Summer.. oh we’ve been loving it. I ended this year feeling plain wore out. Summer has been the most refreshing break amidst the hustle of growing up three great kids. That being said I’ve been slowly easing myself into planning and preparation for first grade and year two of homeschooling.
I learned some really important lessons as I fumbled through year one. First lesson being, I’ve gotta own this thing! My people pleasing, insecure personality type made “owning” our choice to homeschool this year feel so hard. I mean really if you asked me about school, I felt my blood pressure start rising. I hated that conversation. I want to love it. I want to relish the chance to tell you why and what God has done to bring us here. This is one of my many prayers for year two.. that I would be able to own our choice! (side note: probably not setting a great example for my kids if I come off unsure about my choice to homeschool them, so there’s that too)
Lesson two, has been to MAKE MORE TIME FOR ME! OMGosh if I did not get lost and totally overwhelmed in the job of mothering, working and schooling. I started to hate (and I mean it when I use the strong word of hate) myself, my husband, my kids (sometimes), anyone that added the wrong kind of input to my day. That’s not good for anyone. This year I’m starting school early, so that we can take more breaks, I’m getting a babysitter when I’m worn down, working less, adding a bible study to the calendar and I’m gonna get to the gym (with lovely childcare) more. I’m dedicated to HUSTLING FOR JOY. Burnout, eventually becomes as destructive as it sounds.. it burns up every bit of you that may be left with the added bonus of damaging all the relationships around you. I feel like we are called to homeschool but not at the cost of living a joyful life.
Lesson three has been make this a thing a family thing. I carried way too much of the weight of the decisions of how to teach and care for our kids, along with everything else this year. This has to be a team effort. My husband and I are working hard to be a team. We are talking, going to counseling and spending more time together. We want to be a team but it turns out it takes a lot of work to feel like you are working together. A lot more effort than we were putting in. I also need to invite my kids to help us keep up our home. I don’t need to do it all.. and really I can’t do it even if I wanted to.
Lesson four, it takes time to find a tribe. I’ve got some great people in my life. I’m so thankful! Stepping into homeschool life has been a big change. Some new friends, voices and supports are needed. It takes time to grow these things in your life. I’m excited to see which friendship bloom in even greater ways in year two and I pray God brings the friends that we still may need into our life!
OKAY— I’m done venting now I will share what we’ve settled on curriculum wise for first grade.
Classical Conversations- This will be our third year involved in a Classical Conversations co-op and we really appreciate it. It really covers all the Science, History and fine arts that we need. This year we hope to spend more time invested in learning the material. My oldest calls this his school, loves his tutors and classmates. It really helps us all feel apart of a greater community.
Language Arts- We landed on the Good and the Beautiful after I saw how much a friend of mine enjoyed it. I’m really excited to use this! It’s simple, I love that it has a checklist of what you gotta do each day. It’s also pretty and inexpensive. It’s very compatible with the Charlotte Mason style too (if your into that).
Math – Saxon math is something that a lot of people seem to enjoy. For us it made sense because it’s simple and not crazy expensive. My oldest really enjoys Math and seems to pick it up fast. I felt like a “no fuss” curriculum would be just fine for him.
Handwriting- This past year we really learned the basics of letter formation, so I just wanted something that would give us some self-directed daily practice with writing. I went with this simple practice book because I thought we’d enjoy adding pictures to our writing (also I had an Amazon gift card). I also ordered this to introduce us to cursive. Last year, we were interested in learning it, so if I figured we’d try it out this year.
I’ve also found some great resources for Science, geography and extra practice from the Dollar Store and the Target dollar section. The great thing about these low cost supplements, is that I don’t feel a lot of pressure to use everything we buy. If we don’t like it/need it I haven’t wasted too much money. Another science resource we love is the Maker Lab books. It’s full of a variety of experiments that range from complex to super easy. We found the first book and this one at our local library, so if you don’t want to buy it, just check it out.
This library has been vital in our homeschool. There are so many great audio books, educational DVD’s and regular books to add depth and variety to our learning.
One additional Richmond Homeschool thing we’ve loved has been Chesterfield Homeschool Sports. Last year we did soccer and t-ball, this year we will just make it to t-ball. It was a really fun and cheap way to get to play sports with other homeschoolers. It wasn’t super competitive but really fun! Also a great way to introduced your little ones to sports without spending a fortune.
Hope this gives you some ideas to get started with. Curriculum can feel overwhelming, there are so many great options! Prayers you find what feels like the best fit for your family.