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A Heart For Home: Reflecting on the Past School Year {TIPsters}

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reflecting on the Past School Year {TIPsters}

Please, be sure to visit the other two TIPster hosts, Kristin & Christy and also our special guest host, Patty-Jean from Little Quiver.

This past school year was our “official” first year of homeschooling. I say “official” because technically Emahry was still in preschool, but I wanted a year to try out a few different ideas and arrangements to see what would work best for our family.
When we started school in the fall, we had a 4 year old, an almost 3 year old, a 1 1/2 year old and a newborn. We were trying to “do school” first thing in the morning. We moved back and forth between a little corner of our living room and the dinner table while all of our materials were kept upstairs in the master bedroom. I had planned on using workboxes for several different preschool skills each day along with a Reading and Math computer program.
Well, all of those things changed. Yes, every. single. one.

At first I fought the changes, I wanted to make things work that just weren’t working for our family. Thankfully, my husband saw my stress and stepped in to reassure me that it most certainly is okay to change thing that aren’t working.
We still do the Reading and Math program (Funnix) on the computer, but we alternate days and usually manage to complete 2 reading lessons and 2 math lessons each week.
We also still “do school” mainly in the mornings, but I’ve discovered that I need to get some household chores completed first in order to stay on top of the day.
Mid-year, we were given a round preschool table that we’ve somehow squeezed into our living room. It’s not ideal, but we definitely want to hang onto it for when we have a larger home. We also do a lot of our learning spread out on the living room floor and piled around books on the couch.
firetruck puzzle1
We also moved the large majority of our homeschool materials down to the living room so they are easier to access. No more carting things up and down the stairs—yay!
The workbox system worked well, but we decided that in general I was trying to do too much. Now that I’ve cut back to one or two skill activities each day, we don’t really need the workboxes to keep organized. I’m definitely trying them again when we introduce more subjects and activities.
All in all, this school year has been a wonderful challenge as I continue to search out our own homeschool groove. I’m very glad I took this “practice year” to work out a few kinks and to hopefully give me some more insight as we begin Kindergarten in the fall.
The best thing about this school year has been the relationships we’ve built with each other. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if Emahry was gone at school all day. Even when she drives me crazy, there’s no other place I’d want her to be than home with me. The three older kids have also started playing together so much. It’s very sweet to see them looking for ways to include each other, but don’t worry, we have our fair share of sibling squabbles, too.

Today's Questions:
How pleased are you with this past school year?
What are some things you’d like to change for next year?What is something you want to keep the same?

A Heart for Home
Please visit my fellow TIPsters
for more spring cleaning tips:

Coming Soon:

May 15: Summer Learning Plans
June 5: Feeding Picky Eaters
June 19: Television Viewing (What & How Often)
July 3: Quick and Easy Summer Meals
July 17: Taking Family Photos
August 7: Schooling Kids of Different Ages
August 21: Teaching Kids to Read
(Remember if you’re interested in guest hosting an upcoming TIPster post, just let me know.)


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Blogger As Told By Lisa said...

In the 9 years of homeschooling I have to admit this year was the hardest.

This was the first year that I had 6 different grade levels to plan and keep up with.

One thing we tried and got rid of quickly were workboxes.

For my younger ones, I implemented the use of a weekly binder and planned their work out two weeks at a time.

Next year I will have K, 2, 4, 8 and 12 grade levels. My oldest is headed to college!

I plan to continue using the binder system and keep a stricter schedule.

May 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm joining a group of moms in my area soon to collaborate on researching different options for homeschooling and I was wondering if you have resources to share about how you set your curriculum or any other info I should be looking into. Sorry if you already wrote about this I don't remember seeing it.

May 1, 2012 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

1) We do a lot of work on the floor and couch, too! We did a little more at the table this year because the kids were able to work independently, but when they were little, it was much easier on the floor!!

2) I love that with homeschooling, we are able to do what works for us...and that it is okay to change when we need to. It's taken me years to really get into a groove and know our style. I think last year (4 years in) was the first year that I felt went really great.

3) I love the red dress! :-)

May 1, 2012 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My son did preschool this year and will next year. We weren't ready to go five days a week this year and I didn't supplement. Next year I think I will set up a program like you have.

May 3, 2012 at 6:30 AM  

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