As someone who thrives off of structure, I knew I needed to have some sort of planner to get us through the homeschool day. When we did school at home remotely last Spring, we had a weekly schedule created by the teacher. This provided an easy way for us to stay on track as well as give my learning-to-study-independently child the ability to see what he needed to do and check it off when complete. I liked this.
The list means even on days when I’m not feeling great (and I know there’ll be plenty of days like that this year), we have a list to keep us motivated and on track. Since our goal is to reintegrate back into the typical school scenario next year, we need to keep up the pace.
Each child has their own weekly planner. There’s an attendance tracker (though I know not required for my kindergartener) as well as weekly planning pages with a checkbox for each subject. (I found the attendance tracker for free and just added it to my file for printing).
Originally, I had thought I would plan out a month ahead for each kid but as we’ve just made it through the first two weeks, I’ve adjusted this strategy. Now I mostly plan a week out. I have a high level idea of what we need to do to stay on track in my mind and as we approach each subject during the day I either stay on the suggested plan or if we do a little more or less then I just write down what we actually did in the planner and adjust the week accordingly. Not pictured below is the first page of the week which includes our weekly memory verse as well.
I designed the planner in PowerPoint and had it printed and bound at FedEx. I’ve been to Fedex quite a bit in the last month! There were a lot of free homeschool planners but I prefer my bare bones basic checklist.
Along with the weekly school planners, each kid has a daily checklist of personal care and household activities they need to complete each day. If it’s on the list than it’s expected that most of the items get done every single day. Again, just another tool for my organized self to keep us on track and hold everyone accountable. I found this free printable here and then had Fedex print and laminate.
I thought about this topic for days. How do I answer this question when I don’t feel like I’ve lost my personal identity? Motherhood has been such an unexpected joy in my life. So, I kept thinking about how to express my experience. How do I say something meaningful?
I’ve never felt lost but I wanted to explore a few reasons why maybe I never felt lost (always with the disclaimer that all people are different and what gives me balance may not give someone else balance). I did have the baby blues in a bad way after the birth of my first baby. This is going to sound incredibly shallow and lame but I remember I was so depressed that I didn’t even want to scroll Pinterest. See, Pinterest was still rather new at the time and I had previously been obsessed with pinning all the things so when I had zero interest I took note. I took note that I had lost interest in everything I once loved and that I was sinking. Don’t worry, one look at my Pinterest account and I’m sure you’ll see I eventually came out of that. That’s just postpartum and some have it way worse.
So here are some reasons why I don’t think I’ve ever felt lost (note: this list is not comprehensive but just a few highlights):
I have an equal parent partner (ie: my husband). This is perhaps the most important reason. He is a trustworthy, loving and caring parent. He likes to spend time with the kids. He cooks all of our meals. If I want to go do something alone, he keeps the kids. Easy as that. I could go on but having what you need in a partner is probably crucial to your mental/emotional wellbeing as a parent.
I still do what I want to do. In fact I might even do more because I don’t necessarily want to go places alone and it’s great to have little adventure buddies. I still find time to be creative and, again, my husband is incredibly supportive of this. Just browse my Instagram and you’ll see plenty of seemingly trivial styled photos I created.
I’ve created space and structure for me time – evenings. Of course, that is not perfect every night but usually I get a couple hours to unwind in whatever way I see fit whether it’s Netflix, reading, talking with the husband, collaging or whatever.
My personal identity has evolved and expanded. Motherhood is a refining fire when you learn to surrender yourself. I’ve always thought of it as a beautiful teeny, tiny picture of our human relationship with God. Surrender was a word that came to me when my second child was a baby. The word gave me peace in an otherwise negative time. Moms know, when it’s evening and you’re on the couch relaxing and the baby starts crying and you know it’s time to feed. It can be really frustrating but when I realized surrendering to the baby’s needs gave me not only a sense of duty but also relief. Relief from negative thoughts and feelings. I would also add some of those moments became some of the sweetest times with my girl. I wish I would have savored the time I had with my first the way I ended up doing with my second.
They say you have to lose yourself to find yourself. Well parenthood has given me ample opportunity to put someone else before myself. Ample opportunity to set aside my fear, my desire, my will, my pride, my happiness (but I’ll be the first to admit I save the best bites of dessert for myself). Being a parent reminds me that the world does not revolve around me. It’s not something I take lightly and it’s something I’ve deconstructed many times over the years to be able to say what is good and true and beautiful of the delicate and hard work that is marriage and motherhood.
Edited to add: I forgot a funny little story. When I first became a mom, I was embarrassed to walk outside pushing a stroller. I really can’t explain why. That’s just how I felt. And I definitely didn’t want to be one of those people that walked around with a baby carrier. Had to learn the hard way that baby carriers are HIGHLY useful. I literally crack myself thinking about that. Becoming a mom was hard. It did change my entire identity and all good change is difficult. But I didn’t feel like I lost myself – I just felt like I didn’t know who I had become and that took some time.
Perhaps the this first post should’ve been about why we decided to homeschool this year but that’ll have to come later. At the beginning of this year we knew we’d be be switching schools and I never felt right about any of our choices. I was plagued with indecision and worried that no school felt like the right school. Little did we know a mere 6 weeks after registering at a new school, the world would drastically change after being hit with the you-know-what.
When beginning to plan for homeschool, the best way that made sense to me was to use the curriculum used at our last school as the starting point. I could add and subtract from that while trusting that it would be the right challenge for my 3rd grader who had been thriving at school. The only piece of curriculum I changed for my 3rd grader was the writing and rhetoric course (sadly the online version of this course is for 4-5 grades) and science. My kindergartner has no school history so I changed up the phonics/reading program.
Our homeschool method will be part classical and part traditional. This is my first and last year of homeschooling so I think we’ll just have to see how things works out. I must say it has been quite exciting receiving all of the packages filled with curriculum books these past couple of weeks. Even though I thought I was ahead of the game when I ordered everything I needed the first week of August, turns out I may not have been as several items are on back order. As long as I get everything by the end of September, I figure I’m still on track.
The next phase has been reviewing the material and mapping out the plan. In my next post, I’ll share the weekly academic planner that I made and how I’m using that to map out our daily academic activities.
Grammar & Writing
Online course at Veritas Press
D’Nealian Handwriting Workbook level 4
Spell to Write and Read Wise Guide for Spelling Black Learning Log
Math in Focus Homeschool Package – 3 Math in Focus Manipulative Kit Calculadder Timed Math Drills
Online Self-paced course at Veritas Press: New Testament, Greece & Rome
Online Self-paced course at Veritas Press: Gospels
The Sassafras Science Adventures: Anatomy + SCIDAT Logbook
Rosetta Stone Unlimited – Latin
D’Nealian Handwriting Workbook level 4
Spell to Write and Read Wise Guide for Spelling
Math in Focus Homeschool Package – K Math in Focus Manipulative Kit Calculadder Timed Math Drills