A New Direction

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

When we began our homeschool journey six years ago, I started with no long-term vision or plan. I knew I loved the idea of intentionally playing with Abby and enjoyed planning fun, themed weeks for her filled with themed printables, themed activities, themed crafts and you guessed it themed field trips. I love looking back on that time and will always treasure her preschool year because it was the best way to spend our last year together--just the two of us.

During that time, I collected lots and lots of stuff.  I'm not really one to hold on to many things, so the fact I collected so much is shocking! I always told myself that--I'll use it someday-- and there it would sit while I continued to collect more and more of the same. 

As Summer began joining in, I added more items I thought would be perfect for her--more games, more learning toys, etc. I found it difficult to re-create the same preschool experience I gave Abby due to the fact I was now splitting my time between two kids doing separate things. 

Each year posed a new obstacle. I was struggling to find a curriculum that would work for Abby as she entered the elementary years. There were so many options and finding the best fit for her and our growing family was not happening. We tried piecing various programs together, boxed curriculum, attempting a new approach (to the extreme) and then back to boxed curriculum. I was stressed and frustrated, Abby's enthusiasm was non-existent and I felt like I was failing her. On top of that, the guilt set in for not having the energy to "play" or plan for all the fun I wanted to do with Summer and Kaitlyn. Some weeks I was on a roll having lots of activities planned and then quickly I would fizzle out and look around to be surrounded by the tons of items that would need to be put back in their place. 

A few weeks ago I began to really reflect on the vision and direction we would be heading in, more importantly what my girls enjoy and what I enjoy most about our days together. They love sitting around learning and playing together, art, baking, nature walks, Bible study and read alouds to name a few--not a stressed mommy trying to knock out her to-do list and re-organizing the overflowing bins of school stuff. Even as I have continued to make the same mistakes over and over again, we have made several changes already that have helped tremendously like a 4-day school week, optional catch-up day and new curriculum choices for Abby that she can complete in a more independent, hands-on approach than before. This allows me more time to work with the other two girls and has been a great fit for her. 

We are currently homeschooling a fourth grader, kindergartner, preschooler and our one year old joins in from time to time. I have finally come to terms that school with Summer, Kaitlyn and eventually Callie isn't going to look like it did with Abby.  And, I'm ok with that. There are so many approaches to learning that I'm drawn to, but right now my goal is simplicity and to really savor these years with my girls before they are gone. 

I will be sharing more details of our journey soon. 

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