When Thea was born our initial plan was that I would stay home with her and raise until she was school-aged. This afforded me the chance to watch her grown up, take her first steps, speak her first words – and I didn’t have that chance with my son so it meant everything to me that I would be the one caring for her and meeting her needs. It meant that I didn’t have to hear from the babysitter that she sat up on her own for the first time. It also meant that I was able to exclusively nurse her for as long as we wanted, without the stresses of having to sit in a closet at work and pump or carry a cooler around with me for fear of grossing out my coworkers with bags of breastmilk. Since I was a single parent when Ethan was born I wasn’t able to do any of those things and for years I felt like someone else was raising him. Mommy guilt was STRONG with him. (It still is, even 15 years later as we stare at the high school years.)
When my business started to grow from a side hustle to a full time job, we quickly realized that I would still be able to stay home with her and exchange our diaper changes with homeschooling hours. We toyed around with this idea for a little over a year and I did quite a bit of research trying to see if this would be the right move for us. We even talked to Thea to get her opinion of homeschooling and to my surprise she was 1,000% on board. Her little heart wanted to stay with me even longer, just like my heart wanted. So we enrolled her in ballet classes and a local homeschooling co-op group so she could meet new friends. I talked with friends of mine who homeschool their kids and we were able to get our hands on some really great resources and a curriculum that provided me the direction I needed and Thea with the strong base of subjects she needed. And I hit up Pinterest for ideas for a school room area, a letter template to the school board telling them of our intent to homeschool, and lots and lots of free printables and games.
In a few short months, we were ready.
I wanted to wait until Ethan started school before we started Thea’s homeschooling. It would lessen distraction at home, we could all start on a routine together, and it would give everyone something to look forward to. But Miss Fancy Pants had her own plans. She wanted to start early and she wasn’t taking “no” for an answer. So, two weeks ago we started school!
I’ve never been an elementary school teacher. But I do have some experience teaching and running some small workshops. Having potty trained her and taught her colors, numbers, and ABC’s I already know what incentives work for her and how to make learning fun. But I think the thing that I didn’t plan for was having to rearrange our entire day to fit in a few hours of schooling every day. That may sound like THE most obvious thing in the world! But it really wasn’t something I gave much thought to. Probably because I assumed that I was Super Mom and could take on a few extra hours of schooling every day without any added strain to my schedule.
How wrong I was.
The first was actually easy for us! We breezed right through schooling every single day without much fuss from her. She was excited to learn and it was something new and fun! The second week though, was a difference story. I had deadlines to meet for clients, emails to answer, weddings to edit, timelines to create, packages to mail out – and then I remembered (after stressing out for several days) that I was the one in control of her schedule. It was like some kind of eye-opening epiphany that, for some reason, was overshadowed by the pressure and assumption of me HAVING TO STICK WITH A SCHEDULE.
But, you know what? I don’t HAVE to do anything! If I want to take a day off from school because I have client deadlines – I CAN! If I want to take a day off from school because we’ve been running ourselves crazy – I CAN! If I want to go on vacation for a couple weeks in the middle of fall to watch the leaves change in the mountains – I CAN!
That’s the beauty of homeschooling!!
So, two days ago we decided we weren’t going to have school that day because I needed to meet with someone about getting a quote to pave the driveway, I needed to go grocery shopping, I had an appointment for a checkup, I needed to wash my car and fill my gas tank, and I needed to order albums for my clients. So that’s what we did instead of school. And to make up for that missed day we will be having school on Sunday.
BECAUSE I CAN!
My husband is a bit of a stickler when it comes to having the same exact schedule every single day. But being a mom of two kids, a business owner with a single employee (me), a homeschooler, and the one who runs the household – it is nearly impossible for me to have the exact same schedule every single day. Something had to give and I made sure it wasn’t my sanity! This has caused many conversations in our home about establishing a routine and trying to cram everything into the day that needs to get done. It has also caused some side-eye from my husband and some not-so-nice words when I explain that we didn’t have school that day. Am I saying that routine isn’t important? Absolutely NOT! Routine is extremely important!! However, what I am saying is that I am beginning to learn that homeschooling is giving us more flexibility in our schedules than what I had initially thought it would.
And, now that we’re homeschooling and we’re all learning about what we can and can’t manage I’m slowly realizing that we’re getting the best of both worlds for our family and it’s fitting into our schedules perfectly. She’s learning, I’m teaching, she’s excited to be home with me, so am I, she’s meeting new friends and learning new skills outside of our home, so am I, and if she or I have had enough of school we can easily take a day off and the rest we’ve giving ourselves will do us both some good.
Homeschooling for the win!
Supplies and Furniture:
Desks || Target
Wall Charts/Colors/Numbers/ABC’s || Target Dollar Section
Seagrass Wall Pockets || Target
Chairs || Target
Rug || Target
Whiteboard || Office Depot
1″ Binders in Bulk || Office Depot
White Cube Shelves with Fabric Boxes || Target
Curriculum/Teacher’s Supplies || Abeka