Homeschooling: Break? Year Round? First Day of Homeschool? Q & A

I did not want you to be left confused. I feel like explaining things that are difficult for some people to understand. I decided to do this in the form of a Q &A, but ask and answer the question myself. The questions people have asked of me.

Q: Do you take a summer break, or do you homeschool year-round?

A: Niether and Both. We do relaxed homeschooling and tidal wave homeschooling, a form of education which means that we are like the tide coming in and going out.

We try to do as best we can to get to where I consider to be “at grade level” in each subject for each child. We do not ever stop working on this, but we are also not always concernd about this.

We have ebbs and flows. Sometimes, with much effort, we learn a whole bunch and progress a lot in a period of time (this sometimes looks like an accelerated school for the gifted or early college, and sometimes looks like a 1900 one-room schoolhouse). At other times, we are more like unschoolers. Sometimes, we have a day that looks like montessori school. Sometimes, we have a field trip day. When people visit or we visit others, we have a day completely dedicated to only socializing. When we visited Grandma Preece or when Uncle Steven came over, we dropped all of our concerns and cares, and just visited. The kids learn plenty by visiting and socializing with others.

Q: Homeschoolers do not have to start school when the public schools begin. Isn’t that right?

A: This has a long answer, too. We do not have to, but because of classes we signed up for, we do.

We enroll in some classes not led by me but by teachers my husband and I chose or hired. One of these is free and it is The Church Seminary Program. (Oh, did you catch that? I almost used the acronym). Early Morning Seminary this year begins the same day public school begins in my area. This means that although we do not really care when homeschool begins or ends, I can choose a day when I can say something officially begins. It is the day Seminary begins.

The hired teachers and has also chosen certain dates to begin their classes, vacation days and end dates. Likewise, many homeschool parents join “co-ops,” which are groups of homeschoolers who get together and do learning together. These co-ops have a set schedule. A co-op has a start date, vacation dates and end dates, too.

I would not want to have the first day of homeschool for the kids which have teachers who’ve given them start-dates, and not have this for the younger 4. After all, the younger 4 are so looking forward to “doing homeschool” officially again. Their siblings are officially starting and so are their neighborhood friends and cousins.

This would be when I to the part called “get the kids ready for the first day of school (by clothes shopping at the back to school clothing sales) as a mom” and the part where I do “put in full-time hours of preparation of the homeschool room, planning and getting ready for homeschool to officially begin on August 27, like a paid public school teacher,” at the same time. (The second part includes getting in on back to school curriculum and supplies sales).

Speed Tour of my Recently Cleaned and Re-Organized Homeschool Room

Of course, many teacher moms do this. They get their own gets ready and sent off, and they also go to the school all day for a couple weeks to get their public school classroom ready.

This “Photographer Mom” is prepared to do “First Day of Homeschool 2018” photos next week!

It’s just a little different. I do not get paid and I do not have to get someone to tend the kids while I go off to work. They are here and I am here, which means I do the prep work and they wish I wouldn’t because it means I am not giving them the attention they would like. It is hard on the kids here, as they are eager to “officially start school” again, and frustrated that their mom is working on prepping and pretty much just letting them “fend for themselves” (except the littlest, who at least gets fed by mom and gets a lot of attention because he demands it).

I hope this helps everyone to understand my world so that they are not confused. There are so many different ways to homeschool. Sometimes, there are jokes or memes on the internet that give one impression, and the people who do not know that all homeschools are different get so upset when things are not the way a youtube video says they are.

This one is a funny one by “It’s a Southern Thing.”

Tell me, are the others exaggerated? Yeah. So do you think the homeschool mom one is? Think about it. I am a homeschool mom and I still laughed at it. I was not upset by the inaccuracy. I know it’s all exaggerated and it is a joke. It’s very funny. If you like it, subscribe, because all of their videos are just as humorous!

For the record, homeschool moms and kids do get dressed in day clothing because they are very busy. We get dressed for the same reasons that you get dressed during the summer. Also, homeschool moms usually put together or join in on a “Not Back to School” park day or party on the first day of local public school. We all know when school starts, including those who do unschooling! We all look forward to getting the museums and parks back to uncrowded. We love it when school starts and are very aware!

I am most like the photographer mom, by the way. I am very sentimental, an artist and a graphic designer, after all! So, yeah, homeschool moms are all different, too, and we have personalities that are all different from the personalities of other homeschool moms. We love our variety and differences!

Homeschooling with Uncle Steven Lessons

I just read an article about things that will ruin your homeschooling day and year. A lot of these rules are o.k., but number 6 really bothers me. Number 6 rule says to not to allow for interruptions, such as visits from people. She said she only allows phone calls from her husband, during the homeschool day.

If I had told my Uncle Steven that we could not be disturbed during certain hours of the day, my kids would not know him. He passed away this year in the end of September.

Whenever he came, all my kids gathered around to listen to his stories. He always wondered why we were not “doing school” or outside playing. He did not know that my kids and I adored him and that they would come in from outside just to visit with him.

He did not know how much we loved him. He did not know that I felt like they could learn more about life, and more wisdom, from listening to him than from any “academic” lessons out there. He did not know how wise I thought he was, or how I wanted so badly for my kids to learn everything they could from him.

My point is, do allow for “interruptions” in your “homeschool day.” Let all of life interrupt your academic and book studies. Everyday life is far more important than formal academic studies. Perhaps you think that later, when they are 18, that is the time that they are less busy learning important academics and time for them to face “the real world.”

At age 18, kids graduate from High School and many go on to technical colleges, community colleges, Colleges, Universities, or jobs. Active young men in the LDS church will go on missions. At age 18, they will leave home or be away from home most of the time.

If things are the way they were for me, perhaps Grandma will have dimentia when they get back. That grandma time will not be over, but very changed and very hard on the heart.

If I had waited for my kids to feel the real world, and had told Steven he had to leave and come back after we were done with our homeschool day, they would not have had the chance to know him at all. Steven did not have until they are finished with High School or a mission. He passed away while most are elementary school aged and one is 12.

Most of the very most valuable and important lessons in life will go away and be gone by the time a child becomes an adult. At 18, is there more time for such important family life learning? No, there is not more time. In fact, there is less time. When in the mission field or away at school or in a full time job, an adult does not have time to sit and listen to his or her great Uncle tell stories. There is too much to be done.

When that person is steady dating, becomes enganged, gets married and has kids, there is not more time to sit and listen. In short, if I had not decided on purpose, to make listening to and visiting with Steven, a priority, even with 6 kids to take care of, homeschooling to be done and housework to be done, I would have let that time with Steven be lost. I could not have made it wait until my kids were married and gone.

I have something important to say here. Life will not wait until you are ready for it. It must be lived now. Long visits with loved ones cannot wait. They must happen now. Time given to our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our friends and neighbors, must be given now. Time for people cannot wait until later. People are the important part of life. Academic studies are not.

This is big. This is true. This is real.

Our Summer Routine

20140626-135121-49881850.jpg

This is our summer poster chart, which we use as our routine. The rounded squares are pointed out whenever the kids ask for a privilege. The rectangle ones ar pointed out when the kids have done the rounded square items before that rectangle, to remind them what privileges they have earned.
The rectangles are not required. They are optional. Sometimes my kids just do their rounded square items, and go for a privilege in the bottom right rectangle. Lately, they have been earning free time and more open privileges, early in the day, or at least by 2 p.m.

Some days, like today, the kids do not ask for privileges, so they just play and mess up the house all day. Days like this usually get on my nerves, especially if the house is so messy that we cannot find a clean dish to use or a clean spot on the counter on which to prepare a meal. Today, I am too sleepy and worried about increasing my baby’s weight, to be able to throw any mental, emotional or physical energy at the housekeeping issues.

I am grateful for weekends when we are free to clean, which, of late, are few and far between. I am glad that my husband gets them to work when he is here. I am glad that my husband and I can get lots done on weekends.
This chart is working quite well. I do not know why, but it is.

End of the Summer Observations of a Homeschooling Mom

I am expecting a baby in January and my mother-in-law came over and gave my husband a big lecture about how impossible it will be to homeschool when there is a new baby, and can’t we at least send our 4 year old to preschool and our older two to school so that I only have to homeschool one child; And do we realize that we cannot start at 10:30–We have to start at 8:30, and that we have to do it 180 days? I am not having doubts. I’m just feeling frustrated that after nearly 2 years of homeschooling, there are still the lectures. Is there a cure for the after-effects of such lecturing? I need one.

I found these articles online:

http://www.lovetolearn.net/most-important-homeschool-lesson

http://www.mormonmommyblogs.com/2010/11/baby-is-lesson.html

They were very helpful. Also, I have read much about unschooling and, although I do not always use that, there are days when I think that, due to a pregnancy & morning sickness, today is unschooling. I am always surprised how much they do and learn on those days.

I had planned to school year round, but before this summer, my plan was not to unschool all summer. But so it has gone. I have unschooled all summer, and to my happy surprise, they have learned a ton this way. My kids recently became really into the game on the computer, “Times Attack,” by BigBrainz. It’s great because I knew my son really needs to learn to multiply. I did not even suggest it to him. In the middle of the school year, I remember him saying he was sick of multiplication, and wanted to do other math. I taught him probability by playing a fun game, which the kids then wanted to play at every second for a while.

¬†Just today, I was thinking about my mother-in-law’s opinion, and about the baby coming. The articles helped, but I also realized that, just like the unschooling philosophy says, life IS the lesson. When I have morning sickness, that is life. Keeping care of mom and helping her feel better is sometimes the lesson. Housework is sometimes the lesson. Making sure mom does not forget to eat and learning childcare are sometimes the lesson. Making your own meals and entertaining yourselves is sometimes the lesson.

It’s crazy how great it is just to know the unschooling philosophy, so that when my mother in law, or anyone else, reminds me about how “you have to do it 180 days- It’s the LAW!” I can remember how 365 days a year, my kids are constantly learning, so it is laughable to think that for the majority of the world, thinking that learning 180 days is all that kids need, is normal and acceptable. For me, it’s 365 days a year. They are always learning. It is not always formal, and is never “like public school,” as they’d wish it to be, but for me, it is just great.

Over the summer, I have seen many children, families and women who do public school during the school year, and I have noticed things which have reminded me why I like my decision to home educate the way I do. Here are some of my mental notes for you. These are just things I have noticed from the SUMMER months!

“I can’t believe (that child) is (that old) and mom is still doing that for (the child)! i am glad my children, by that age and much younger, learn to do that for themselves.”

“These public-schooled kids are so pressured all the time! It is unhealthy and insane that the world treats kids this way!”

“Those kids have to be entertained. Those poor moms think it is their job to entertain the kids, and those kids think it is mom’s job to entertain them. How crazy is that? My kids entertain themselves. That is not my job!”

“I cannot believe how many moms don’t look for a solution to a problem with a child, or do not address a child’s needs, because, oh, well, thank goodness, he/she is only here a few months, and school starts again soon, and then he/ she will be back in school. Does she honestly think that is O.K.? Is that not just a way to ignore her child and said child’s needs or problem, because in the school year, mom won’t have to “deal with it” anymore? That is horrible. So many moms feel that way. They just don’t care to deal with it, and are just glad they won’t have to anymore, once the school year starts. That is so sad for the child and for their relationship. Child needs mom. Why has she abandoned the child in this way? The child will still have the same needs and hurts when school starts. Mom will just not have to “see” the needs anymore, and, therefore, will be in the ignorant bliss in which she likes to be. How sad! That child is crying out for help. Why is she not desiring to help?”

¬†“I cannot believe how, during the summer, these moms think they have to soak up their child and enjoy it all really fast by going on trips and to events constantly, because they know that once the public school year starts, their child will no longer be with them. They have to “speed date” their child, almost, during the summer. How sad. They could keep the child year round, and enjoy the child slowly, day by day, all year round! If only they knew that!”

In conclusion, I’d like to say that I don’t think these things just to judge others, but to confirm MY reasons for home educating my kids, in my mind. I need this, because the barrage of insults, lectures and observations about what I do WILL come and will always be coming, from relatives and many others, and I need these observations to help me to stay strong in my decision to home educate my kids.

It is like the tree that became stronger because it constantly fought the wind. I have to constantly strengthen myself mentally & emotionally in these ways, in order to stay strong in my decision, despite extreme opposition from other people around me.