Friday, August 17, 2018

Week 1 ~ Year 20 -- A Gentle Start

Yes, this is our 20th year of homeschooling. I am totally blown away that this is year 20 of our wonderful, amazing, blessed homeschool journey! I am so very thankful for this way of life. I am grateful that I have been able to stay home and shape my children for the last 20 years. What an incredible blessing it has been to all of us. As I watch my friends send their children back to school and start to hear the horror stories (especially from parents of special needs kids) pouring in and the hopelessness my friends feel to improve their children's situations, I am reminded of the awesome power my husband and I have as homeschooling parents. We are not trapped in a broken system and forced to bow to the will of others who often do not have our children's best interest at heart. We do not have to force our children to conform to something they are not or to ascertain facts in a way they do not learn. We can and do make all of the decisions for our children's well being and education. At the end of this journey, if there are failings and missed opportunities, we will have no one to blame but ourselves -- AND I am okay with that. I am content with the fact that I am doing my best every day and that my best is more than good enough. I love my children and am completely invested in their success, and I have the freedom and power to make alterations in their education to boost their chance for success. No public school can ever say that. There will always be missed opportunities and missteps in life. Picking yourself up and moving on is all part of learning and growing. Homeschooling doesn't have to be perfect every day or even every year. There is great learning in the imperfect. So we go on to learn and grow and I feel so blessed.

You would think after 20 years there wouldn't be much new to try, but there are always new opportunities. This year we tried something that many homeschoolers do every year -- a gentle start. We only added in a few subjects this week. I decided that since the kids are in high school now, we are counting hours (per subject), not weeks or days.  Thus, getting everything going at once did not matter in the least. So we started math, their daily grammar worksheet, group time (world history, health, biology/physics, depending on the day), and independent reading this week. That is it. I must admit one of the days felt overwhelmingly full, which was a bit scary considering that we haven't started yet the 16 hours a week of out of the home dance classes plus three other out of the home classes for art and sign language. We also still plan to add in a weekly English paper each week, plus literature and industrial arts for Dean. We will see if it can all be managed, and if it can't we will adjust.

Highlights from week one ~ 

Use It! Don't Lose It! is the perfect review of grammar. It is only taking the kids about 5 to 10 minutes a day do the assignment. Money Matters for Teens Workbook is also a great fit for Dean. He is doing consumer math this year.

Anne dived off the diving board for the first time.

We watched the 1954 version of 20 Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. Dean read Who Is Jules Verne? and gave us a review of the book before we watched the movie. We also found a chair for $40 at the thrift shop and it is in great shape (which Dean is sitting in). Now everyone has a seat in the living room during movie time.
We did several science experiments with solar print paper and popcorn on our quest to understand radiation uses and x-rays better.

We also managed to do every lesson we set out to do and a few extra. Everything is going well, even Algebra. Anne likes Teaching Textbooks but did struggle at the beginning of the week to remember how to do a few things. Maybe we shouldn't have put math away for the entire summer. By the end of the week she was getting back in the hang of it.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I well remember the first week back after a break when it seemed everything math related had been totally forgotten. Thankfully it all returned after a day or two.

  2. I'm glad to read your positive review of homeschooling your talented, special, wonderfully unique students. I think I needed that without knowing I needed it.

    Of course Anne's dive was perfect--your graceful, lovely dancer. :)

    I wish you joy in the year. I love seeing how hands on your high school classes are. I'm sure you'll find your rhythm--even if it takes a tweak or two to get there.

  3. I love that you are trying something different (a slow start) just because you can! I think I always have those "can we really do everything we need to" moments in the first weeks back to homeschool. This year I decided not to do a slow start, so we've been in the deep end from the start on Monday. It's been interesting.

  4. It is because your love and devotion that we follow your blog and it is seeing your beautiful children thrive is why I feel invested in their success from afar. I wish I could know you face to face.

  5. I just looked up the resource, Use it don’t lose it...very interesting may have to give this a try with my kid. The dive was wonderful. My kids loved reading Jules Verne, I think we have read them all. Have a good week

  6. That doesn't sound much like a slow start to me! You all are always so productive and make great use of your time each day.

    I really love that chair too! If my family would let me, I'd furnish the whole house in antique furniture.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how you all do for another school year!