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?”

*shrug*

“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.

4974415091_824b53ecd2

I decided to generally use those areas as jumping-off points for learning projects, so from there we did some writing and phonics practice:

4975029216_a13e3dbbd5

We checked out a bunch of summer-related books at the library:

4975028456_125b003d4c

We did a nature hunt and Riley took pictures, which I printed into a little book:

4975029148_bbe86d8906

We talked about why it’s hot in the summer, and made a temperature/math chart and a little sun/earth project:

4975028870_0c2ab3c6b3

We talked about how plants draw water from the ground, and did a little food coloring experiment:

4975028930_0155799e05

And we made homemade ice cream.

4974414915_68d6a2fd37

4975029026_5ccd235064

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.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
86 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Deb
Deb
11 years ago

DUDE! You’re doing it! Way to go!

I love that celery experiment.

Eric's Mommy
11 years ago

Awesome Linda! Looks like so much fun. I like the idea of picking different themes and doing projects related to that theme. Very cool.

SJ
SJ
11 years ago

You can do anything you set your mind to, and you are! So happy for you and your family!

Jessi
11 years ago

Looks like life is fun at your house!

Joanne
11 years ago

I think it sounds great. When I first started staying home and mentioned homeschooling to friends, people had the same reaction – to tell me what THEY would and wouldn’t do. Good for you for doing it, I would be glad to hear more about it.

amanda
11 years ago

you did it! and you didn’t just survive! you thrived and conquered. it sounds so rewarding and like you’ll be fulfilled in ways you never really though possible.

Deb
Deb
11 years ago

That looks like so much fun! Your sons are very, very lucky.

Are you saying that your son who is staying home from kindergarten can already fill in the blank in those sentences? Because, wow, that is really impressive. My son just started kindergarten and is NOWHERE near having that ability to read and write!

Christine
11 years ago

That is seriously awesome. Go, you!
Theme weeks are fantastic ways to get and keep the kids (and you!) interested. I personally would LOVE to hear more about your homeschooling adventures, too, so don’t stop writing about them!

Beth
Beth
11 years ago

Dude, awesome! Did you just create all the lessons yourself or are you using some type of program/curriculum for the ideas?

Sunny
Sunny
11 years ago

Wow, congratulations. What fantastic ideas!

marta
marta
11 years ago

Oh man, please don’t stop writing about this. It’s awesome.
I’m biased because I’m just two months away from quitting my job to stay home with my 3 year old (and baby on the way) and want to figure out how to improve her second language (my first language). And I don’t have the faintest idea where to begin. These ideas are great! And I’m coming from the same place you are, so I love hearing your perspective, the good stuff, the bad stuff.

Veronica
Veronica
11 years ago

Linda that is so awesome. I am kinda the same way when I hear homeschooling. I think those parents that do it are rock stars, but it’s still kinda… weird. But after hearing that you’re taking it on and hearing how it’s going, I can see that it’s not weird at all. It’s amazing. To hear that Riley actually TALKS about his day, that totally impacted me. Can’t wait to hear more about it!

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

That is really great! A friend of ours who is expecting her third child opted to homeschool her older two this year. We both left the catholic school our kids were at for a myriad of reasons. I didn’t have the option of homeschooling…damn mortgage…but we got in to an awesome charter school we’ve been on the waiting list for a 3 years for. Had a spot in 3rd grad and kinder for both of my boys. The follow a teaching pattern called ITI (integrated thematic instruction) Sounds a lot like what you are doing. Each month is a different theme and then all of their subjects revolve around the main theme. There is also a theme for the year that each of the monthly themes tie into.

And I totally get the frustration about wanting to know what the hell they did all day!!!!!

Felicia
Felicia
11 years ago

Honestly Linda, I would LOVE to hear more about homeschooling. Even if you feel you are “constantly droning on about what we’re doing schoolwise” I’d love to hear it. Put it on another section of the blog if you want to, but please keep writing about it. I must say that I’m VERY interested.

I’m also interested to hear what you do about the socializiation aspect… do you have a homeschool group you go to? I’d also like to hear about how you find a good babysitter to come for a little bit every day. But I know these are other posts entirely.

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Felicia: we don’t have any kind of group thing yet. I know we’ll need some stuff like that, though. We did find an awesome indoor community play center today which I’m happy to know about.

As for the babysitter, it’s the same babysitter we’ve been using for our infrequent date nights, she will be coming W, Thu, and Fridays from 1-4ish. She’s so awesome (found her via Sittercity, btw) and we’re really lucky she was available.

agirlandaboy
11 years ago

I love this. It sounds like you have an awesome plan in place.

The thing I’d worry about if I were doing this myself would be finding the time to prepare for it the night(?) before. We have a hard enough time cleaning up the dinner dishes and MAYBE thinking about packing the daycare bag for the morning, so I can’t imagine having my act together enough to get books from the library and print some photos and all that. I’m looking forward to seeing how this works out considering that (it appears) you’re doing most of this out of your brain rather than a prewritten curriculum.

warcrygirl
11 years ago

Have you contacted any museums? A lot of the bigger ones have programs specifically for homeschoolers. Try your local museum of natural science and the like. Also: you totally ROCK the homeschooling!

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Leah: the one thing I do the night before (while I’m lying in bed, actually) is jot down some ideas in a notebook. Things like going to the library, etc, we do together during the day.

I do have some curriculum resources and maybe I’ll use those at some point. It seems easier right now, though, to kind of go with things Riley gravitates towards naturally (then sneak little lessons into the activities, which is surprisingly easy to do).

Christine
11 years ago

Wow. That is SO COOL! You are totally da man.

Cosmopolitan Kids
11 years ago

I secretly want to homeschool my daughter but am both intimidated and excited to do it. I’m thrilled to see you are doing really fascinating activities with your kids.

Taryn
11 years ago

wow, awesome job! We’re in a sort of similar situation, we didn’t send my daughter to K this year, she has a late dec bday. I do plan on sending her next year but want to do a lot of homeschool stuff this year. I’d love to hear more. She’s in preschool/daycare only 2 half days a week. I also remember you writing about some reading program. Can you remind me of what that was? Thanks. I look forward to hearing more.

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

I have no idea what blog I’m reading right now – like OMG Sundry? Homeschooling? (Like a pro, I might add). I think it totally, totally awesome and you look like you’re rocking it. And, yes, I’d definitely like to hear more.

Angella
11 years ago

Okay, if I didn’t already love you to pieces and want to be you when I grow up (even though we’re the same age), this clinched it.

GO YOU.

MichelleH
MichelleH
11 years ago

Loving hearing about your new life and I’m so happy for you!!!

I love all the homeschooling stuff. Even though I don’t homeschool, I always love the idea of just having a plan in general. I think I get most overwhelmed as a parent when I start to get ‘the natives are getting restless’ feeling. All these ideas are fantastic!!

mixette
mixette
11 years ago

So happy to hear about your homeschool adventures! Sometimes when I read what the kids of the awesome Angry Chicken http://angrychicken.typepad.com/ are up to…I get slightly jealous!

If Riley liked making ice cream, try making butter if you have a stand mixer. Totally blew my niece’s little mind when we did it together.

Caroline
Caroline
11 years ago

YAY for you and the little guys! Please do continue to tell us about your school day. While I understand the concept of homeschooling I’ve often wondered…”but what do you DO all day?”.

Melinda Handy
Melinda Handy
11 years ago

I was JUST going to post about Amy Karol at Angry Chicken. I think Amy files her homeschool stuff under the learning category. Your week sounds awesome. So glad it went well.

Donna Y
Donna Y
11 years ago

Yay! Looking forward to hearing about your future homeschooling adventures. :) You might enjoy this: http://guiltfreehomeschooling.org/blog/2006/04/50-reasons-why-i-could-never-homeschool.html

Gretchen
11 years ago

You are amazing. How you do it all, I’ll never know. Unless it’s some magic pill… and if so, SHARE BITCH!

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Caroline: we only do maybe a couple hours max. Short little projects here and there, then everything else is regular home life — playtime, chores, a little TV, snacks, naps, outings, etc.

NancyJ
NancyJ
11 years ago

My son is old and out of the house but I would still enjoy reading about what you, Riley and Dylan (to a lesser degree!) are doing at home school.

Alli
11 years ago

Congratulations! One of the things I am relishing right now is discovering just how much my kid already knows with no instruction from me whatsoever.

Wendy
11 years ago

Looks like a lot of fun. Do you plan to this long term?

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Wendy: no, the plan is to start Riley in kindergarten next year. I just didn’t think he was quite ready emotionally this fall (he turned five on the cutoff date).

Faith
Faith
11 years ago

I’m adding my voice to those that have said they wouldn’t mind hearing more about your homeschooling efforts! With everything else you have on your plate, I’m so impressed that you’re making this work for you. I’d love to hear how it goes, especially now that I’m home all day with my newborn and I’m wondering myself what on earth I’m going to do with her when she gets older..

Lori
Lori
11 years ago

For purely selfish reasons, I’m so glad you’re doing this. We live overseas right now and are moving back to the USA in December. Right now my son attends all day kindergarten, but he’ll switch to half-day once we get home. I’ve been concerned about how he’ll deal with the switch since he loves school — 7 hours vs. 2.5 is a big difference. I had already decided to use some of his new free time to do a little home schooling, so it’s great to get some ideas on how you’re making this work for your family. I’m glad the changes you’ve made are working well. It looks like such a fun time.

Kristin H
Kristin H
11 years ago

Here’s the thing about homeschooling: You get the best part of your kids. Instead of dragging them out of bed in the morning and rushing them out of the house, and then dealing with homework and tired, cranky kids for a couple of hours at the end of the day, you get the happy, engaged, best part of them. Also, family closeness. Also: flexibility. Clearly I could go on and on. I’m so glad you’re open-minded enough to try it!

Crystal
11 years ago

And to think just a few weeks ago you were stuck in traffic while Riley was waiting to celebrate his birthday with you.

Look at you now…Doing homeschool experiments with celery.

Way to go, Mama. And thanks for taking us along for the ride! :)

Kim S.
Kim S.
11 years ago

So jealous. I’ve had the homeschool itch for a while now, but so far I haven’t figured out a way for it to work. I am the breadwinner and have to keep working FT blah blah blah. But as my girls approach middle school in the next few years I’ll be looking more seriously at our options (luckily we have a local private girls school that started as a homeschool coop). Good luck with both your endeavors–writing and teaching!

Julie
11 years ago

Riley’s handwriting and drawing skills are really impressive. He’s definitely ahead of the game there. And I’m just in awe of your ability to drop right into this and take off running. When he does start kindergarten, he’s going to lead the class.

Erika
Erika
11 years ago

This sounds so awesome. Yay for all four of you!

Kate
11 years ago

Awesome, just awesome. I love watching you evolve. :)

I started officially homeschooling my 8 year old son last week and unfortunately am having to UNdo some of the public school crap so we’re adjusting, but I’m hoping to get to the point where he’s excited and interested and engaged in what we’re doing. Because I think it’s a great thing for kids. And aside from having to fight to get him involved, I love it.

Kathleen
Kathleen
11 years ago

Man, I think I’d be happy if my kid came home from first grade with this much to report, particularly the level of science you’re doing with him! (I say that as a science nerd).

Hugely impressed. PLEASE keep showing us what you’re doing. It almost makes me think I could… (eeeeek – I prefer college students!)

Michelle
Michelle
11 years ago

As a fellow homeschooler of four boys (7,5,2 and 6 mos) WELCOME to the club! Hah. :) It’s awesome that you’re geeked and yes, we the readers LOVE to see and read all about what you’re doing. It’s an exciting new phase of your life – and thus, blog – so please, PLEASE don’t do that thing. Where you think nobody wants to read about your new thing, so you pooh-pooh it and call it “droning”! So many bloggers did that about “when I have kids, don’t worry this won’t turn into an all kid all the time blog” and then guess what? THEY ALL DID. And it is not only OK, it is awesome. What is it that was once said about writing what you know? What you know now is what is most engaging for us to read. Yeah. :)

6512 and growing
11 years ago

That was ONE week? Wow. You are amazing and inspiring.

Jennifer
Jennifer
11 years ago

I have been homeschooling now going on 4 years. My son is a senior this year. I am so glad I did it, we will always have this time together to look back on. Try homeschooling yahoo groups in your area. Ours is full of activities and ideas and even moms night out occasions.

Jessica
Jessica
11 years ago

I’ve been reading some of Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman lately and one of the chapters (#8) is about self-control and preschoolers/kindergartners. The majority of the chapter talks about one recently developed program called Tools of the Mind which has blown most other programs out of the water. The students end of the year standardized testing scores are often 20% points ahead of other students in more conventional classrooms, even when the students started off behind schedule. A lot of the ideas from the Tools of the Mind program seem home school friendly and it seems like you’re already doing some of them (letting Riley choose what topic you focus on). Anyway, I’d say it’s worth looking into!

fredlet
11 years ago

I’m seeing more and more folks home school…
Just read this entry as a matter of fact: http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/2010/09/erasing-the-fear-of-homeschooling/

Kate
Kate
11 years ago

It’s so funny… What you’ve hit on sounds exactly like what all the Manhattan preschools bragged to us that they were doing when we did the tours a few years ago… The Reggio method. From somewhere on the internet: “The Reggio curriculum is founded on projects. Projects emerge from the children’s expressed interests. They are not planned out in advance, but rather build upon the continued experiences of the child in the process of constructing his knowledge. Projects can be short term, lasting a few days, or long term, lasting a few months to a year. Projects usually require little money and lots of fantasy. There is usually more than one project happening at one time, so each project may not be worked on daily. The children often revisit and refine a project, constantly moving from theory to practice until their inner knowledge is reached.” I echo those who are looking forward to hearing more about what you do!

Miellyn
11 years ago

http://www.electricboogaloo.net/wordpress/archives/2010/09/10/teach-your-children-well/

I think you might like this? Maybe you know this blog already…