Adventures in Homeschooling

So…we have survived the first week of homeschooling.  It was not pretty.  In fact…it was rather overwhelming, which is a bit embarrassing to admit especially when I have the curriculum, the lesson plans…the whole 9 years laid out in front of me.  Am I good enough to teach my own kids?  What makes me qualified to think I can teach my kids?  I am not a teacher, am I?  I mean, I’m pretty good at having kids, but actually teaching them?  Oh dear Lord, sister…that is a whole different ball game!  I love it when doubt rears its ugly head.

My 2nd Oldest.

My 2nd oldest was rather upset that her version of home school…and my version of home school were apparently vastly different.  She thought it was going to be easy-peasy…and well, I selected curriculum that is more geared to where I feel she should be.  We researched lots of curriculum and I chose the one I did because it reflects our beliefs and it also believes in a firm foundation of fundamentals to help a child achieve academic success.

I have learned that my 6th grader does not know how to put together a simple sentence.  By that I mean, she can write sentences, but she has no idea why what goes where.  This was something I did not know and makes me feel like a loser for not knowing that my daughter was struggling this much in a basic English function.   She simply does not know what a subject of a sentence it.  She does not know what a predicate of a sentence is.  She does not know how to separate the two nor does she understand how to identify them.  Whoa!  This is an issue.

She absolutely refused to write in cursive.  A 10 minute lesson took between 30 and 40 minutes to do because she was that resistant to actually doing the work.  Once I got her back in line and focused she did it grudgingly.  The next day, no problems.  She did it without complaint.  Score!

The first day she flipped over her spelling words.  35 in all and we go over the Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes.  Again, a lesson that should take no more than half an hour…took almost an hour and a half because she fought it.  Today…she only missed 6 in her pre-test.  And we laughed through most of it.  Yay!  Another win in my book!

Science and History she has not fought me on.  We just got her math in today and will start that on Monday.

But already, her attitude is improving.  Thank You, Jesus.  And I am not being facetious about that.

What have I learned?

I do not have to go by what the pre-written lesson plans say I do.  I was starting to freak out and worry because we are already “behind” based on what my books say we should be.  Day 1, Lesson 1.  Day 2, Lesson 2…Day 3…still on Lesson 2.  OH CRAP!  We’re falling behind.  Here comes the stress.  I hate stress.  I do not thrive well in a stress environment and if I am stressed, then baby you know my whole family feels it.  But wait.  Who says we have to follow the lesson plans verbatim?  No one.  Liberty and freedom! 😉

I have learned if we have to take more time to make sure the lesson cements in her brain…then that is what we are going to do.  If it takes a week to get her to understand Imperative, Declarative, Interrogative and Exclamatory sentences and their sentence structures…then we will.  If she needs a remedial course in subject and predicate then that is what we are going to do.  I don’t want to shuffle her through because she is “acceptably” meeting the standards.  I want her to exceed the standards because she understands it.  I want her to comprehend it and be able to put that knowledge to good use.  Knowledge itself is not power; Applied knowledge is power.  Learn how to use it…and she will.

My son.

My son is in 1st grade and has the attention span of a gnat.  I can get through his lessons in no time flat…and I worry because it’s like: I sent him to freaking school for 8 hours a freaking day.  The boy cannot sit still in his seat without his little butt cheeks scooting off and half sitting/half standing at the table.  How in the world did her survive 8 hours?  the 1st 2 days I gave him “busy” work because while I was doing lessons with my older girl, I felt he should be doing something.  How boring is that?  So on the 3rd day, I took him later.  Let him play with younger sister and watch TV and draw and read and go outside.  His lessons got done and he was super happy.  And tired.  The boy ran around outside and played and played and played.  He has slept well.

Our mornings.

Our mornings are nice.  My husband gets up for work and makes coffee.  He wakes me up, wakes up the kids.  And it’s a nice way to get up.  No rush, rush, rush to get clothes and sandwiches and lunches and breakfasts all done before the bus driver comes screeching to a stop in front of our house.  Nope.  We watch it pass by and I breathe a sigh of relief.  There’s no screaming.  It’s rather quiet, considering.  My daughters are not snipping at one another.  They in turn are not yelling at their younger brother to stop being a lump on a log…and I in turn am not yelling at all of them to get their collective butts in gear.  Sigh.  So far, so good.

All in All.

All in all, things remain good.  My oldest is going to public school online and she is loving it.  She’s been doing it for 2 weeks now.  She puts in between 6 and 8 hours a day on the computer and there’s no homework…for now.  She is totally busting butt on it and I am so proud of her.  She gets up, turns on the computer and goes to work.  She gets herself up before 8 a-m and is at “school” by 8; checking into her classes and starting her lessons.  She goes to a “live lesson” once a day and is contact with her instructors throughout the day.  She seems to be enjoying it and is being challenged which we both enjoy!

This was not an easy decision.  It was something we prayed over, fought over, cried over.  It is not for everyone, but is the right fit, right now, for our family.  It totally has to be something that God puts on your heart.  Yeah.  He’s our decision maker right now.  And it’s scary and comforting to know that He is leading us.  Be blessed, friend!


Rebellious Teen Me

God was speaking to me all those years ago.  Sigh, gentle reader, sigh.  I wish I had listened back then.  It has come upon me, this dawning realization, that He sent people in my path when I was a teen because He wanted a relationship with me.  I was too proud, too different, too selfish in my own way to listen.  I see that now.   How my elder years have shed light on how I was then.

I am not proud of the teen me.  I would have told my own daughter to stay away from the teen me.  Oh, I was a hard working 4pointO G.P.A type student.  I started working at 15.  But I drank.  I smoked.  I lied to my parents about what I did…but I was always at home on time for my curfew.  As long as I could walk through the door soberly…I was a “good” kid.  I seriously don’t think my parents even knew what a shyster I really was.  My mom may have had an inkling, but she never would be able to grasp the whole truth of it.

God was trying to reach me through a friend named Nina.  Nina was a good Christian girl and invited me to youth group at her Church.  I am Catholic and never went to youth group.  I am sure there was a youth group at my church but I wasn’t part of “that group” at school.  Surprisingly, a lot of the Catholic kids were extremely popular, very cliquey and were worse behaved than me.  If I had gone to the Catholic youth group I would have been ostracized.

I went pretty regularly with Nina to her church’s youth group.  But I never listened to the message.  I had a crush on Nina’s older brother’s best friend.  I was more interested in appearing interesting to him and trying to say something witty when he spoke to me.  Funny, now gentle reader…I cannot even remember his name.  Ah youth…how you fade with time.  Eventually, Nina and I went our separate ways.  She became too “faith filled” (read gentle reader: I thought she was a goody two shoes and she thought I was a tart) for rebellious teen me and I hated everything.

Enter in Johanna.  We sang together in choir.  Again, I am sure God prompted her to ask me to go with her to her Christian church where everyone spoke Spanish and I was the only Hispanic there who did not.  I only went a few times because I did not fit.  I couldn’t speak the language and I didn’t understand in my heart what was being shown to me.  Oh Lord, how I wish I could back and enjoy worship with her now.  It would have been amazing!  I am pretty sure me and some of the other girls in our choir were pretty bad for Johanna since we were “bad” kids who drank, smoke and partyied with one another.  We were definitely a bad influence on her for a time being.  God pulled her back into his fold and we were left on the curb.  She stayed in choir and I left because I didn’t like the choir teacher.  He gave me the heeby-jeebies.  Gross man.

A few days ago it occurred to me that God had been trying to woo me into his fold too.  He was showing me a different way to worship.  He was trying to tell me I was loved and beautiful.  But I believed the lies of the deciever that I was ugly and unworthy of love.  I had the mentality that I was going to do it to the other person before they had the chance to do it to me!  So, there!  HA!

I am so glad for the saving Grace of our Savior.  And I know now, that I have grown in my faith and can allow my Lord and Savior to love me as I am, as broken and imperfect as I am, that He was trying to reach me even then.  I was too blind to see and too wrapped up in my adolescent self to actually pay attention.

I pray my own daughters will see God’s love.  That they learn, through my own faith walk, that God knows them…the very heart of them…and finds it oh-so-lovely…warts and all.  He loved me even then.  And He loves me now.  He will love me in the future.

THAT is so something to look forward to.