Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fall Term Wrap-up

As we wrap up the first half of this year’s homeschooling year I thought it would be good to share our experience. I first want to say how very privileged I feel that we homeschool. The children have not only made academic strides but they have also gained many life lessons. Our year started out rocky again with a kiddo in the hospital with Para influenza. All of my best-laid plans were turned upside down. So often I find myself wondering why I fall victim to the “perfect, flawless beginning” each and every year. Over the years I have learned that the only way to approach homeschooling is to work around life instead of trying to work life around homeschooling.

Within weeks of the year starting my eldest child, in her first year of college, was blindsided by a breakup with her boyfriend of several years. Loves first heartbreak and wow was it rough. Realizing that she would have to find a way to deal with this trial without being able to interrupt her classes was tough. She pulled through and ended up successfully completing her first semester of college classes with flying colors.

Early on in the semester I realized that some of my kiddos were really struggling with their math. Again, I was reminded that just because one child succeeds with a curriculum does not mean that the others will have the same success. Over the years I am constantly reminded that homeschooling is not a cheap way out. Instead of making every child fit into the same cookie cutter mold, for true success to be found each child really needs their own custom fit curriculum. Each and every year I reevaluate how successful each and every child are doing and adjust to make them successful, confident learners. Sometimes this also means that a curriculum that is supposed to take more of the load off of mom just cannot be. In November I headed out to Mardel to purchase more math curriculum, not a cheap change but in the end will be so worth it.

Having a child with chronic, life threatening conditions always adds an extra element of craziness to homeschooling. Well, my daughter was granted a Make A Wish and the beginning of December we headed off to Disney World for a week. Normally, I would prefer to do schoolwork up until the week before Christmas but this year that just was not going to happen. The week before our big trip the kiddos were too excited to focus on schoolwork and I was running around trying to get everything in order in order for the trip to happen. So, basically Thanksgiving was our cut off for schoolwork. Again, my mommy brain was freaking because I knew where I wanted everyone to be academically by the end of the term and that did not quit happen.

Next, yet another devastating experience was the tragic loss of one of my eldest daughters friends from suicide. Again, her world was shaken and it was finals week. Life does not stop for tragedy. My daughter was able to pull it together to take a final the day after her friend’s death. One of her professors let her skip a final based on her exemplary grades.

Even though life has thrown some curve balls there was also greats strides gained this first term. My first grader is now a pretty fluent reader, and will actually be starting some 2nd grade curriculum in the spring. Co-op classes for the older children were amazing and they have learned so much. My son just last week was commenting on how whenever he reads something he is constantly annotating the text in his mind, LOL. The kiddos have read some amazing literature. Of course I am taking about “classics” not junk books. My 3rd and 6th graders have produced some amazing compositions and have come a long way with their writing skills. My 8th grader has taken a great interest in history and has immersed him into a growing stack of history books of all kinds. It is so fun to see your child find their nitch. My 3rd grader would be completely content if she could tailor all of her curriculum around animals. I am so very thankful for Apologia Science for their amazing elementary series on animals in creation.

I cannot end without sharing some of the amazing family experiences we had the privilege of attending this fall. What would childhood be with attending the Ringling Bros. Circus? Clowns, lions and elephants, acrobats, and all of the other fanfare that make a circus experience complete. Next, we visited the Dallas Aquarium and the Texas Discovery Garden where we experienced butterflies flying around us, aquatic creatures, and beautiful flower gardens. Next, we got to enjoy some wonderful theater performances at the Dallas Children’s Theater. We saw Rapunzel!, Rapunzel!, A Very Hairy Fairy Tale and Miracle on 34th Street.  Both performances where amazing. This year our family attended our first ever-live ballet performance of the Nutcracker. Wow, was that spectacular. Hannah especially loved it since she is a very serious dancer. To get us excited for our Disney World trip we got the privilege to attend Disney On Ice, cold but so very magical and fun. Last but not least, sports. Our family took in a Dallas Stars game, a Dallas Mavericks game and a Texas Rangers game.

Our family is enjoying our extended Christmas break as we celebrate the birth of Christ!!!!

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