Our 2nd Homeschool Year!

We did it! I still am in shock that we have successfully homeschooled Kindergarten. The feeling when you find yourself in a place you had never envisioned. Yet, these precious times fly by, the long days and short years. And when the awaited month of June comes after the grinding and waiting from dreary March, we can look back and breath and smile. Look at all that our amazing children have learned. Think of all they have experienced in that short, but long, year. Look at their first day of school pictures and sigh. Lord, how these firstborns tug at a mama’s heart.

I am overall happy with our homeschool year. In many ways I feel like a failure, how many more things I could have taught them, how many more moments I could have seized, how many more routines I could have implemented! But that is the temptation in everything. I find the power of the pen my antidote. When you write out all that you have accomplished, all that they have learned, your heart rate can slow. (Apply this method to your work, marriage, or anything - the moment you doubt, grab a pen & write out all the positive things!).

So here are some my favorite things from this year with the boys were:

  1. Reading aloud - In the mornings, at the kitchen lunch table, afternoon couches, before bed. One Tuesday morning we were finishing Charlottes Web and my 5 year old Nicholas & I both break out in tears. Mom, I don't want Charlotte to die! I was blown away by his tender & understanding heart! We talk about how selfless that spider was and what the meaning of friendship is. I pull out my list of reflective questions, who do you think was the most courageous in that story? Should Wilbur have done that? The next week the boys come running from the playground, Mom we found Charlottes cousin making a web! Look how beautiful! Our favorite classics this year were Wizard of Oz, Charlottes Web & Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.

  2. Making connections - Education pioneers consistently talk about the power of children making connections. For example, it takes us 5 minutes to read a short Aesop fable. At my brothers high school fall drama, Nicholas says nonchalantly oh, mom, like the fable The Lion & the Mouse! When you continue to fill their minds with beautiful literature, the connections they make are awe-inspiring.

  3. Poetry - I really don’t think I would have thought to memorize poems with my children if I wasn’t following a classical curriculum. We have memorized over 15 Robert Louis Stevenson poems this year together. As the days grew longer, Nicholas says, “Mom, in winter, I get up at night & dress my yellow candlelight, in summer quite the other way!” As Nick was setting up our new backyard swing, he runs up to me smiling, “Mom, before you sit in that, let me tell you, oh, would you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue!”

  4. Scripture - I would never have thought to memorize scripture together! We have done multiple verses together, and try to update our kitchen chalkboard monthly with a new one. The gospel of John becomes living! “Unless a grain of wheat dies, it becomes just a grain of wheat,” and I am suddenly reminded myself how I must die to my constant selfishness in that moment as hard as I try, but can wait for the fruit!

  5. Following their lead - Nicholas loves maps and directions (anything math). I really took it for granted, until my phone died when we were over an hour from the house where I had no idea how to get home, (ask any friend to verify my sense of direction). He says, oh mom you don’t need a GPS, get on 202 South, then etc…and an hour later we are home! So we buy him maps and compasses and tangrams and let him write out directions to his leisure. Dominic loves superheroes. He puts on his spiderman costume and 7am and comes down ready to fight the bad guys. We read stories of bible heroes, and teach him ABCs through the Marvel books. He says he wants to be a good solider, so it makes everything easy!

None of these are specific to “homeschooling.” They are just what came out of the my time spent educating the boys, which is what we call homeschool. It can be an official hour in the morning, or interspersed between life events. Education is an atmosphere, says Charlotte Mason. And that is what we do as moms! We create space & look for those moments of connection. We leave books by their bed. We take them to the library. We see what they do with their quiet time. We ask them to imagine, we watch them wonder. We put an instrument in the house. We give them dress ups and crayons and blank paper. This is what education within the home is. It is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.

Will we someday send the boys to a building to learn subjects? Quite possibly! But for now we will continue to build a house of lifelong learners, of boys playing catch, of baskets of books, and bedside prayer corners. We will send them to the creek to build a fort, to come back only for a story on the swing. It sounds so nice! Well, that is the ideal worth sharing, worth striving for. Here’s to a summer full of them!

*What we used this year: Mother of Divine Grace Curriculum. I enrolled for Kindergarten & it’s been so great having a consultant to review things with me & hold me accountable. We joined a Catholic co-op that met twice a month for enrichment & Catholic activities which was great. I joined RAR premium & LOVED the masterclasses! I LOVE blogging, wish I could do it more, but feel free to comment or message me with questions! I’m thankful for the moms who have gone before & helped me along the way thus far :) Another post on my favorite resources coming soon!

*DISCLAIMER! NOTHING (worth doing) is easy! Homeschooling is hard! Time consuming, hardwork. Like anything, has its own difficulties and annoyances, is not all joyful and pretty ;) blogs and instagram can only share so much of reality, but are still worth sharing! Find the beautiful in anything! Pray Hard, Work Hard, Play Hard.

In Joy,

Alex

Alex DeRose