Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Yes, No, I don't know!

Saying yes or no seems simple.  When you have several opportunities to do things you enjoy, of course the answer seems simple, "yes!"  There are times that everything seems to be well-balanced, but then it turns out that everything you say yes to, lands about the same time.
Yes, being a homeschool family gives you freedom to start and end your school days when you can or want to.  It gives you freedom to have days off when other schools are in session, and hold school while area schools are in recess.  It doesn't mean that you have more time than other families, though.  Well, not in the same way at least.  And we still must meet several state requirements to be in compliance with the law.  I got so busy this last few weeks, I didn't review my lessons for this week and it makes a big impact! 
There are weeks that we are all less prepared than others, but I was convicted last year to make sure that I am as prepared for my own kids as I am when I teach a class at church or lead worship.  When I was working full-time, I studied before my meetings and when I was on committees, I gave my best.  My kids deserve no less!  I would be furious if I sent my kids to another style of school and the teachers were ill-prepared and yelled at my kids when communication failed.  Yeah, that happens here on occasion.
There was a time that I tried writing some of my own material to save on money or other reasons.  It was an ok thing and I do enjoy that, but it turns out that it is not for me!  I am more of one to adapt the material to fit my kids and their needs.  They somehow learn in spite of me at times, but I love the interaction of them learning because of me.  If I plan to adapt the material to fit the lesson theme and don't even know what we will be discussing, that is a problem!  Some weeks I can prepare during the school hours, but other weeks I can't. 
For me it takes a good 5 + hours to plan for a week of school for 2 kids.  I have already made a layout of what I want to accomplish through the year in each subject and that took some time as well.  I would say that I am at the point in preparation that people who get a boxed curriculum set are in.  The disadvantage is that I don't have a concise list of supplies laid out for me.  I choose not to make these lists in advance because it requires too much redundancy.  I just do it when I make my shopping list for the week.  I preview the language material so that I know that I can help with questions.  I preview the science experiments to make sure they are doable in our home.  I look through our history curriculum because I don't remember most of it and I like to learn with the kids!  We also have many activities to choose from in history and some of them that I chose when I laid out the year aren't going to work out at this point. 
Another part for my planning that takes plenty of time is my digital gradebook.  I have chosen the Homeschool Helper (HH) app for record keeping.  It is less paperwork and more paperwork all at the same time.  I use weekly planning pages from so that I have a layout of what is happening with everyone all in one spot.  On the HH app, I have to click on each student individually and that is ok.  It is so interesting that because there is such a variety of styles of homeschooling parent as well as family size, curriculum choice and state requirements, that there can never be a one-size-fits-all solution to record keeping in a homeschool.  This is working for me, but takes a bit of effort.  I transfer daily assignments to my weekly planning page and then enter them into HH.  The beauty of it is that I don't have to rewrite the assignment to put a grade in.  I can alter things and make comments, but all-in-all, the entry at the beginning saves me time with grading in the end.
So I will let my yes be yes, and my no be no!  BUT I will keep in mind before giving a yes or no that I only have a short time left with my kids and open-ended dates will be considered differently than solid dates.  I need to be intentional about keeping a good universal calendar so that I don't over-plan!  Outside experiences and watching the good and bad parts of a parent juggling activities are an education in itself.  Oh the joys of figuring out balance! 

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