*Disclaimer- I received the Bookshark curriculum in exchange for sharing my homeschool journey with you. As always, all opinions are my own.*
When we decided to homeschool this year, I did it somewhat reluctantly. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and most of all, I was worried that I would somehow be hindering my son’s future. There were just so many unknowns, and I was afraid.
But, here we are 9 weeks in and I’m loving it! Homeschool has become just as fun and informative for me as it has been for my 5 year old. I’m learning things that I’m not sure I’ve ever learned, and some I’m sure I’ve just forgotten. I’m so glad we chose the Bookshark Kindergarten curriculum, because it is reinforcing my love for reading, and passing the desire to read onto my son. He has even began choosing books over other forms of entertainment, and my Momma heart couldn’t be happier about that.
Now that we’re 9 weeks in, I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned along the way. After just a few short weeks, I’m by no means an expert- but I want to make sure to document this journey and share it with you as we go along. So, here are some things I’ve learned in 9 weeks of homeschool:
1.) It doesn’t have to take all day. The great thing about our Bookshark curriculum, is that it’s broken up into a 4 day week that takes us around 1 1/2-2 hours a day. That’s it! At first I was so worried that we were getting done too quickly, so I was trying too hard to add in more stuff. But, once I realized how much my child was retaining, and how much we were actually learning every day, I stopped worrying. It doesn’t take all day to learn- and we can reinforce what we’ve learned with fun activities. I love that we can spend our morning learning, and then spend the rest of the day playing or doing whatever we feel like. And, I don’t have to send my son to school for 6+ hours. It’s definitely one of my favorite homeschool perks!
2.) Everything can be a learning experience- but it doesn’t HAVE to be. Another perk of homeschool is that we can turn just about everything into a learning experience. A trip to the grocery store can be turned into a reading or counting lesson. An antique store can be a history lesson. A park trip can be a physics lesson- see the pattern? I love that everything we do can be turned into a learning experience. But, the downside of this, is that sometimes I turn EVERYTHING into a teaching moment. So, I have to make sure that sometimes we are doing things just for the fun of it. I’m learning how to juggle the role of Mommy and Teacher- it’s just as much a new role for me as it is my son, who’s now my child and student.
3.) Music and stickers are great motivators. Sometimes our lessons don’t go as planned. The assignment is too hard, or we get tired of learning and need a break. I’ve found that upbeat music makes things easier. When a math lesson gets too boring- we turn up some fun tunes. Or sometimes we take a dance break in the middle of our reading. Keeping kiddos moving is sometimes just what they need to keep their brain on task. And stickers- every kid is obsessed with them. Just knowing he’ll get a sticker on his paper once he completes it, is just the motivation my son needs to finish his assignment.
4.) Seek out Community. I knew as a homeschool parent I would need to find some fellow homeschoolers to spend time with my son, as well as other parents that I could ask questions or to help ease my fears. I found an amazing homeschool support group in my community. They plan group events, field trips, and even Mom’s Nights Out, just to help us with the process. Just because you’re homeschooling, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Check Facebook Groups or your local paper to find similar communities in your area.
5.) If at first you don’t succeed, try again tomorrow. Some days are hard. Lessons don’t go as planned. Assignments take longer than expected. Life throws you a curve ball. Or maybe you both end up in tears. Homeschool is not always a picnic. But, the great thing about using a flexible curriculum like Bookshark, is that we can take a break. We can go outside, run around, and even drop the work for the day and try again tomorrow. Because it’s a 4 day week, we can take a day off from the book work for Field Trips, Taekwondo lessons, or fun art projects. I love a curriculum that I can make work for us, and supplement with other activities.
Homeschool is not at all what I expected it to be, and I love it so much more than I thought I would. Last night I was even up late checking out Bookshark’s 1st Grade Curriculum, because I truly have it enjoyed it that much! I think it has definitely been the best choice for my son. And now, more than ever, I think we will actually continue with this homeschool thing.