If you’ve been following my blog throughout the pandemic, you know that education has been on the forefront of my mind. I’ve spent months reading books about homeschooling. I asked homeschool friends for their opinions and recommendations. I’ve watched YouTube videos to look inside curriculum. I was contemplating homeschooling for the 2020-2021 school year and I wanted to be prepared. Jeremy and I agreed that we wouldn’t make a decision until we heard the final plan from our school district. Patience isn’t easy for me and it was a long wait before we heard from the school district on what the official plan for the school year would be.
The fateful day arrived the day before our Yellowstone vacation. We heard the distance learning plan from our school district and decided that it wasn’t for us. I love our school district. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the staff and teachers. No matter what option we decided for schooling this year, our boys would have been in good hands. I believe that. I hope that our kids will return to our school district in the future. When it comes down to it, I’m not a fan of digital learning for primary grades. Owen would have been issued a Chromebook with apps he needed loaded. He would have had a daily Zoom schedule. He would have been watching recorded lessons from his teacher. I applaud our the district for doing the best they can with what they’ve got. I know that teachers are working harder than ever this year. But it’s still not what I would prefer for learning. If my kiddos are going to be home with me during the day, I want flexibility over their schedule. Homeschooling allows us to move at our own pace and have outings whenever they fit best with our schedule.
Once we made the decision to homeschool Owen, it made sense that we would do the same for Graham. I’ve loved the years that our kids have spent at the Bethel Kids Learning Center. They both learned and grew so much through their time there. We’ve kept our social circles small and the idea of introducing Graham to a classroom full of kids didn’t sit well with me. Let’s be honest, daycare centers and preschools are germ factories. New procedures are in place to keep families healthy, but it still wasn’t enough for me (I say “me” because I am much more germophobic than Jeremy, but he does a wonderful job of listening and supporting my preferences). Graham has gone through 6 months of preschool at BKLC and by the end of January he will have worked through 4 different preschool/pre-k workbooks. If he has the concepts masters, I am hopeful we can start him on a gentle kindergarten program for the second half of the school year. Again, this is the bonus that homeschooling brings. We can be flexible and work at the pace that is best for each student.
After all the pro/con lists, all the research, all the prayers, we are officially homeschooling! Monday was an introduction to school day. I laid out all the school books on the counter so the kids could flip through them. We talked about our new schedule and school expectations (no pajamas being the biggest change). We did a craft and read a magazine. We took school pictures. It was a simple start to the school year. Tuesday began the official school year with textbooks open and pencils to paper. The first day went well. It was super encouraging to my soul. We can do this! The rest of the week was just as great as the first day. My confidence in this decision is growing! I am thankful for such a positive start and I am optimistic for our school year!
This school year was going to be different no matter what decision we made. I am still mourning the fact that my kids won’t have the pre-k and first grade years I would have hoped for them. I am excited about new possibilities, though. I’ve always wondered about homeschooling. Doing school from home this spring went so well that it gave me the courage to do it for this school year. Without a pandemic, I would have never tried this option. I am thankful for the ability to be home with my kids. I will admit that I have doubts and fears, but I also know that no matter what this year looked like I would have been nervous at the start. Change always makes me nervous. My nerves are a reminder to trust God. He’s got this! I believe with God’s help we will find our groove. Soon we will be established in our new normal. I will keep you posted as the great homeschool adventure unfolds!