Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wish List Item #10

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

This one is so timely! This is the time of year I both love and loathe, usually simultaneously. You see, usually by April we are finishing up our year. We are getting done all those last minute lessons that have been put off for one reason or another and making sure the kids are prepped for standardized testing (yes, we do that too!). The signs of spring are in the air, and the kids are re-energized and driven to finish all their work by May. Field trips begin to out number seat time, books are finished and filed and summer is on the horizon!

Unfortunately, this is also the time of year I start planning for next year. Curriculum is cheap on ebay as other families finish up and want to rid themselves of books. Vendors begin warehouse sales and conventions, there is really a whole season underway! For me, this is the most unrewarding and tedious part of homeschooling. Every year I have to sit down and put our family (and myself) under a microscope. We discuss what we loved and what we hated. What worked and what was a huge disaster. Then we look toward what we hope to accomplish and how we dream to get there. While this sounds really exciting as I type, the reality is much less pretty! This is the time of year I second guess myself and my choices. I never know if our oldest is getting enough of the right things, and if I have chosen work that is challenging and engaging without being intimidating. The younger two are easy, it's a "been there done that" sort of path with them. Certainly the books change, but the overall time schedules and subjects are always the same.

Our oldest will be doing 6th & 7th grade this year, and she has a real mastery of most math concepts. Every year I have to search and search for a math text that is not just repetition of what we have already done. I found one I really liked this year, but the whole book was a prep for NYS standardized testing!!! Yes, the WHOLE book! While the content was fabulous, the layout was horribly confusing. I ended up just using the Table of Contents and finding my own lessons on the topics outlined.

I can't wait to have all of our plans and books in place, I really enjoy teaching my children and being there with them as they successfully learn something new! There is no greater joy in the world than seeing your children succeed and feel the pride that comes with hard work.

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