We celebrated our first day of school for the 2017-2018 school year last week!
It is very hard for me to believe that we are entering our 8th year of homeschooling. For the past few years, I’ve felt a bit burnt out with starting a new homeschool year, but I’m relieved that this isn’t the case this year!
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I’ve spent hours and hours and hours researching curricula for my kiddos, printing over 1000 pages on our workhorse of a printer, and wrapping my brain around homeschooling 4 not-so-little people with a baby on my hip.
Homeschooling is not for the weak, y’all.
I receive so many questions about how we run our homeschool and the whys behind it. So I thought I’d take a blog post or two and answer a few of those questions.
If I don’t answer your burning question in this post, just leave me a comment and I’ll try to fit it into the next one!
Also, I’m going to post our curriculum choices for 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades in the coming weeks, so make sure you don’t miss those!
Some of these questions are curriculum-specific, and a few are general homeschool questions. I receive a lot of ‘How do you run your home?’-type questions, so I’ll include a few of those as well.
Q: How do you choose your curriculum?
This is a great question, and it varies from year to year. This question actually requires its own blog post, because I have quite a few angles and strategies in choosing the best curriculum for each of my children.
The short answers are: I evaluate the prior year and see where the gaps and holes are, I research my favorite forums, I heavily read reviews on various websites and blogs that I trust, and I ask my local homeschool mom friends.
Oh – and I pray. A lot. Actually, I do that first before I research anything at all.
Q: Do you use only Christian-based curriculum?
Even though we are unapologetically Christian, we don’t exclusively use Christian-based curricula. While we do use Apologia science for my middle schooler, Rod & Staff English, and Tapestry of Grace, Christian-themed material is not my top criterion in choosing curricula.
We talk about God all throughout our day. We start our morning with a Bible Study time, pray together throughout the day, give glory and honor to him consistently, and ask Him for help to guide us in our school work and how we interact with each other.
I feel comfortable not choosing only Christian-based material because the Lord is intentionally infused throughout our day and our home.
Q: How do you give enough teaching time to each child each day?
Well, this one is a toughie. I’m not going to sugar coat that it is very hard for me to give everyone adequate “teacher time” during our school day.
Lots of Most days I come up short.
I’ll be honest and say that I teeter between these thoughts and feelings:
There’s only one of me and how can I possibly school them all well?
It doesn’t matter that there’s only one of me, they all need to be schooled well.
Lord, please fill in the gaps.
In the past, I’ve been very resistant (dare I say rebellious!) in creating an hour-by-hour schedule. I just didn’t want our homeschooling days to be on that type of rigid schedule.
As a result of my stubborn thinking, there were many areas that fell through the cracks the last 2 homeschool years. I am determined for that not to happen again, so I’ve created that dreaded hour-by-hour schedule.
We’ve utilized a very loose routine in the past (which was ultra loose last year due to the baby being born), and I’m working oh so hard to tighten it up.
I don’t want to look back at the end of my homeschooling teacher days and be sad and regretful that I wasn’t more diligent.
And let me just say this: Mamas, if you’re in a season of morning sickness, have a new baby that may be a bit high-maintenance, or if you’re dealing with a physical or mental illness, please be gentle with yourself. Sadly, I am usually not very gentle with my own self, and I want you to do better than me. 🙂
There will be many years for working towards excellence through being diligent. This is one of those years for me.
Please don’t let that crazy schedule in the picture make you feel inadequate. I promise you that I don’t have it altogether and that’s just one schedule for one homeschool semester. It probably won’t look like that in a few months!
It’s just my desperate attempt to spend enough time with all of my favorite students.
Q: When do you clean the house?
Sigh. Getting the house clean and then keeping it that way. It’s the million dollar question, right?!
My children do quite a bit, if not most of house cleaning and straightening. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching them to wash dishes and clean a kitchen well, vacuum, dust, roll the laundry, wipe down bathrooms, pick up their rooms, and generally clean up after themselves.
My 4 oldest children have jobs to do each morning after they eat breakfast and before our school time. My children know they are expected to do those jobs well, and any other extras that need to be taken care of.
There are 7 people living in our house, all day every day. We have a very lived in home. And that requires cleaning and maintenance!
Do I feel guilty that my children do the bulk of the cleaning? Absolutely not.
They are learning responsibility and how to keep their own homes clean. I consider these mandatory life skills.
Another side note: If you have only littles where everyone is 6 years old and younger, you’ll just have to give yourself huge amounts of grace for keeping a clean house. While there are a few jobs 6 year olds can do (empty the dishwasher, empty trash cans, pick up a room with detailed instruction), it requires a ridiculous amount of mental energy from the Mama.
In my experience, it’s much better to have a somewhat messy home and more joyful mama, than a spotless home and a cranky mama.
Don’t miss this post: Learning to Simplify: Keeping a Clean House
Do you have a homeschool question you’d like for me to answer? Just leave a comment on this post and I’ll do my best!