homeschool: thoughts on our first year

12:05 PM

This is it! We finished our very first year of homeschool. Birdie has completed pre-K and Teddy has completed his first year of preschool. I have so many emotions flowing through me... I feel immense pride for them both and the massive strides that they made. When we started Teddy could barely trace a straight line on a piece of paper. As of last week he can comfortably count and identify numbers 1-15, knows all his shapes and colors, can identify the alphabet and has mastered control of a pen and scissors. And Birdie is beginning to read, can do simple addition and subtraction and can write the alphabet back to front. They both worked so hard and pushed themselves in ways that surprised me. I also feel relief because I feel like we pulled this off. I was so nervous when we started, not knowing whether or not I was capable of guiding them and helping them to progress to where they needed to be. I'm also so incredibly full of gratitude for this opportunity. I'm grateful for my children's willingness to have me as their teacher and for the honor of being the one to watch Birdie read her first word and to witness Teddy learning to count. It has truly been such a blessing.
As our year progressed we learned what worked best for us, we picked up new books and ideas along the way and made new friends. We connected with our local Wild + Free group and enjoyed outings and get-togethers with them. We realized that we needed a lot more outdoor active play then I originally thought. We incorporated more and more reading and it became the bookends to our day. I learned what activities worked for both of them and their different ages and what activities were better done separately. We had bad days when we scrapped everything and took a nap and tried to start over in the afternoon. I had days when I worried I pushed them too hard and had lost the delicate balance that I had to walk as mama and teacher. But that's the beautiful thing about forgiveness and children - it is abundant and merciful. And for that I am grateful as well.
About halfway through we got into a very good structure and rhythm for our days and it looked more or less like this:

- circle time: story time and poetry time (we both read and memorized poems)
- work time: math, language arts or nature/science concepts
- break time: independent play
- craft time: painting, drawing, coloring or a nature craft I had prepared
- circle time: story time

Occasionally Birdie would do additional independent work while Teddy took his afternoon nap. She would work on her letter tracing book or simple math. As her reading progressed I would also do a lot of reading work with her since it was easier to focus without Teddy needing attention as well. We did school on average three days a week, sometimes four and there were weeks here and there where we could only get in two days but we went well into June so I feel like we were able to make up for those two day weeks.
As far as our nature studies that was everyone's favorite part of our day. We structured it around the seasons and that seemed to work very well as I would tie in our outdoor adventures to topics in their books. In autumn we talked a lot of the life cycle of plants and the ways that animals prepare for the winter. Once winter came we learned about animals and hibernation, we studied what the plants do in the winter and what creates the weather. With the arrival of spring we were able to study the life cycle of different animals, we talked about and drew the blooming plants and we explored how life on the farm changes in the spring. I found so many wonderful hands on ideas for nature crafting on pinterest and you can follow my account to see some of them. I should perhaps make a homeschool board now that I think about it...
Last but not least I wanted to share some additional resources that we added to our repertoire that we found very useful:
And that's a wrap!! Ten months of school completed! It's been such a wonderful experience and although we're not completely sure of what the plan for next year will be (lot's of moving pieces we're still working on and figuring out) I can safely say that homeschooling our two little ones this year was one of the best decisions we've ever made. We've all grown so much and I learned that I have strength in me that I wasn't sure was there. And as always if you have any questions or if there's anything I can help you with please do not be shy and reach out, either here or on my instagram account. I love helping others navigate this journey! 

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