Friday, August 27, 2010

One Last Hurdle to Clear

I admit, school starts next week and I have yet to withdraw my child. Not that they wouldn't take her back whenever we needed it but I have been kind of waiting on one thing - teacher lists. You see, there is this one really great second grade teacher at her school. The others may be great, too, but there is one everyone raves about. One that I always see going above and beyond. One that I can put a name and a face to and I haven't had a second grader yet. The one everyone wants their kid to have. That one.

So, what would I do if she got that teacher? The last question still hanging in my mind. I've spent too much on books to go back. So why was I waiting? I don't know. Curiosity. I am not a very decisive person. I tend to second guess myself. Lots of doubts.

Finally, with school starting next week, class lists were posted tonight. I took the opportunity to run up there without the kids to see. Too curious. She didn't get THE teacher. She got one I don't know anything about. All of her friends are in other classes. I only recognized a couple of names on her list.

Maybe I was waiting on this one last confirmation from God that I am doing the right thing. Even after a year of praying about it. I'm kind of dense. I have to be hit over the head with things. God and I have discussed this. He knows it about it. He's good about being faithful to my dense-ness. Thankfully.

Now I'm going to go write that withdrawal letter (in WA you don't have to officially declare you are homeschooling until they turn 8). And get ready. School starts on Monday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Box Day (Part One)

Torture! The boxes were delivered Friday morning about an hour after DD left for drama camp. I had to look at them until 3 that afternoon before I could open them.

DD came in and was ready to open them. I was finishing up something in the kitchen and asked her to wait on me. This is what I found when I got in there. Sneaky!

Finally we could get these big ole boxes open!
Digging in to three boxes worth of books - what could be more fun than that?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Choosing Curriculum

When I went in to this, I knew I needed to get a curriculum. While I COULD make it up as I go, I knew how that would turn out. Stressed all the time, constantly finding more books, websites, printouts, etc. I'm not sure we ever would get anything done that way. I know some of you do it. I just don't think I would be able to put it all together and be sane.

So where to start? Who knows? Type in "homeschool curriculum" and see what happens. Add the word "reviews" to that and THEN see what happens. If smoke is not coming out of your ears in an hour, you're a better person than I. Thankfully, I have known some wonderful, godly, amazing homeschooling moms in my days around the Army. And, thankfully, I have managed to keep in contact with most of them via Facebook. So I closed all those review sites and started writing messages, one or two at a time, to these dear ladies I trusted and asked for their opinions. (If I didn't write you it was because I didn't realize you homeschooled until I said I was doing it or because I just ran out of time and finally had to make a choice. No offense intended!) Everyone was, of course, so lovely to answer my questions and give me their take on it. Websites, ideas, borrowed DVDs, hour long phone conversations - all were helpful in making my choices.

I'm actually still a bit in the process. I have ordered and received part of our work. I am using Sonlight for History, Reading and Science. Those books have arrived and look great. I have ordered Saxon for Math and Shurley for Grammar but those have not arrived yet. I still have to make a final choice and order Bible and Spelling. It's a good thing schools here don't start until Labor Day. I'm not behind yet!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Homeschooling? Me? Yeah, right!

Homeschooling. Does the word strike fear in your heart? It does mine. While I have never been opposed to homeschooling and like the idea in principle, the thought of doing it has always terrified me. I'm too disorganized! I'm too impatient! I'm too easily distracted! I procrastinate too much! I'm too selfish! I like my me time too much! I have too many other things to keep me occupied! How many more reasons do you need? I have more.

I guess somewhere deep down I always knew I'd try it at some point. Being military, we move too much to hit good school districts everywhere. We also like to talk about buying an RV and spending a year on the road after DH retires, homeschooling the kids and seeing the bits of our great nation we have yet to see. That is why I have tried to keep an open mind about it. I do love the idea of it. Projects! Field trips! Workbooks! School supplies! Books! Did I mention I tend to go overboard with things too? I do.

Again, being military, we have to consider our situation for each year. We lived in Kansas when DD was ready for Kindergarten and the school was WONDERFUL! Beautiful, every amenity, art teacher, music teacher, PE teacher, science lab, planetarium, full day - that was a no-brainer to me. I knew every kid and parent. DD learned math and reading and science and made beautiful artwork. We all cried the December day we had to leave that classroom but duty calls and we were moving mid-year.

Enter new school in Washington. I admit, I was not very pleased to be going from full day in a wonderful school back to 2 1/2 hours in an unknown school. Really, 2 1/2 hours - she went to preschool longer than that. I considered not enrolling her since in Washington you are not required to put your kids in school until they are 8 years old. It's true. Look it up. 2 1/2 hours seemed more of a hassle than it was worth. And it was. In the end, I did enroll her so she could make friends and have something to do. We found out as were moving that DH would be leaving for a year six weeks after we got there so it was a good thing. I knew I would evaluate our situation every summer anyway.

I might have tried this last year if DH had been home. I thought about it long and hard but I just couldn't see taking on one more thing. DS was two, I had never homeschooled and I would have no one to back me up. I made the decision to try first grade at school, again watching closely and evaluating how the year went. While I liked her teacher and felt like she learned what I wanted her to over the course of the year, I have some philosophical problems with her school and feel like a lot of her time there was wasted. Twice last year she missed more than a week of school and was able to do all the make-up work on her own in 45 minutes. For seven days' worth of work. Plus, they are changing the bell schedule this year so that school does not release until 3:45. That is just way too late in my opinion. Add any activity and she has no time for playing and being a kid. These are some of my reasons. There are more.

I make no judgements on those who send their kids to any school. I make no promises that I won't send her back next year if this just doesn't work out. I just feel like I have to try it and that this is the time. Trust me, a lot of prayer went in to this decision as well. Every time I asked God to take the desire away if it was not in His plan for me, the desire came back stronger than ever. Even if this is the only year I do it, I pray the things I invest in my child last her the rest of her life. The good ones, anyway.

I know I will make mistakes. Lots of them. I know it won't always be fun. I know I won't always feel like it. So, for now, it's just me - a very disorganized mom - trying to be obedient and homeschooling my child this year. Pray for us!