I would love to be writing about marriage, but right now, I am freaking out about homeschooling. Yes, I know I am *only* teaching preschool and kindergarten but that is not deterring this perfectionist from frustration. Of course, prior to actually being a homeschooler, I thought I was an expert. I thought I knew what I would teach and exactly how I would do it. I thought it would be a piece of cake.
Well. Let me tell you...there is a HUGE difference between being homeschooled (which I was for 10 years) and doing the actual homeschooling.
At the end of last year, after doing the Sonlight preschool 4/5 "curriculum", I decided upon a curriculum for this year. I love Sonlight and it is a great fit for this family of book lovers. I also thought I would continue doing The Writing Road to Reading for language arts and then add in Saxon Math since my mom gave me most of the materials and I knew both programs worked well for her at various stages of homeschooling her own children.
The summer went by and every time I looked at both the Saxon and the language arts, I just wanted to cry, but just mentally decided to keep going and told myself it would get better.
It did not get better. I am thoroughly confused and overwhelmed with the language arts and bored out of my mind with Saxon math. And I hate math to begin with. Hating the curriculum I was planning on using meant that I would probably pass on a dislike for math to my own children. That is not good. Not good at all. As a former high school French teacher, I am very aware of the fact that enthusiasm is contagious. Hatred and boredom is equally contagious and that is absolutely not the start for my children's education that I have ever envisioned.
Then I had an epiphany: I was trying to be my mother. My mom spent an incredible amount of time choosing just the right curriculum for each one of us and she did a great job (although I do remember some failures...Lifepacs for Chemistry? FAIL! She's never heard the end of that one.) I realized that I was actually afraid that if I chose anything different than what she used, my children would not be successful learners. It might sound rather obvious, but the lightbulb finally came on that that is not true! Also, this is just kindergarten. This is not rocket science. My kids will not be attempting to take the SAT anytime soon.
Finally, I confessed all my frustrations to my husband. I am so incredibly thankful for a supportive husband. He basically told me to stop trying to make things work and get what would be best for our kids. It was ok with him if I bought more curricula even though I already had some.
So back to the drawing board for almost everything. Gone was the Saxon. Gone was the Spalding method. All I had left was Sonlight.
I have spent the past two weeks trying to implement the curriculum I already have and like as well as spending hours online looking at samples of various other curricula. I ordered the Sonlight language arts and that was a complete fail on the first day. I was utterly confused and my oldest son was banging his head on the table. However, I think I have finally decided on a complete curriculum but we shall see how it all actually plays out. For anyone who's interested, this is where I am now:
Sonlight Core A (for history, literature and Bible)
A Reason for Handwriting (boys love it!)
Horizons Math K
All About Reading/All About Spelling Level 1 (which actually blends quite well with the Spalding method I had already been doing; it's just way simpler to implement.)
And that's it. Every single veteran homeschooler has told me to just focus on reading and math this year so that's basically what I'm doing while continuing to build a love for good books and sparking their interest in all subjects. Although I swore my children would speak French, I just frankly do not care anymore. I do not have the energy to worry about whether or not they are bilingual by the age of 7.
I will eventually be back to writing about marriage, but my head has been spinning with figuring all this out. Oh yes, and keeping the 21 month old occupied. THAT is an enormous challenge. Good thing he's cute.
For those of you who homeschool, do you have any advice for this rookie homeschooler? What did you learn from your first few years that you wish you had done differently?