Saturday, September 05, 2009

Homeschool Dynamics

The kids were begging me to start school. I was dragging my feet. It isn't that I don't enjoy homeschooling the kids, but this time year is so crazy. Tim is working 60 hour weeks. The garden is producing and that produce needs preserving, and this year I am also working. I just wasn't ready to add something else to the schedule. Oh and there was one other thing that concerned me; Nolan would be starting school.

Without officially being in school, Nolan has already picked up a lot. This year though it is time to be a little more structured with him. It is time to start reading. Learning that skill is intense, at least on my end. We use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. The lessons are short and relaxed, really. The intensity comes from the one on one time it requires of me. I know it really isn't that long, and I probably sound like a whiner. But I so enjoy when they are able to read and I can set them loose on a assignment.

The other concern with Nolan is he is very strong willed. We've learned to deal with that, in most cases. In fact I almost can't believe that I wrote that post about him most days. He really has become so much easier to parent in the last few years. Or maybe it just seems that way because his younger sister now is the strong will that challenges me.

Regardless of how I felt about starting school, the kids started anyway. No really, they got out their books, and only dragged me into it when they got stuck on a problem. Kellen even did Nolan's lessons with him.

Since first few days we have gotten into a better routine, and I have become a more active participant. The older kids have fallen right into the routine. Nolan is picking up his lessons easily. He really hasn't fought me on them, but there definitely has been an increase in his drama in other areas. He also has shown me a side of himself I had seen before. He has some perfectionists tendencies that I never noticed until now. It is hard for him to not make his letters perfectly. He spent a long time writing and erasing his first writing lesson. I am hoping the drama subsides after our routine becomes more normal for him. But I have this deep lurking feeling that there are many battles to come.

Then Vivian, of course, has demanded her one on one time too. She wants me to help her color and play games with her in quantities never seen before. She is learning (albeit slowly) to wait her turn, and that she can't interrupt when I am helping someone else. I have really enjoyed the one on one time with her too.

There was one thing that has surfaced with school this year that I never saw coming; anxiety. No, not from the kids, from me. It really has hit me hard this year how old Kellen is. He is in the sixth grade. This means a few quick years of middle school, then high school, and then he is gone. Though I am in no hurry to see him go, what has caused the anxiety is the educational ramifications of his age. Kellen checking out admissions requirements to various military academies was the start of my anxiousness.

We have a laid back school style. We use a lot of unit studies, and focus mainly on language arts and math. I am a firm believer that if those basics are solid in elementary, other subjects will come along easily. Kellen and Lydia's standardized tests scores show they have not been missing out in other areas.

Looking at those admissions requirements made me realize that Kellen will soon need more structured, not to mention advanced, learning. I also will have to do better record keeping to create a transcript for him. That means change, and with change usually comes stress.

I'm not in full blown panic attack about this, yet. I have a few years until we really need to make changes. It is more of this low undercurrent of anxiety that I don't exactly know how to change, and how to prepare Kellen for college. I don't know what those years should or will look like. Kellen is an incredibly talented child, and I want him to reach his full potential. Nothing like putting on a little pressure?

I guess I am thankful that this tiny bit of anxiety has hit me now. It gives me time to plan, and time to change. Time to adjust to the dynamics that are happening right now. Homeschooling, it is always an adventure.


  1. I'm with you on this one. My daughter is 13 and will be a freshman next year. My time requirements are increasing and, although I'm usually very laid back about what everyone else is doing, I find some anxieties creeping in.

  2. I posted the same about my sixth grade son a while back...seems this is a common point in time for anxiety among homeschool moms!

    I spent some time researching and trying to get a rough idea of what direction we are going in, and now I feel a lot better.

    I talked to my son about his interests and thought about his strengths. We will be focusing on math and science for him...I think that's the direction he is going, and I want to make sure he has a strong base in these areas. I've got curriculum ideas, and even a college plan - all very vague, but it made me feel more prepared.

    There is a very interesting looking Christian book about planning for your future, and finding and developing your gifts.I plan to get this when Jeremy is a bit older.

    Life Purpose Planning Workbook

  3. Good luck. We're also getting off to a slow start. It has been a crazy couple of weeks.

  4. glad to hear I'm not the only that has anxiety about children who are getting older. Thanks for the suggestions Alexandra.

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    Dan Hite
    TedCo Software