Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Beginning of the Adventure

I am actually going to blog. I'm really doing this. Who is going to read this? Nobody? Probably. But I am really doing this for our family. We have started on a new path for us all, homeschooling. It's a new and unexpected path, but one we are fully embracing. We have so far found it to be wonderful and even more suited to us than we ever thought. But back to why I am blogging. I always promise myself that I will keep a journal of important times in our lives. My last journal had entries for several faithful weeks at a time, with those weeks separated by years. For example, when considering to blog or to journal about our homeschooling adventure I noticed that my last entry in the journal was Amber's first week of Kindergarten. Seriously, time did fly because she is halfway through fourth grade now. Clearly, journaling wasn't working for me. Maybe blogging will, especially if anyone else ever reads this and I feel almost accountable. Maybe I will take more pictures too.  I might need them for a blog topic.   If this doesn't work, at least I tried.  Still, I want to remember what we did during this time. What worked well, what didn't work so well. What wonderful things came out of it and what things we could have done without.  What new things I learned about Amber during this time and how did we all grow. 

"L" for Last day of parochial school
We officially started homeschooling on January 30, 2012.  Already we have found so many positive attributes to homeschooling.  Nearly every day Amber pops up with something else.  One day it was simply, "I can now go to the bathroom when I need to and not on schedule".  That little bit of information was depressing for me.  I understand why it happens, but it is still depressing.

About three days into homeschooling Amber looked at me and said "I'm so relaxed. This isn't stressful at all."  That was also about the time that I noticed her class work, which was the same things she brought home from school as homework, was taking her significantly less time to complete than it ever did before.  It was also all correct - and I was grading from the teacher's manual, not just from my own judgement.

Amber is so much more relaxed in general.  She has time to play and find what interests her again.  Don't get me wrong, she is doing school. All the subjects she did in parochial school, with Latin added in.  She is just able to focus during school time and finish her assignments quickly.  She is also behaving so much better. She has manners again and actually wants to talk to me about many things.  I feel like she is coming out of a haze and realizing that there is a world for her out here.

Amber is spending more time with both sets of her grandparents now too.  Fred's parents even visit her each week for a "play date" while I get out.  Just out anywhere is good, but often out for lunch with a friend.  I've not yet had any feelings of wanting more time alone. I fear that happening, so I'm taking precautions to get out once a week - even if it is just to Target.

Having said that, I LOVE spending more time with Amber.  I actually missed her when she was at school.  Not a desperate feeling of loss, but I missed my child and some of the wonderful things she does and says during the day. I was never the parent that felt Summer break or Christmas break was too long.  I also only have the one child, so she has no siblings to argue with during those breaks. I think it is great that I am getting to see her in a different way now.  I can see her be creative again, enjoy music, see her play with most of her toys in unexpected ways.

We rarely play her games as they were intended. She makes up her own rules or just turns them into her own imaginative worlds.  Like the Harry Potter Lego game, not the PS3 game, but the game with real Legos that you have to build and then collect homework from the classrooms while the staircases move.  We played the game a couple of times by the rules. Then, she decided she just wanted to play with it and the mini-figs. She had her own small version of Hogwarts and she just wanted to imagine with it.  I missed this so much.  She never had time for this during school.  She was too busy or too tired.

Amber has met each homeschool morning with a happy face and the words "I'm ready for school, Mommy".  She sits at her desk, in her new chair, with her schedule for the week open. Ready for me to confirm that I haven't altered the day's schedule.  Some days I get out of the shower to find that she has done her morning job (she has regular chores that have always been hers, she just has more time to do it now) and she has already completed her math facts sheet in the workbook that correlates to her lesson for the day.  She is actually looking up her lessons for the day and starting without me.  I'm not sure how long this will last, but she is giving it her best.  I have to say that. Amber really has a great attitude toward this new adventure.

What about her friends?  That is a hard question.  She was sad to leave a few friends.  I'm sure there were a couple others that she would have come to miss had she known them a little better.  That being said, she is not away from them completely.  We still attend church at the same place she went to school. She still sees her friends at Sunday School.  Amber is also part of the church Chimes choir. Most of her friends are also in Chimes.  Amber's Girl Scout troop is also associated with our church and the friends that aren't in Chimes happen to be in Girl Scouts. So, between those two activities she sees her friends regularly still.  Her friends, and their parents, were also very supportive of our change and have happily agreed to have playdates with Amber in the future.  The remaining children from her school we will live without having close contact.

Amber also started back in dance.  She is at a different studio, but it is more relaxed and more for fun. They do work on proper form, there is no slacking. It is a Christian dance studio and they are all very pleasant and respectful to each other.  Amber has already made a couple of new dance acquaintances. It's only been a couple of weeks and the girls are dancing for most of the class. We can't really call them dance friends, yet. :)  Still, I think Amber will do just fine in her socialization.

So, those are my starting thoughts for this homeschool blog. This will be a work in progress as far as designs and possibly purpose too.  I hope to have a weekly review that I do on Fridays, or maybe even over the weekend.  Just to summarize our week, see how productive it was, how difficult things may have felt one day and how wonderful the next.  I may even document my thoughts on curriculum for next year, just to organize them better.

Until next time (hopefully, it won't be in 4 years).

1 comment:

  1. It's so neat that you have these memories to look back on! Time goes by way too fast!