House For Six

Coffee Break: Surviving The First Week Back To School

Deme Crinion2 Comments
It's Friday and we're all still standing!  Well, breathing anyway.  Whether your kids are schooled outside the home or with you, that first week back with a new routine can be brutal. 

And thank the good Lord for a 3 day weekend to aid the recovery mode!

The week prior to kicking off our first week of homeschool, I stayed up late every night working on lesson plans.  We had been mulling and praying and researching the decision to homeschool for several months (even before school was out last year), and finally decided to go for it over the summer.  Since then, I've been driving myself insane with choosing a curriculum.  The options are endless and the choices are completely overwhelming.  Especially if you're new to this gig.

Long story short, I ordered the curriculum late in the game, had some late night cramming and planning to make up for it, and went into this first week on little sleep.  Mistake numero uno.

After the first day I could tell that some of my hesitations about the curriculum were in fact going to be a problem.  I wasn't completely sold on it from the beginning but hello, we had to study something.  I didn't listen to my gut because I felt like I didn't have a better option lined up.  And I'm a newbie, so I was scared to piece a curriculum together myself even though that's really what I wanted to do.  Mistake numero dos. 

Over the past four days, I've cut out half the books from our all inclusive curriculum, and ended up augmenting, supplementing or somehow tweaking the rest.  Which meant more late nights trying to make this curriculum work for me and the kids.  More lack of sleep: Mistake numero tres.

BUT this is not a Debbie Downer post.  Truly!

Despite the frustrations in trying to work with something that just wasn't working for us, we learned a lot this week.  We learned...

.....our kids are eager to learn.  They came down each day dressed, teeth brushed, beds made and asking to start the day. 

.....they want more.  They like to have fun with learning but they also like to be challenged.

.....Sully is turning five in a couple weeks and I didn't plan to do too much for Kinder this year, just focus on reading, a few math concepts, and handwriting.   But woah.  This kid is wicked smart.  He likes to pretend he doesn't know how to do things, but he's not fooling anyone any more.  Of all the kids, he asks for "more school" throughout the day.  So, I need to work in some more focused activities for him.

......Jack is the opposite and could care less.  He excels at disrupting. 

.....Mia is very bright and needs to be more challenged.  But she has trouble focusing.  Part of it is probably just being out of school mode from the summer, but I've found that if I don't have specific things set up for the boys to do/play with while she's working independently, things quickly go down hill.  See item above.

.....the kids learn best in different ways but they all enjoy a little bit of everything.  Book work, hands on activities, read alouds. And we're closer to finding the right balance.

....the resources I have ordered (in desperation) to supplement the curriculum this week have been great.  I feel much better about the new direction we're going for history and meeting Sully's needs. I'm still on the hunt for better math, science, and language arts programs though.

......I don't mind doing the work.  At first I was adamant about getting a full curriculum with lesson plans to HOLD MY HAND.  But this week has forced me to do more research and come up with my own things to augment the schedule.   I'm not as terrified to step out on my own and build the program I know my kids need.

So, even though this week has been frustrating in many ways, it's also been really good.  With every fail, we learn more about our kids and more about what's going to work for us.  It's going to be a continuous work in progress, but I feel hopeful. 

How was your first week back?  Is anyone else beating their head against a wall with curriculum?  Or buried in the paperwork coming home from your kids classrooms?  Hang in there!!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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