Saturday, January 14, 2012

Homeschooling on the Homestead

This has been our first full year of homeschooling since we moved to the farm. It's had it's ups and downs, however I believe in the end we will have had a successful year.

One of the things I really struggled with was turning down many opportunities. I want my kids to be involved in all those neat homeschool activities. There's speech and debate, homeschool sewing, basketball, volleyball, co-op, Broadway Academy, Classical Conversations, and many more wonderful programs. If we had still been living in town I'm sure we would have been part of many of those things. However, living on a small farm means we're 20 minutes each way from town and we have animals that need cared for. My children and I had to make some tough choices. I decided we would have one day a week for activities. It worked out that our co-op is on Wednesdays so that's our day "out". We fill that day full!! We have co-op every other Wednesday, followed by violin and piano lessons, a quick dinner that we pack, and then Awana. Our 4-H group begins meeting in February and it will be on the opposite Wednesday as our co-op. This does make Wednesday a marathon day but it is working well right now.

Another thing that had to change this year was my philosophy for our homeschool. There are days when things happen on the farm that take up much more time than anticipated. My plan for those days is if the kids aren't needed ( most of the time they are!) they just do reading, handwriting, and math. I've always liked the Charlotte Mason homeschool philosophy and moving has pushed us into it! I love that the lessons are quick ( but thorough) and they are meaty!

This year we are also only doing science every other week. I'm teaching a Story of the World class at co-op so history is done that week. This has seriously set me free! I always felt so much pressure to work through every single subject each day. We are loving this! Another big change was adding narrations back into our homeschool. My son always did narrations but my daughter struggled with them. I only require a couple sentences but she draws a scene from her book.

We now start our school day by 10 am. I always wanted to have it started by 9 at the latest but it just wasn't happening and then I'd feel like we were behind! The kids wake up by 7:30 or 8:00 and I start my coffee and head to the barn. We finish up chores by 9:00 and then I start breakfast. School work is out around 10:00. This has truly been one of the best things for our homeschool. Our school day lasts for two or three hours. My oldest takes longer but he's in 8th grade.

Once our main work is over the kids fill their day with reading, playing outside, checking for eggs, practicing music, knitting, or playing on Webkinz. Most of our days run smoothly and are enjoyable. There are those days when the kids wake up fighting, the chores take three times as long, breakfast doesn't happen, and nobody can find their school books. I'll be honest we have those days at least twice a month!

Homeschooling and homesteading can go hand in hand. It takes trial and error and faith. It's totally worth it. I cannot begin to list the blessings of having my children live and learn with me. Yes, it's hard, some days very very hard and I want to throw in the towel. Our farmhouse will never look like those beautiful clean homes that I long for on the blogs. My yard is filled with toys, children, and chickens! However, our hearts are full of happiness and love!

linking up with Homestead Revival


Tasha said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. We are a homeschooling family with 4 kids, although our oldest is only 7. We are planning to buy a few acres sometime in 2012 and begin our homesteading adventure. I'm excited to keep up with your family, and hopefully learn a few things!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are doing a FABULOUS job!