Why Did They Even Have Kids?

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This post is exactly the type of post I try to avoid. Ranty, emotional, us versus them, choppy sentences…  But I have to get it out.  You’ve been warned, I guess??

Raise your hand if you’ve seen the phrase “Why did they even have kids?” among a group of homeschoolers in reference to public schoolers.

*a millionteen hands raise*

Being new to the homeschool world, I spend a good bit of time as a spectator in online groups, social gatherings, etc.  And if you’ve had any amount of experience in these situations, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

At the end of the public school year, public school teachers get a scathing because, “How dare they be so relieved for time off.  They should probably find a new career if they hate kids that much.”  Public school parents get a similar treatment because, “How dare they be exhausted a week into Summer break.  They don’t even know how to exist with their children.”  And then in the fall, “Look at these parents posting funny pictures of their sweet babies going back to school.  How can they be so happy their children are leaving? Their kids must be so sad their parents hate them.  HOW DARE THEY!

Homeschool Mom…Stop.  Sweet Baby Jesus, please, stop.  I have such a hard time seeing these sentiments from what’s supposed to be “my community.”

I struggle with these topics because even though I firmly believe staying home and family based education is the best choice for my family…  I don’t always love it.

When Grandma hauls the kids to her house for the weekend, I do a giddy jig. #noshame

When they’ve been gone two days and my husband mentions missing them, I laugh and laugh and continue to roll around gleefully on my crumbless sofa.

When my kids ask to play, my innards groan the groaniest groan ever.

I can 110% sympathize with the public school mom who is absolutely exhausted by the change of routine summer break carries.  I can feel the relief of the September mom, finally getting a moment to breathe a quiet breath.  The mom doubting her ability to homeschool because she’s afraid she will literally lose her mind and ruin her relationship with her children?  I get that.

Most of us don’t choose our path based on what’s easy or the most pleasant.  We choose what we choose because it’s what we need to do and what we feel called towards. Motherhood can be utterly soul crushing at times.  That’s the real truth for some of us.  I have ugly cried in the shower more times than I can count because it’s just so hard, and it has diddly squat to do with homeschooling vs public schooling.

I love my children.  With a fierceness.  And so do most of those public school parents.  When we make a lighthearted joke (a disguised plea for just a bit of reassurance and comradery), I’ll tell ya…  It sucks being told we shouldn’t even be parents at all.  How dare we not fart sunshine 24/7?  How dare we take two seconds to express that parenthood, in any form, can be difficult?

How dare we be honest and trust that our children won’t one day hate us for it?

Hop down off your high rise pony and practice what you preach, homeschool mom.  Kindness, understanding, patience.  If you’ve got your business SO together, then you won’t mind offering a helping hand or listening ear instead of an upturned nose and righteous indignation.

/rant

When Life Gives You a #LOLNO

June 5th. Our first intentional, recordable day of homeschool. 

It’s gonna be fabulous, right?!

*Two year old accidentally whacks five year old in the head. WITH A HAMMER.*

Conclusion of Homeschool Day One

Field Trip – Emergency Room

Vocabulary Word – Sutures

Math – How long does it take Dad to travel 30 miles if he drives at 150% times the posted speed limit?

Artistic Expression – Carrie impersonation.

The Homeschooler recovered quickly with no serious injuries.

The Whacker received EXTRA EXTRA lecturing on “What Not to Hammer.”

Mom needs a nap.

Stop! It’s Planner Time. 

Homeschooling is yet another excuse reason to browse Michaels and eyeball the pretty planners and pens and craft kits. Gimme it ALLLLL, please and thank you.

I managed to exercise some restraint today, and I left with only what I needed. YAAYbooo!

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A 12 month Happy Planner box set and a pack of lined/graph filler pages. (The planners are on sale this week, and you can use coupons on the accessories!)

“Don’t you already have a Happy Planner?”

I do! This new one will serve as our homeschool idea holder and record keeper. I decided to stick with this brand because I really, truly love the setup and quality.

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My original planner going strong six months in!

My original planner still looks brand new despite being flipped through several times a day and shoved into my purse regularly. It’s a tough little cookie.

The 12 month planner is perfect for our homeschool needs. I can customize the dates and begin my planner with June 2017 and end with May 2018. We plan to school year round to allow ample time for breaks when necessary and eliminate the end of year cram panic that would undoubtedly consume us.

The extra folder inserts (that I purchased months ago) will hold our association paperwork, receipts, and any other information I want to keep handy. The lined and graph pages work for reading logs, attendance charts, curricula and resource notes, contact information, co-op plans, etc. Disk style binding is the way to go!

Here’s how I plan to utilize our planner for daily use.

We’ve chosen to go with unit studies, so the note column along the left edge of the weekly pages will list our theme along with any books that correspond. 

Each day of the week has three vertical boxes. The top box will record lessons and subjects we incorporated into our weekly theme. The middle boxes will contain our Bible study topics, memory verses, service opportunities, and mini prayer journal. The bottom boxes will include our outings, friend dates, group meetings, or special projects.

Here are a few more snaps for anyone curious about this particular planner!

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A bold watercolor look.  “Best year ever!”

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Inside the cover.

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Monthly dashboard and pretty tabbed pages.

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A blank monthly view.  You fill in all dates yourself.

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It comes with all the dates you need for a full year and quite a few extra pretties.

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12 month vs 18 month.


Homeschoolers, do you use a planner?

What’s your favorite?

 

 

What Kind of Homeschoolers Are We?

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I’ve referenced homeschooling in several previous posts, but I want to really lay out my thoughts and intentions.  As a whole and how I hope to implement it within our family.

I never imagined I’d be a homeschool mom.  Growing up, we were all the typical “outsiders” of the homecshool community.  You know…

“Homeschoolers are so weird!”

“I bet they have NO friends.”

“Do you even math, brah?”

And then I moved hours away from my tiny, wholesome hometown to a slightly less tiny, somewhat less wholesome cityville.  The teachers I grew up with were my neighbors.  Those teachers taught my cousins, even my parents.  Those teachers came to visit when you missed school because you were sick.  Those teachers knew you when you arrived to class because they had been to your baby shower.

What a blessing we had.

Moving to a new place, having my own babies, and not knowing anyone in the school system really shook me.  Send my fairy waif of a baby girl to a giant school house with 400 strangers? And STAIRS?

How ’bout…no.

I became a stay at home mom as soon as my first child was born, and homeschooling went from something foreign and slightly creepy to a super swell option that we would 110% figure out.

But now that it’s time to implement and really get started, I’m realizing that I’m still a bit of an outsider here.  Literally every homeschool family I personally know uses full boxed curricula.  Nearly half use a video version where the kids’ teachers are on VHS tape. The mention of unit studies, interest based study topics, forgoing grade systems, or library resources gets me a big ol’ side eye from them all.

A friend of mine told me she was worried about her children falling behind.  Her words being, “If they’re not ahead, they’re behind.”  My view is that there is no behind in homeschooling as long as there is some sort of progress and the kids are happy.

So, here I am.  Branching out even further from my bubble and soaking up all the wisdom and experience I can from mom bloggers across the world, Facebook groups, and Youtube channels.  Just weeks from the official start of our homeschool journey with no curriculum in sight.  And I feel totally fine about it.

I’ve decided our motto will be “Home learning, not home schooling.”

No pressure, just encouragement.  No requirements, just goals.

My hippie level keeps rising.


What kind of homeschooler are you?

“Lowcountry Institute for Exceptional Booger Flickers” : Naming a Homeschool 

This year will be our first year legitimately homeschooling. As in… We’ll have to send official documents to people and pinky promise to actually do stuff other than watch Leapfrog on YouTube. 
I feel oddly undaunted by the thought of being the dominant educator of two real-life humans. I don’t know if I’m the calm, organized yet free spirited mom or the utterly hapless, disaster-is-imminent mom

One of the things on my mind is our school name. I know quite a few homeschool families, and every. single. one. is named LastName Academy. 

We have to be different. Obviously

I also don’t like the word academy. It makes me think of soldiers for some reason, and likening our home life or schooling philosophy to anything remotely orderly and stringent would be a farce. 

I also don’t want my children to cringe each time they have to write “Darth Vader Memorial High School” or “Academy of the Elven Fleet” or some other ridiculousness on job applications for the rest of forever. (Some people really take their homeschool names to the edge.)

However, I would like our name to be somewhat original and unique and speak to who we are. 

I’m interested in hearing what other homeschoolers have named their school. Or if you’re not a homeschooler, what would you name a family school? 

Tracing Without Waste

I just read this post, Pre-Writing Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers, by Angela at MOMtessori Life (great blog to follow!), and I want to share our family’s favorite method of tracing!

When I first started “schooling” my oldest child, I wasn’t the most wise in my methods.  I was printing off stuff like this.

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Source

This could be useful if you needed to occupy a dozen kids.  But one?

My eyes are rolling so hard at my past self.

MOMtessori Life knows what’s up.  Get a piece of paper.  Draw a line.  Boom.  Done.

But wait!  I’ve discovered another option that provides the same skill practice without sheets of paper mounding up.

Enter…The Dry Erase Marker.  Mini onesskinny oneseven SKINNIER onesbold ones, washable onescrayon ones, or even wet erase markers for the Littles prone to smudging or for the lefties.

And while dry erase boards are awesome and have their uses, there is another, even better, even cheaper option that you may not know about.

Report covers and sheet protectors.

Like these report covers or these page protectors from Avery.  I found a pack of ten report covers at WalMart for less than a dollar.

You’re welcome.

Some report covers come with a sliding bar to close the edge, others have a locking tab if you want to get fancy. Taping two of the open sides while leaving one side open to slip pages into is my preferred option.  Hellooooo, pretty washi tape!  Page protectors on the other hand, only have one open end so they require no closure.  But I’ve found that report covers are a bit sturdier.

How to use them?

Draw or write your to-be-traced stuff onto a sheet of paper, insert that sheet into the sleeve you’ve made, hand the kid a marker, and TADA!  Let the no-waste tracing begin. If you’re not into tracing, you can insert a blank sheet, a lined handwriting sheet, a page of math problems, a game blank.  Or leave one of the long sides open and slip one of these sleeves right onto a page inside of a workbook.  It’s endless.

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Insert and remove easily.

You can be even more less-waste by finding and upcycling plastic film sheets from other items you may have at home.  Some recipe books come with splatter pages that would work.  Maybe you bought a packaged toy item with a clear window film.  Trim that baby out and use it for good! Clear vinyl would also work.  You could even use an old picture frame and glass if you like to live dangerously.

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Easy peasy.

 

Happy Wednesday, y’all!