Sunday, June 13, 2010

Homeschool 2010-2011- My thoughts

Yes, Summer is here but my mind is already preparing for the new School year! I will have a 2nd Grader, Kindergartner and a Pre-Schooler. The Homeschool Convention/Book Fair will nail down my curriculum choices for the year in a few short weeks. I hope! Alpha Omega Horizon's was a HUGE success for Josiah's 1st grade year. I am positive we are using Horizon's Math for him again and probably for Ava Beth's Kindergarten. I am also leaning on using Horizon's again for Spelling and Vocabulary (my favorite subject) because Josiah's vocabulary grew like a weed this past year.

Now that I have had time to reflect on the School year and reflect on why some days were hard, I see how last year was truly great! There were days I wanted to blame curriculum but it was usually just one of us having a bad attitude. Sin nature creeps in at the School table often and I am still learning how to combat those moments. The enemy plots to attack our time of learning and tries to put doubt and fear in teacher and student.  But we have so many days of incredible moments with God through our learning that those difficult days just remind me of the magnitude of what we are doing. The greater the magnitude, the greater the blessing. Homeschool has blessings ALL OVER IT.  It is jam packed full of moments with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our center and when He is your center, you can't help but to be blessed.  Those days when I feel inadequate to teach, He leads the way. Because I am doing something HE called me to do, I can't help but to be blessed and experience victory. After two years of Homeschool, I am finally able to not "freak out" on those bad days. They suck. Yes! But I know that nothing outweighs what I am doing with my children each and every day.  I truly believe two years of Homeschooling is a magic number. By no means do I have it all figured out but two years under my belt has given me confidence on those days when everything seems out of order.  I am counting on that confidence to show up when I have a newborn right after the School year has started.  Adding a newborn and a tired Mama to the mix will bring some interesting days.  The adjustment will be hard but we will find our way. I am confident.

As I get ready to attend the conference/book fair, I am praying for my curriculum choices.  I know my kids better than anyone and I know myself and my style of teaching.  It's great to get recommendations from other Homeschooling friends and find out what the masses are doing but at the end of the day, I need to choose what works for us.  I made that decision with Josiah's Math about a month ago. I was dead set on switching but the more I looked at curriculum's, the more I realized that switching him would not be good. His math skills are at a higher level (not because of ME) and I don't need to take him backwards.  As much as I wanted to be doing what others were doing, I realized I needed to make this about Josiah.  But there are some areas I am not sure about.  Thankfully I have my Homeschool friend, Kim in VA, who went to conference this past weekend in her state and I've asked her to give me a list of what to look at and consider. I connect with her style and personality and our sons seem to be very similar and they are both going to be in 2nd grade so it makes sense for me to lean on her for wisdom.  I also know that her and I both feel extremely overwhelmed at Ikea and the Homeschool Book Fair has the potential of making me feel the same way. Sensory overload!  She will be a great resource and coach for me.

Even though the past two years has given me confidence in the day to day of Homeschooling, I still get overwhelmed trying to figure everything out. What to buy, what to plan, what to teach! I know people who will be starting Homeschool for the first time this coming year and they are feeling the uneasiness of it too.  It can be overwhelming and when you read blogs and listen to other Homeschoolers, you can feel totally overwhelmed and unqualified.  But, you can't listen to those feelings! None of us have it figured out and you just have to pray, pray, pray about your choices and choosing what is best for your child.  This will be my first year to have a mixture of curriculum.  There was no way I could have done that for Kindergarten. I had to choose one company and go with it.  And there is NOTHING wrong with that!!! I did not want to know what else was out there because I felt too overwhelmed.  Now I have learned a few things and realize there are some things I don't like in certain curriculum or something I want to try different. I am not afraid to have a mixture.  If this will be your first year Homeschooling, don't be afraid to do what YOU are comfortable with. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing.  The quicker you are true to you and your child, the quicker you will connect and settle in as a Homeschooling Mama.

Leading up to Josiah's kindergarten year, our first Homeschool year, I had so many questions and worries.  I will never forget the very first day of Kindergarten when I looked up at the clock in our "decked out" School room (I obsessed over having a "School Room" and now we do school at the kitchen table) and it said 11am.  WHAT?! We finished everything! How are we done? What should I do now? All those public school kids are in school til 3pm and we are done! Scariest Homeschooling moment of my life!  NOW I know that it is a GIFT to be done with curriculum at 11am! I embrace it!  And now I understand that Homeschool is 24/7. It's our life and we live in a learning environment all day long.

It really is a gift. Not only to your children but to you. In ways you cannot imagine!  I have rid myself of more SELF since becoming a Whole Hearted Mother and Homeschooler that it's hard for me to think back to how I was before. Constantly wanting a "Date Night", feeling like I need to get away from the kids for "me time" and constantly looking for something that would fulfill ME.  Thank you Lord for changing me and constantly redefining who I am as a woman of God!  I have found myself through Homeschooling and committing my life to my husband and babies.  I don't need to "Lead Worship" or lead a Bible Study to feel worthy.  I really can find fulfillment and joy in being a MOM. Of course I need breaks and time to be refreshed but the breaks are not out of me being selfish.

If you are beginning Homeschool next year, whether it's Pre-K or Kindergarten or another grade, don't allow your thoughts to overwhelm you.  The enemy would love to talk you out of it before you have even started.  Be confident that what God has called you to do, He will complete it.  When you are in the center of His will, BLESSING reigns! What you are about to do is the most important thing you could ever do with your life.  Expect an AMAZING year and expect to see your child's confidence soar.  Expect your relationship with your husband and your children to grow and be changed in incredible ways.  You WILL be blessed for doing this!

Your greatest challenge will be YOU, not your children. You will wonder if you are doing enough? You will wonder if your child is getting everything he or she needs. You will doubt yourself. A lot. But listen! WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS MORE THAN ENOUGH and it is MORE than what the majority of other children are getting.  The more children are with their parents, the more confident they will be.  They will grow up to be secure and confident adults. You are providing for them now, things that some children grow up searching for through adulthood. I can say that because I was one of those children searching for contentment. You are doing enough! Even on the days when someone is sick or school does not get done, you are doing MORE than enough.

I felt so alone in the first year and really had no one so if you need encouragement, please let me give it to you!  The Lord has really been showing me how much first time Homeschoolers need LIFE and JOY spoken into them and I want Him to use me to do that! So please email me or comment and let me know how I can pray for you and encourage you.  The blogging world has surprisingly been the most encouraging and loving place for me as a Mother.

I love what Philippians has to say about God beginning and completing a work in us.  Be encouraged!

Philippians 1:3-6
3-6Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

(If you are Homeschooling for the very first time or not, I highly recommend the following two books that have given me so much encouragement and affirmation. These books have reminded me of the high calling we have on our lives as Mothers and Homeschooling Mothers. They will bless you so order on Amazon and read before the School year starts! They are life changing!)

The Spiritual Power Of A Mother by Michael P. Farris

The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson


Wendy said...

It has been awesome to see how the Lord has worked in your life over the past few years!

I loved reading this!

I'm headed to our conference this weekend, and I am really excited to check out a few new things that I am considering. I totally agree, you have to find what works for you and your child.

PS - We're the same way. The kitchen table (or outside, or wherever we happen to be at times) is our school room. :)

Paula said...

Amanda~I am SO excited yet SO SUPER nervous!! I am going with my SIL next Friday to my FIRST HS fair........aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!! I am praying I can know what will serve Colton the best. It is all coming too and the babies!! Thank you for being an encouragement!! I will NEED IT!!!!

Christy said...

I am going in just a few weeks to look at material for 3 yr and 4 yr Pre K. I am totally freaked out nervous! I KNOW this is what God is calling me to do and I have confirmation but you read my heart - "I" am worried about "ME" being able to do it AND if I will give him all he needs? Thank you so much for this post today. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I live IN Jesus said...

I am SO happy to see that your blog is not private anymore--for selfish reasons . . . I missed reading your entries and watching as the Lord worked in your heart and your life. It is AWESOME to be a witness to it! I have thought that your blog was private for the last 5 mos.? And for some reason decided to type in your address and there you were AND I could read you! I have continued to pray for you and your sweet family over the last 5 mos. but have often wondered about you as well!!! So good to "see" you again. God bless you and yours
Sarah Tidmore
P.S. CONGRATULATIONS on your new addition!!! :)

Stacey said...

I agree with Wendy, it has been a blessing to be on this road with you and watch the Lord work in you over the past several years!

We LOVED our curriculum that we ended with, and are already signed up to use it again, so it should all arrive mid-July! Can't wait!

For now, I am just trying to read some of those books, put together a list of fiction books we want to read this year and cover our upcoming year in prayer.