It’s been quiet around here, but not because I don’t have anything to say. It turns out that having four children is a lot of work; more so when you are a crazy lady and think “Homeschooling! That sounds fun and easy!”
Wait right here baby, I need to help figure out this math problem.
The fact that we are “doing school” right now at all seems crazy on the surface – Penny just turned a month old, Tom is back at work, our district doesn’t start for another couple weeks – but it’s honestly part of what is saving us on these long days. I’ve discovered over the last few kids that a sense of accomplishment – like I am a productive adult – is closely tied to my sense of self worth. So, everyday we have a plan, a set of goals, and if we manage to get half of our checklist finished I walk around feeling like supermom. Sure, I could direct that energy towards housework, but that isn’t nearly as much fun.
As far as the particulars of this year, our plan is to focus on Ella’s work Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and Alice’s work Tuesday/Thursday, while Ella is at our wonderful homeschool center. If we work straight through, we have about 2 hours a day scheduled, though with snacks and diapers and nursing and play, we rarely *sit* for long. We are going eclectic again this year, pulling from all types of learning philosophies and curriculums. Alice’s work is literature based (Five in a Row, and similar), while Ella’s work is all over the board. I’m expanding her subjects this year (last year was primarily just reading and math, this year we’re throwing in geography, history, languages and music), and I am loving that as long as the directions are clearly written, she can manage most of her work on her own. I don’t believe in pushing kids to read before they are ready, but I also am realllllly grateful she taught herself so early, since it simplifies our days when I do not need to stand over her and read every set of directions multiple times.
The homeschool center starts classes after Labor Day, and Ella already has her backpack ready (and was thrilled when one of her teachers saw us across a parking lot recently and came running over to say hi). As much as I love homeschooling, I know I would struggle if we didn’t have this kind of support and outlet, and my little social butterfly would as well. Technically I could send Alice this year as well (she is not 5 until December, but could test in easily) but neither she or I are ready for that. She needs the year to be *four*, and I need the year to relax into having *four* children. I am intimidated thinking about what our days will look like in 5 years, when all four are actively “in school”, but right now we are just taking it one checkmark on the list at a time.