Teaching older kids is not easy, but not hard, either. We made it. We did it. Here is a bit about what our year was like.
^^Our Homeschool Room is now a Prep Room, because we use field trips, group activities, the whole house, and clipboards to do work on (instead of a desk, in our homeschool.
Our Year by Seasonal Quarters
Quarter 1: Fall of 2014
We started our L.I.F.E. School Curriculum again in about mid-August. It is a comprehensive curriculum which helps me to feel confident they are learning what they need to for each level. It does not include math, though, so we had math lessons which I had to find. I like to do this, though, so it was not a big deal. 2nd Semester, I discovered that Holt Mathematics for Middle School and Scott Foresman Mathematics, were great. Textbooks are shunned by a lot of homeschool moms, but this one loves them. My child loves them, too.
We “opened up” with out local traditional “Not Back to School Party.” This included about 50 people. It was small compared to 2013, which had at least 300 people. It was outdoors at a park. We had food and a curriculum and clothing swap. It was good to see our friends, the same friends we’d had before we moved. I think moving from one city to the next is harder on people when they do not homeschool. We did have to go to seeing our old neighbors less, which was tough, but at least our homeschool friends are still in the same county group get-togethers. It makes for a feeling of continuous belonging my kids would not have had were they in public school.
Heavenly Father gave me a good feeling about it, so we did one semester of once a week with a local Christian Homeschooling Co-op group. It was great for me and the kids and helped us get to know others, learn a variety of subjects in fun ways and learn a lot of wonderful things. At the semester’s end, I planned on the next semester, too. Over Christmas break, I felt Heavenly Father was trying to tell me not to be in it for the next semester. I prayed a lot about it. I felt like He did not want me to participate for the 2nd Semester. I felt bad to tell the leader that I had decided not to participate after January.
Back to August. I had a stressful conflict and medical issues with breastfeeding. My homeschooled kids got to stay with relatives and do homeschool there. I have a relative who homeschools, which was very nice at this stressful time. I cannot tell you how much I hate the system which pushes women away from breastfeeding. Although they thought it was too late to get him to like breastfeeding again, we are now breastfeeding most of the time and only using formula occasionally when I step out sometimes. Most of the time when I am gone for a long time, I pump milk while I am gone. Because of this stressful forced learning of pumping full time, I am quite good at pumping now, so that it is really not such a biggie to me. This is a blessing. I am glad my kids get to see me breastfeeding and pumping all day long, since they are not in school, so that they will know about it. This is extremely important real world knowledge all kids (boys and girls) should have.
We continued to try to sell our house. This was a stressful time for us. There was a lot going on. It was at this time that we were really close to being able to buy a new house and sell our old one. We still had to sell, though, so there were lots of showings. This meant that a huge part of our childrens’ learning was learning to pack up things we did not need at the time, clean and home stage the house for showings, with 20 minutes to 3 hours of notice each time. My kids got extra good at cleaning and home staging fast. They also got to learn from different professionals who help with the real estatebuy and sell process. My child said at one time that being a real estate appraiser when an adult would be great. They got to watch and ask questions of the electrician, the furnace installation professional, the real estate agents and more. All of this would have been impossible had my kids been in public school.
We sold our old house and we had our offer accepted on the new one. We closed on both and finished packing. We moved to our new house with all the help we could get from everyone, including the kids. We unpacked and set up the house. We met our new neighbors. Even these things, my kids learned a lot from. It is hard to tell people how much learning can take place when their kids are home instead of at school. People really cannot experience it without actually taking their kids out of school. I know a lot of people think summer is like this, but it is not the same as year-round.
Simultaneous to moving into our new house came the passing of my Uncle, whom I loved and the kids loved very much. We had been blessed in that, as a homeschool family, they had been home for each of his visits, and were here for his last visit to us. It was on a weekday during the day, so for sure, they’d have been at school, were they in public school. They got to say hi and goodbye to him more in their lives than they would have gotten to do had they been in school. This blessing is priceless! We were blessed to be able to experience our grief together instead of having to be separated by school. I was able to talk to my kids about heaven, forever families and the resurrection, during many hours of each day. My kids got to see other relatives come visit and got to hear them talk about our Uncle, during school hours.
I was in charge of much of his money and this involved learning to get along with relatives who were angry with me some of the time because of misunderstandings. I dealt with learning legal matters like a non-legal trust and what to do about that. I learned how to peacefully speak to people even when I felt passionate inside, so that there was not drama. This was a very difficult time for me, as I was forced do so many really hard things at once. Learning to calmly deal with stressful family affairs was good for my 7th grader to learn by watching me and listening to me. She got to see and hear more because she was home and not in school.
We went on LOTS of learning field trips as a family on my husband’s days off. I used to do field trips without him, but now I prefer his presence. He also prefers to be there when they have these exciting learning field trips. We went to almost everything on the SL Connect Pass. We had a TG Point Pass as well, adn used it a lot, too.
Quarter 2: Winter of 2014-15
During the winter, we continued to fix up, u-pack, de-junk and put the house together. I got to be a presenter at a homeschool conference at the local University. My child got to attend, too, and see and hang out with her friends.
I don’t know whether or not you know about this. In the homeschool world, there is really no Christmas break. There was one from the Co-Op. That was it. Other than that, there is none because year round, we just do formal-feeling school when we feel like it and rest when we feel like it. When we feel like being Christmassy, we do that. When we feel like some academics are in order, we do that. We do not care. We were feeling Christmassy by December 1st, so we started celebrating then. Then we did academics. Then we celebrated again. We were doing academics on Christmas eve, Chritmas and the day after because we did not need a break. My kids don’t get burnt out. They love to learn. Why stop them when they enjoy it?! We also had a homeschool Christmas Party.
Every month starting in January, we had a homeschool get-together for LDS Homeschool families at my house. We talked about an LDS Gospel topic and shared things about it with each other. We had snacks. The kids played with each other and the moms talked. It was priceless every time.
January came and there was no snow still. It was warm out, too, so we hoed and shoveled the weeds up many a day, during the day, while other kids were in school. The kids learned plenty about nature in our backyard. They also played a lot of catch and tag. They also rode their bikes. Some other homeschoolers came a lot and played in the backyard with my kids. They got to see lots of birds, because we have lots of them. We continued our SL Connect pass field trips and also using our TG Point Family Pass. Those were great in January, because it was like spring and fall combined this year.
We had a homeschool valentine party at a play park (because it was like springtime). I bought decorations and valentines for them to use. Some of my kids got to go. We had to have some stay home with me, sick. It was sad. Oh, well. My child did get to go! I am glad that a friend gave them a ride to and from the party. After the party, my friend and I had a good talk.
My child got to come with me to a preparedness conference and learned a lot. It was great to be there together. It was at the University locally, so she got to “get to know” the campus, which I think is good for kids.
Quarter 3: Spring of 2015
We continued in the spring to put our new house and yard together. It involved a lot of planting and lanscaping work. The kids learned a lot in helping with all this. We continued to work on L.I.F.E. School, math, monthly get-togethers and gardening. We worked on church items, as well. Then we had swimming lessons and then baseball. We had some great homeachooling get-togethers with the local homeschool community. The kids do get lots of chances to have fun and make friends.
My child got to got to a homeschool youth conference. They learned standards, cooperation, etiquette and got to have a dance with lots of kids. I am glad my child is old enough to attend homsechool youth events now. There are many of them available, planned by local homeschool moms, and they are great. We went to some homeschool mother and child retreats, too.
Quarter 4: Summer of 2015
During the summer, we have worked on putting together the house, preparing for emergencies and gardening. We have worked on math, spelling and reading. The kids have also learned lots in science and social studies, just by living life. We are nearly “finished” de-junking the house (for now) and we look forward to the eighth grade year.
Although this makes it seem like we did not do any academics and barely any socialing, real life is much better. My child got plenty of social time and has a lot of friends. Some are close friends. Others are kids she just knows as acquaintances. L.I.F.E. School teaches a whole lot. You can read about it in one of my other posts.