We loved Chickie's kindergarten year! Her teacher was wonderful. The curriculum at her school was great. I felt safe sending her there, and really enjoyed the experience of my daughter being a student at our local public school.
So it may come as a surprise that this year, as Chickie enters first grade, we've decided to homeschool.
I thought I'd never be a homeschooling mom. I know others who homeschool, and I've told them, "It's just not for me. I'm not organized enough. God would have to make it really clear to me that he wanted me to homeschool."
Well, God didn't write any instructions across the sky for me. (I wish he would do that; it would be so much easier for me to to make decisions!) But one big thing changed--I realized I wanted to homeschool. And when I want to do something, I can be organized and creative because I have the motivation and energy I need! God didn't turn into a divine skywriter, but I do think the desire to do this came from Him.
Parents have so many different reasons for choosing homeschooling. For us, the bottom line is pretty simple:
I want more time with Chickie. And she wants more time with me.
I want more time with her so I can be the primary influence in her life. I want to encourage her to develop spiritually, to grow as a person, and to make good choices. This year, it was going to be hard for me to say goodbye to her for seven hours a day. And it turns out she wants to be with me during that time too.
There are lots of secondary reasons we're homeschooling too. We think it will be fun. Through my best friend Ann, who's also a homeschooler, we've connected with a local group that does weekly activities or field trips. That will be a great way for my kids to have social experiences with other kids. Ann's son Coqui is Chickie's age, so we're planning to do some of our academic and creative activities together, which should benefit all of us. I'm already enjoying using my own creativity as I think of fun ways to help Chickie learn what she needs to learn.
We're also really looking forward to the scheduling flexibility that's possible with homeschooling. If we want to visit my parents in the middle of the school year, and drive to Disneyland, we can! We can do school on the road. Most days, Chickie's "school day" will be shorter than it was last year, and she's thrilled about that!
Zoodle is also excited. He'll be doing some Pre-K homeschooling, but I plan to be pretty casual with it. He's only four, so we'll let his interests and motivation be our guide.
Because I was happy with the public school curriculum, I'm using the state educational guidelines to help me as I plan our own curriculum. I bought workbooks that will give the kids lots of age-appropriate work, and we'll do plenty of our own projects and activities too. We'll add in topics that are of special interest to me or the kids. They'll learn about our Christian faith. We may spend weeks focused on subjects like spiders or the human body. My goal is to make sure they're learning what they should learn at this age, plus learning about things that are important to them and to me and The Engineer.
Monday will be our first day. I'm really excited to start! I'll take pictures as we go, and blog about how it goes.
I don't know how long we'll homeschool. We'll take it year by year and see how it's going. But I'm entering this first year expecting it to go well, and expecting to have a lot of really wonderful experiences with my really wonderful kids!