Homeschooling Wins And Fails (From Last School Year)




The summer is coming to an end, and in another week and a half, I will start my third (kind of fourth) year as a homeschool mom.  I've been wanting to write a wrap-up of our last school year all summer, but the words have been eluding me.  I know I grew a lot as a homeschool mom over the last year, but I've been finding it difficult to organize my feelings into easy-to-share points like I did after we finished first grade.

One thing I realized is that I probably won't ever feel like I've completely got this down.  Last year was leaps and bounds more organized and productive than the previous year, but I still look back on it now and can think of a ton of things I'd like to do better as I look ahead to 2019-2020.

I still want to write these posts though, so I can keep some perspective.  Every year that I've homeschooled so far, I've gotten a little better in small ways at staying organized, keeping motivated, and accomplishing the things I was hoping for at the start of the year.  I know this year will be better than last year, and probably next year will be better than this year.  That doesn't frustrate me, it actually encourages me.  If things don't go exactly perfectly this year, which I'm guessing they won't, I know next year I'll just know better how to improve.

Maybe someday I'll feel like I've figured it out.  Or maybe I'll almost get it figured out, and then have to add another school-age kid into the mix, and have to start all over again.  My money is on that latter possibility.

(Me and the kids with their silly faces.)

Anyway, this is a little recap of the successes, failures, and areas to improve from our experience homeschooling 2nd grade and Kindergarten.

Wins

Poetry Tea Time

Last year we started doing Poetry Tea Time, which from what I can tell was first named by Julie Bogart from Bravewriter.  It's basically the thing to do in homeschool circles these days (along with "Morning Time"), and after we added it into our routine last year, I could see why.

One day I just popped some popcorn, put a tablecloth down and lit a candle, and served the kids rooibos tea while we read picture books and poems.  Even if I wanted to never do it again, my kids wouldn't have let me.  They loved it.  It was a great way to add a little fun into our homeschool routine, and what's the good of homeschooling anyway if you can't make it fun?  We are definitely continuing Poetry Tea Time this year, and I'd like to up the frequency.

Memory Work

Last year I painstakingly planned out my Morning Time binder.  Morning Time is when we sit down at some point in the day and go over memory work and Bible study together.  It's a great time to make sure we are still learning the important things all together, and I love it for developing a family identity and culture within our homeschool.

Anyway, last year I selected several Bible passages I wanted the kids to memorize, organized catechism questions, and printed out hymns to sing, along with a schedule of what I wanted to work on each month.  We didn't make it all the way through the binder, but we made it farther than I thought we would, and I am thrilled at the amount of memory work we mastered!

The kids now know five hymns really well, we memorized three Bible passages (thirteen verses all together), they can answer six catechism questions, and we have a few funny poems in our arsenal now.  I am very pleased! This was all with not being the most consistent with Morning Time, so I'd definitely like to up my game this year and see what else we can memorize together.

Try Harder

Science And History Spacing

While I am overall pleased at what we accomplished with our science and history lessons last year, I have to admit that most of our learning came during designated weeks that I gave us to catch up.  I did not do great at keeping on top of weekly science and history lessons and spacing them through the year that way.  While it is 100% okay to do a more unit-based approach to history and science, or designate certain weeks or months to focus on those subjects (as we did last year), I'd really like to get more organized and disciplined in doing those lessons at regular intervals.

Morning Time Consistency

We did Morning Time an average of a couple times a week, and we accomplished so much even with that many days!  I'd really like to make a focused effort to make Morning Time happen every day that we are working at home.  We probably did morning time only about half the days that we could have, so I'd like to be more consistent this year.


Fails

Extra Skills

With my homeschool planning last year, I came up with a schedule to work on extra "fun" skills that I just want the kids to know.  I had plans laid out for teaching them how to make certain meals, teaching them certain card games or hand-clapping games, etc.

Yeah, we didn't use those plans at all.

In my defense, when I was planning out the year, I didn't originally anticipate that we'd be moving, and that derailed my good intentions.  So basically last year's plans are going to be pasted into this year's binder, and we're going to try again!  Wish me luck.

(Pretty sunrise this summer.)

I'm looking forward to the upcoming school year!  I've got it about half-planned right now, and as soon as we get back from vacation this week, I'm going to dive in and get the rest of our plans ironed out.

Stay tuned for a post about our homeschool curriculum choices, and one about my current planning system!

Or you can also check out last year's posts about homeschool planning and 2nd grade curriculum in the meantime!
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Amanda said...

Are we the same person? Haha! Science and History both fell to the wayside by Christmas last year. I'm not sure if we are going to a block schedule this year and do history until Christmas and then Science from Jan-May or what. Poetry tea time is a huge hit with my girls. New small mugs make great stocking stuffers at Christmas and they enjoy cocoa during the winter. I'm trying to stick with a morning routine, but I am horrible for consistent routines...but I'm trying!!!

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