According to the state we just completed our first official year of homeschooling. We have actually been learning at home since we removed Alex from preschool and made the decision to homeschool. (You can see why we decided to homeschool here). We have made so many changes in our homeschooling style since we first began . This last year has been the most amazing yet! Our first official year of homeschooling has been an amazing, scary, and exciting year. I have truly loved every minute of it.
We started our homeschool year with a very detailed curriculum. I had all of the topics that we would be learning plotted. I based what we would learn on the book What your Kindergartener Needs To Know and the Florida Sunshine State Standards. I wanted to make sure that Alex was on par with the children his age. (Just typing that sentence now makes me cringe). I bought a Math curriculum, phonics program, books, so many books to go along with our scheduled learning topics. I went as far as creating a detailed homeschool schedule daily schedule, complete with snack & recess, and hung it on our refrigerator. I was creating ‘school at home’.
The detailed schedule didn’t even last a week. The curriculum went out the window before the holiday season even started. I began to read more about unschooling and I fell in love with it. Last spring, I deschooled myself. The kids and I took a break from structured learning. We quit working on phonics worksheets and tucked our Math workbooks neatly on the bookshelf. We exhaled and had a blast as a family. We completed so many lapbooks and went on tons of field trips.
The Math book began to collect dust and I began to second guess my ability to be a full-fledged unschooler. I wanted Alex to be making steps toward reading and I felt that he needed to be working on his Math skills. I suppose deschooling didn’t totally work for me. I came to recognize that I needed some type of structure in our homeschool. I felt guilty. I felt like a unschool dropout. But then I realized that I do not need, and honestly do now want, to fit into a certain type of homeschool style box. That is the beauty of homeschooling, finding what works for your family and running with it!
I began to slowly re-introduce phonics using Explode The Code. Ava even started Getting Ready For The Code. Alex began doing one Math lesson a week. We still continued our field trip Fridays and lapbooking. We were finding our new homeschooling groove.
I really feel that in our hearts we are unschoolers. We do not use the word school and we do not have a learning schedule but I do have an idea of some of the topics we will be learning about throughout the year. I will never again look at the Sunshine State Standards or feel the need for my children to be ‘on par’ with anyone. My confidence has certainly grown in the last year as a homeschooling mama. The kids play a big part in what we learn. I embrace interest led learning. When one of the kids expresses an interest in a topic we learn everything that we can about that topic. I feel that this keeps their thirst for knowledge and love of learning alive.
We began to comfortably settle in as very relaxed eclectic homeschoolers. For now that is what I am calling our homeschool style when people ask….and they do ask.
Our first official year of homeschooling is complete. It was a success! We made a ton of new homeschooling friends and we survived our first homeschool evaluation wonderfully (thank you Carrie!).
We are now beginning our second official year. Alex is beginning first grade. Ava is working on her pre-kindegarten/kindegarten skills and Audrey loves art and singing her ABC’s.
I realize that our homeschool journey will continue to be an evolution. I also realize that our homeshcool style can change at any given time. That is a wonderful thing. That is the beauty of homeschooling.
My family is growning together. My family is learning together. That is awesome…..simply awesome.
I love homeschooling.
To read about our homeschooling adventures please click here.