When we started our home(virtual)school journey, I was excited but trepidatious. The ‘what ifs’ shackled me to traditional brick-and-mortar school. I was so worried that I’d miss something important, or completely fail at teaching them – especially math!
What I discovered was that teaching the things that I’m good at is much harder than teaching the subjects that I struggle with. Helping with math, I find myself learning new and better ways to do mental calculations. It sounds silly, but I’ve learned to not use my fingers with basic math facts, something I surely should have learned long ago. But it wasn’t hard to teach because I was only a step or two ahead of them. I learned it and then I taught it. Kinda fun, actually!
Writing, however, GAH! They both have a fine understanding of verbs, nouns, and sentence structure, but putting it all together in one nice package? I found myself getting frustrated with explaining why you write things in a certain order. “They’ve never done this,” I reminded myself every few minutes. So this has been the hardest part so far, this going back to the basics and trying to remember that it’s not something everyone knows. Almost like when someone asks me a question about photography. If you have a camera and you only use it on Auto and then you ask me a question about the other settings, it won’t do me much good to start talking about ISO and f-stops. You’ll look at me, glassy-eyed, and maybe even nod…but you have no idea what I’m saying. I’m the same way when people talk to me about economics.
I’ve also discovered that the teaching aspect is most certainly not the hardest part. Neither is the organization of it all. Or the scheduling. The hardest part (by far) is keeping the little two entertained while we work. It is hard for them to understand (especially the baby) that while the big kids are at home, they can’t play right now. But they have special school-time toys, which help sometimes. And sometimes they play well together, but not always. There has been more than one occasion where I had to put them each in their own rooms and close the door. Those two are something else, I tell you! Theirs is certainly a love-hate relationship.
But I can say with complete certainty that this has been a good experience for all of us. Our days have more laughter than stress, which I was worried about initially. The curriculum is well-designed and easy-to-use. The teacher support and online learning opportunities are top notch. The school provides lots of chances to meet other home(virtual)school families and socialize with them. I’m getting to be witness to a lot of exciting moments when my kids “get it” and we all cheer and dance. Most importantly, though, is that the kids really, really seem to love it. They talk and write about it a lot, and it’s not uncommon for them to play homeschool long after our school day is over. I love watching them teach the little kids. They taught Asa some math and then gave him an assessment while I was away last weekend. 🙂
So, yeah, things are going well. Really well. And I think we’ve all found our footing and are enjoying the ride. But I honestly don’t think I could have made this transition as easily as we have without a lot of prayers and love and support. Big thanks to those of you who encouraged us to take this leap, for those of you who have prayed us on, and for those who have held my hand (and my heart) when I was afraid of messing up.
If you’re more interested in our homeschool journey, be sure to check back here on Wednesday and Thursday. Tomorrow I’ll be posting some specifics of the things we love about homeschool, and on Thursday you can read about some of our homeschool struggles (or at least the things that are less-than-awesome).