, so I think that’s what I’ll do each week. Riley’s trying to decide if next week should be volcanoes or dinosaurs.
As for Dylan, sometimes he participates and sometimes he doesn’t. I usually give him some art supplies and try to include him, but if he gets bored and wanders off I don’t stop him.
Anyway, I promise I won’t be constantly droning on about what we’re doing schoolwise, I mostly wanted to talk about how things have been going because my god, what an insane amount of changes from one week to the next. I know it won’t always be smooth sailing, but I’m so glad these first few days were.