Schoolmarmee’s Mid-Year Update: Homeschool Happens

So here we are, more than midway through our Adventures in Kindergarten, and I really thought it was time for an update. This “Home Academy” blog has been poorly neglected, but the reasons for that fit quite nicely into what I want to say today, anyway. Don’t you love it when everything matches and has a theme? I sure do.

Because, what I have learned foremost in my first year as a homeschool-teacher is this: homeschool happens.

Meaning, more often than not, there is not anything really noteworthy (or for that matter, blogworthy) about our days here, other than the typical beauty that is found in a life lived in simplicity at home.

I am not so creative that I have neat little craft ideas or recipes to share, and I am not such a pioneer in the field of home education that I have worldview-shifting philosophies to inspire and motivate you. Thankfully, there is a wealth of ideologies out there already that speak far more eloquently than I ever could (I’m looking at you, Charlotte Mason, xoxo), and my sisters on Pinterest have got the awesome snacks and tricked-out craft department more than covered.

But what I do have to offer is some gentle encouragement by way of transparency and honesty…

As much as I absolutely adored our first days of school, with the strict schedule and the novelty and the whimsy (and believe me, I wouldn’t change a thing about it!), as time has wore on, and as I have traveled through the very dark and difficult days of 1st trimester pregnancy misery, school hasn’t so much taken a back burner as it has simply found a way to fit into our life, whatever our life looks like on any given day.

And I think that’s what homeschool is all about.

One of the most notable benefits I have observed during our first year of schooling is that my kids are learning the great art of flexibility and self-education, as well as self-entertainment. As much as I would love to coddle them and max our days out with back-to-back colorful and educational activities, life just isn’t like that. At least mine isn’t.

It’s messy.

It can be hectic.

And it hardly ever goes as planned.

And so one of my very favorite things about the first half of our first year has been watching my Kindergartener, as he has learned his letter sounds and early reading skills and how to tell time, learn to live.

Here are a few examples of Gideon’s greatest accomplishments in Kindergarten thus far (in Schoolmarmee’s sort-of-humble opinion):

  • Learning to appreciate the library.
  • Learning to concentrate on school with one sister crying at our feet and one watching “Little Bear” in the living room.
  • Learning to accompany me and his Papa on church calls and to sit quietly and respectfully while we visit. I’ll share more on this in the future.
  • Learning to become best friends with his siblings and to help take care of them.
  • Learning to hold the door open for me and his sisters.
  • Helping me bake, helping Papa build things, and helping with cleaning and yard work.
  • Learning to listen sort-of intently to chapter books with no pictures. He even chose this over a television show today! Major score.
  • Learning to paint and draw from his imagination rather than always using pre-made coloring sheets.
  • Identifying and naming classical music selections and their composers and giving vivid descriptions of what the music makes him think of.
  • Growing in his love for his entire family and desiring more and more to do kind things for them.
  • Learning to come to us and confess when he has done wrong, before praying and asking God to keep “fixing his heart”. This is my favorite development of the year.
  • Learning to have good manners, at the table, at church, in the car, on errands, and at home.
  • Learning his first song on the piano.
  • Learning to read simple words and books.
  • Developing the foundational stages of his theology.
  • Memorizing dozens of nursery rhymes and songs, including some hymns that he really loves.
  • Learning to dress himself, if not appropriately, at least in an always interesting manner (and I have learned to just go with it).
  • Learning to dislike bullying and cruelty, to people and animals.
  • Learning to become friends with nature and find fulfillment just by being outside.
  • Working simple math problems, at his own pace and for his own enjoyment.

Notice I said “learn-ING” a lot; he is not yet master of any of those subjects, but I share all of these things for one simple reason: in all honesty, I wasn’t very terribly intentional in all of the above. And that’s what I mean when I say “homeschool happens”, because, as we live and move as a family unit, sitting down to read here, listening to music together there, and fleshing out the triumphs and trials of the Christian life in front of each other, we naturally grow. We learn. We develop. We flourish in the things we are good at and we learn to persevere in the things we are not so good at.

Yes, I have to “do school”. Unfortunately, I can’t just throw out a bunch of worksheets and say “figure it out.” And the only reason Gideon can name songs and composers is because I taught him. But my point is, the greatest school moments we have had this year took place when we were doing life, and when we, as a family, were enjoying the things we love.

Homeschool happens, you guys! Especially in the sweet, simple and flexible year of Kindergarten.

And all that was my very roundabout way of saying this: if you’re feeling down that your homeschool isn’t very organized and looks nothing like the schools in the land of blogs and Pinterest, take a moment to catalogue what your children have learned, and take inventory, not just on the hours of your schooldays and the number of projects on your wall, but on all of your moments and days together as a family, and on how your little man or your little lady has changed over the past year. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be surprised to find that you’re doing more than fine, and learning far more than you even realized.

Every single one of you.

"Homeschool Happens" - encouragement for fellow less-than-organized homeschoolers.

6 thoughts on “Schoolmarmee’s Mid-Year Update: Homeschool Happens

  1. This left me in tears. Growing up in Kansas, I was home-schooled from the middle of 5th grade through high school. I always thought I would home-school my children. That’s not the direction we have gone, and while we have been very involved in our school system, it saddens me sometimes. But the stark contrast of your sweet little kindergarten boy sitting in the sun on a colorful rug, peacefully learning, and my little kindergarten girl in a classroom under the new “state’s standards”, being forced to ahere to the “common core”, with first-grade type evaluation sheets, finally-after all these years of public education with my boys-brought me to tears. Enjoy your peaceful moments. I’m so happy that you have chosen this path! Blessings to you today and everyday! You will never know what a blessing your blog is!

    • Gob bless you – you brought tears to MY eyes! (and I recognize your name as you have consistently encouraged me on my blog – thanks for that!).
      I want to encourage you, as I know these educational choices are so difficult to make, that God knows your heart and He sees your tears – I suppose even now you could start your homeschooling adventure with your little girl…but if not, continue to trust that, as you entrust her to God and follow the convictions of your heart and the path that God has put you on, He will honor you. We have friends that would love to homeschool, but for various reasons just can’t right now, and my husband always encourages them that God will not be mean to them and allow their kids to suffer…but I know what a conflict it can be.

      I pray for God to bless you today, and bring peace to your heart, however He leads you in the future. 🙂 Much love, and thank you again for your kind words and faithful encouragement.

  2. Mrs. Gore, do you find that homeschooling is expensive??? I’ve had friends tell me that they’ve looked into it and it’s just as much to homeschool as it is to send your kid to a private/private Christian school (at least here in Indiana)… I just wondered what you think about that and maybe you could tell us what curriculum you use and what you think as far as total cost, etc??? If you don’t mind me asking… if I haven’t asked already! haha.

    • I think (and I’m a novice at this stuff) that it can be as expensive as you want to make it.
      I’m a big history fan, and I always think about how people survived who went before us and what they saw as important and how they were able to thrive (even academically) on so much less than we feel is necessary today. If they could do it (and do it well) on shoestring budgets and with very the simplest of schools, I think we can definitely find a way, too. That’s why I love Charlotte Mason so much. I highly recommend picking up some books on her philosophy (my favorites are “A Charlotte Mason Companion” by Karen Andreola and “For the Children’s Sake” by Susan Shaeffer Macaulay) as it has, more than anything, given me extreme confidence in my ability to educate my children without feeling the need to resort to the most expensive and product-oriented curriculums, something that I really struggled with before. It put education and childhood in perspective and drew me out of the worldview that I had grown up in, that says that kids must be spoonfed their education and must have this and this and this and this and this to succeed academically. I can honestly say that Charlotte Mason changed my LIFE!
      Because of this, we have happily settled upon “My Father’s World” curriculum, not only because it is based on both a biblical worldview and on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, but because it is extremely reasonable, it can be reused for younger siblings (the only thing you have to reorder are the workpages), and it provides library lists and supplies you probably already have at home, rather than constantly pushing products and books that you feel you need to invest in. So far (and again, I’m so new at this), I am beyond thrilled with the curriculum and with our results.
      I have SO much more I want to say on this subject, but might need to save it for a complete post since I’ve already written a book here. 🙂 I hope this helps, and I’ll work on sharing more in the future! Thanks Amanda!

  3. Thank you SO much for sharing your homeschool experiences with us all!! I’m so new to this that my daughter won’t be starting school for a few years yet, but already my husband and I are talking at length about considering homeschooling her. Neither of us were homeschooled but I am becoming more and more convinced that it is God’s will for our lives. It’s all so exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time since neither of us have any real experience with it before. You have been so helpful to us new-bees that I no longer feel like this is as daunting of a task but something more manageable and do-able. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, your experiences, and your encouragement!!

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