Homeschool Update: Start of 2024

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I haven’t given an update on all things homeschool over here and I thought I’d come on and share! I practice sharing snippets on Instagram and I’m trying to share more stories and reels (newbie!) over there! I enjoy encouraging others! I think I’ve held myself back from sharing “too” much for a couple reasons. 

  1. I’ve decided not to share my kids’ faces online. This has been a thing I’ve done for about 7 years now, but it’s harder and harder to find snaps or videos without their faces, so I have to be more intentional to take a shot of what we are doing! Not hard, but I have to get into that practice.
  2. I’ve been mindful of my screen time these last couple of years as well. I am still a work in progress! But I don’t want to be on my phone 24/7. I try to stay off of it during school time which is about 9 to 2.
  3. There is a learning curve! It’s hard to put out sub-par content. But social media is so fast that no one really cares lols. We think people care but they really don’t, so we can stop overthinking it and just get it done!

All that to say, I’m going to share more! 

Let’s go back to the “start” of the school year. I usually “do school” with the kids throughout the summer. That is, they still have to read and either orally narrate or write a short paragraph. This keeps them at least in the mindset of learning! They also had to do a lesson on math here and there. I’m not an advocate of dropping learning altogether for 2+ months, but I also don’t want to put too much pressure on the kids since there is so much fun to be had over the summer!

September is when we really picked things ups! We also added MORE to our schedule, so I’ve had to be more diligent in doing the things at the right times. This is a bit of my downfall. I love lazy mornings. Letting the kids sleep in, doing a work out, getting some work-computer time in for me. But honestly, we should start at 9!

Joining a Co-Op

Monday: this is our co-op day and it’s been marvelous. It is hard work (on my part) but worth it. I’m glad we waited to join a rigorous co-op until my oldest was 6/7th grade. There is no reason to do it earlier in my opinion! Keep those days open for free play, drop in story time, museums, tons of nature walks, all the things!

I teach geography this year (last year I did elementary choir) and assist with the middle school/high school Shakespeare drama. Last year this was The Merchant of Venice (my son was Lorenzo! never had there been a more handsome Lorenzo!) This year we are putting on Julius Caesar and both my son and daughter will be in it! Such a joy! Hard work that last week, but other than that, I am “producing” and doing most things inside that Monday.

For the co-op, my oldest is now 13 (gasp) — John is grown up. He is as tall as me. All of this is to lament but also be very proud. He is obsessed with swimming (and he swims so well!) so we opted to not do all 6 hours and only stay until 5th so he can make it to practice in time. We are 30 minutes away so it is far enough that I don’t want to make that trip twice. John attends for computer programming, Algebra 1, and drama. He has two study halls. This is just the way the schedule worked out, though he’d love to have been able to do boys basketball.

May, now 11, loves co-op days! She gets to have fun with polymer clay, worship dance, drama, Shakespeare (another class studying his plays, reenacting, eating, learning about the man and the Renaissance), and 3d art (more art! she loves this!)

Lin, our youngest, is now 7! She loves co-op too, she is very extroverted and just says Bye Mom! And I don’t see her until a bit for lunch and then the end of the day! She has worship dance, human body (blood & guts), eating thru American history, Shakespeare with her sister, and a seasonal crafts time. What a joy! She loves it all!

I had thought this would be our one day out and about but God had other plans!

Our Waldorf Mornings

Tuesday: an opportunity arose for the girls to get to learn with a Waldorf teacher. This includes recorder, yarn, form drawing, knitting, art, singing, clapping, so many wonderful things! What a wonderful time! They love it. And I love it too! This has become a work time for me, and I’m also following up with Ezra’s learning and bringing him to and from math tutoring.

This morning turned into an all day affair, and I can’t complain!

Another day learning with friends

The Waldorf mornings morphed into another teacher led day on Wednesdays. The girls begged to do this, they love putting on backpacks, having a lunch, and frankly, learning with another teacher. I have grown to be okay with this. I am also going to teach science in the afternoons which will give me a chance to get some hands on experiments together from Smart Lab!

Thursday and Friday are wonderful days with my girls. Since we aren’t together 24/7 now, it makes these days sweeter. And on the other days, I still see them a bit more than I would if they were in school full time (at lunch, earlier pick up). Reading on the couch, lessons at the kitchen table, math on the floor. My intention is to morph our Bible, history, and science into a shortened lesson on Saturdays. Since we only have two days together, I think that is reasonable about 2x a month so we can get through the material. History and Bible are my favorite subjects so I don’t want to let go of those!

And more rigorous learning for my son

I have always favored the Classical approach to education. (Charlotte Mason is relaxed, connected Classical. And Reggio, Montessori, Waldorf or a combination thereof are brilliant for those younger toddler and preschool into elementary years. I have emphasized nature, living books, exposure to the arts, waiting for the child’s readiness before teaching reading, focus on history and languages. All the things!)

I’ve written about the definition of Classical Education here.

You can read more about Reggio & Classical education here.

We were a part of a Classical Conversations community and loved its rigor and program. I’ve written many posts about it including links to spines, living books, and other resources that can help your learning with CC! You can see them all here.

I have also shared on many occasions about my son’s additional needs. He needs more than I can give him. He needs rigor and intellectual conversation. He needs more than what I can offer. He needs male teachers. He needs wisdom and truth.

We are thrilled to now be putting him in a two-day a week, all day Classical Christian program. We are praying that he thrives in learning, and also in friendships, as he continues to know God and make Him known! He can still be home to work on his subjects and go to swim. We feel so blessed! Thank you, God, for answered prayers! We will most likely continue this program for all of middles school and high school for all of our children. (But they are so different, with different needs, so we will see!)

Homeschooling does not mean that you have to be everything and know everything and teach everything. It has taken me some time to learn this and accept this! I am still sad about it at times. But if my children are happy and thriving, and I am satisfied with the content of what they are learning and how they are learning, then I am joyful!

I say all these things to let you know, dear friends — our learning looks different than a year ago. It looks different than 4 years ago. It looks different than I imagined it to be when I first started off on this parenting or homeschooling adventure. And all of that is good!

how to homeschool

Where does that leave me?

I have many passions and many jobs and interests. I am happy to continue to pursue them while placing my role as a mother and wife first!

  • I grocery shop and feed my family breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • I clean and organize my home daily so it can be well-kept (not as tidy as some would like) but it’s lived in and lovely. (My kids help with daily chores and jobs!)
  • I teach my children and organize their curriculum.
  • I pay the bills online and keep track of the finances. I shop for all necessary (and not so necessary) household or educational items. Shopping for 3 growing kids and their needs is no small feat!
  • (I retired from the Army Reserve in 2022, that feels good! I feel proud of what I accomplished but happy it is done!)
  • I promote literacy and sell books with PaperPie, home of Usborne & Kane Miller books, Learning Wrap-Ups, and SmartLab Toys.
  • I lead a large team of literacy minded Brand Partners with PaperPie, helping to motivate and equip them in their sharing bout the importance of reading and book ownership! I do zooms and lives with them, this is a joy!
  • I lead the children’s choir at our church and teach private voice lessons to a couple students (I love and adore this!)
  • I have this blog, plus thinking about revving up my instagram to really represent me! 
  • I started my podcast last year and have the goal of at least 20 episodes per year. Ideally, this would be weekly or even bi-weekly but that’s not feasible with everything else I do!
  • I have many ideas for what to build in the future for encouraging and equipping moms who homeschool or are thinking about homeschool. This is a true passion of mine that I hope to continue to build! Maybe a book in the future (we’re talking in a decade future.)
  • I produce/assistant direct the MS/HS Shakespeare Drama.
  • I teach a Middle School Geography class.
  • I lead singing at our local Awana kids club on Sunday nights (not every week).

Wow it’s fun to list all those things out and be proud of what I do! Mamas, be proud of yourself! Never compare yourself to others! Always be right where you are. And ask God to reveal to you what is most important, what you can do and not do. 

Feel free to say no. 

Feel free to say not now.

These are things I have learned.

You can listen to my podcast about motherhood here.

You can listen to my podcast about mindset here.

You can listen to my podcast about habits here.

You can listen to my podcast about time here.

You can get a free printable on the Importance of Time and Daily Action here.

Thanks for being here, friends.

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