Sometimes in this homeschooling journey daily life can be so frustrating.
Sometimes it just seems like nothing is getting done and the kids are arguing over everything and tempers are flaring and everyone is unhappy.
But that is only sometimes.
The majority of the time life is pretty routine with the normal daily hiccups.
For us those normal daily hiccups tend to include Bug arguing with me about whether or not he actually "needs school" - oh yes, he believes he is smart enough without it.
Boy is he wrong!
I get that the kid is intelligent, but when he reaches true genius status it will be when he actually has learned that life will always involve learning.
Anyways, those arguments can sometimes cause the whole day to go bust. He will decide he doesn't need to do his work and totally shut me out and when I try to press on he will freak out and it is only after massive amounts of deep breathing (so as to not go insane) and a lot of discussion that we will finally move forward on a subject and he will finish his work.
I'm not saying that every day has to have these long, drawn out, exhausting, argumentative sessions... But lately a lot of them have.
But then every once in a while I get a day like today.
Today... Bug sat down. Started his work. Listened intently to every word I said. Paid attention. Smiled. Did every task set forth. Smiled more. Seemed to enjoy every bit of it.
And then said, because he knows he is behaving in a way that makes me happy, "Wow, Mommy, it's 10:30 and I didn't argue once."
Yep, that was today. No arguing with me. No yelling.
No telling me he was too smart and already knew what I was teaching him anyway (boy he is full of himself at times - but I love him).
And more importantly...
No flipping out over paper being faced the wrong direction or the wrong color pen being on the table, or his sister being too noisy, or the sun being too bright, or being too warm, or too cold, or thinking he doesn't need to review something, or not liking that I asked him to number a paper, or anything else that he could come up with to argue and get upset over.
Nope, today he was happy as a clam and just did his work.
And at 10:30 he made his announcement... And do you know what I said to him?
I said, "And that, my boy, is why you are already done for the day and you can now go outside and play in the snow. Isn't it great to just get it done?"
Today I began introducing Bug to the concept of division. I wasn't sure how he would do with it at first - he kind of looked at me like I was from outer space when I started describing the process. But as soon as I pulled out our little math blocks and created a picture for him he was off and running with it.
Our lesson was just basic with things like 10÷2 and 8÷4 and 12÷2 or 6÷3, stuff like that... but he caught on really quick!
And as I had him working on some small problems he suddenly yelled out, "Division is easy!"
Yes, my little math geek grew just a smidge geekier today with his new skill. I just love watching him learn.
This morning while doing lessons I had this moment that I just want to write down because I don't want to forget it. I was helping Bean with her handwriting (ahh, yes, homeschool before public school - taking matters into my own hands) and Bug was working on his math. Everyone was busy doing their thing and then I just kind of looked up at both of the kids and this wave of peace washed over me. I don't know how else to describe it, but in my mind I heard "this is right" and I suddenly began to think about just how much I truly enjoy homeschooling.
I love it! I love watching my kids learn. I love guiding their learning.
I just love it.
Back to Bean... Since she started kindergarten I have been doing lessons off and on with her before she actually goes to school. I haven't been doing it every day up until this month. This month I have done lessons with her every day and she is just a really great little student for me.
I feel like public school is failing her. She's in kindergarten and I already feel that way.
Anyways... As I watched my little learners doing their thing this morning I just loved the feeling that went through me and want to remember that always.
As with everything in life, homeschooling comes with its share of good and bad days, but the good is like this whole level of good that I just don't think you can experience in any other way.
At first I wondered if this is just a response to her having her Christmas vacation off and enjoying being with the family, but we've been home and she is back in school and even after a couple of days she keeps saying, "Mommy, I want to be homeschooled."
But she still loves regular school. She has friends, is happy to be there, and seems to like her teacher. I'm not sure what it is that has her wanting to be at home.
Do I want her at home? Truthfully, yes, I do.
Am I pulling her out? No, I'm not.
She will finish kindergarten in the class she started in.
But I'm making no promises as to what will happen for first grade.
One of my friends surprised me with a Christmas present I wasn't expecting. She popped by one day with a laminating machine for me.
And she said, "For all your schooling stuff." It's really nice when people understand you and your homeschooling needs. When it comes to regular folks (meaning not family) that doesn't happen very often so I mean it when I say I was surprised.
Anyways, it came just at the right time as I am working with Bug on his multiplication and finally decided I need to print out a multiplication chart for him to refer to. I just printed it and I'm going to laminate it and I am just tickled pink to be able to do so!
I really like the chart I found, it is from the Donna Young website. That website is loaded up with goodies - planners, charts, tables, graphs, worksheets, ideas, and so much more. It is a great resource!
Today we jumped right back into school lessons and it felt great to get back to our regular routine. Bug is much more settled when he knows exactly what is going to happen with his day and the structure of our homeschooling routine provides for that need.
And the Hubby says I fair better with routine too. Hmm... He may be right!
Anyways, we jumped in with a new list of spelling words for the week, a review of where we are in language arts (working with writing complete sentences) and a math lesson to learn more about multiplication and the concept behind it. As Bug and I worked on lessons, Bean sat nearby and worked on her handwriting. She doesn't go back to kindergarten until the 9th. I pulled out some early reading books for her to go over this week to reinforce her letter sounds and letter blends. She seems very excited to work with them.
We also jumped back into our reading. We are currently reading a series called Roscoe Riley Rules written by Katherine Applegate. We're on book 4, Never Swim in Applesauce. These books are hysterical and I have the entire series loaded onto the Kindle app on Bug's iPad. He loves them and he reads a chapter a day and I follow it up with comprehension questions.
Next week I'm going to begin a unit on health, safety, and manners with Bug and after we finish out health, safety, and manners we will move on to science. I did the same health, safety, and manners stuff last year, but this year I will expand on it and we'll work on some more life skills in the process - I'm really hoping more of it will rub off this year. Bug will be 8 years-old in May and well, his life skills are greatly lacking.
So that's where we're at for now - it's a new year and I am looking forward to great things!