It feels like yesterday we were ringing in the new year. Now we're 2/3rds of the way to the next. Summer is coming to a close, so we are getting into school mode. I thought I was going into year four of homeschooling but, doh, it's actually year FIVE. Whoa! I do not feel like an expert. Because I should by now, right? I feel like every year is trial-and-error, all year long. Maybe this is the year I'll finally feel like I've found my stride.
For the first few years of homeschooling I ran a home business and was divided between work and school. When one would succeed, the other fell to the wayside. I ended my business so I could focus 110% on our homeschool. But then we had the baby last year so it was "baby year" which often means things slide a little. Thea is our last baby and will be 1 next month, so that means more restful nights are just ahead. Suffice to say, I'm beyond excited to see what this new year holds. No home business, no new babies, no pregnancy. I got this, right?!
Our main shelf for school is jam packed with readers, books, notebooks, curriculum, manipulatives, etc, etc. This isn't even all of it as I've ordered new books that should be arriving in the next week or two. I was also super blessed to be able to provide the three girls with their own refurbished laptops so they can simultaneously do work online without fighting over my tiny Lenovo ThinkPad (my laptop has the smallest screen, not much bigger than an IPad). We're still waiting on those to arrive as well. I like to limit online time but there's so much they can do online, like learn a language, read free books, watch educational videos that tie into their lessons, etc. Plus research and writing and typing.
This year we also transformed one of our rooms into a designated school room. Back behind the kitchen we have a small room that also houses our first floor laundry. We were using it as utility/storage/laundry but I felt the space could be better served for our educational needs. I cleared out the room, painted everything and we've moved all of our desks in, the shelf pictured above, etc. We have hung fabric garlands over the windows, rainbow pom pom garland from the ceiling, covered bulletin boards in fabric and hung above each desk, etc. All I really need to do next is get a big soft area rug and throw down some big floor pillows for cozy reading in the middle of the room. It's so bright and cheerful and colorful. Pics to come. Soon, soon!
All the kids are healthy and doing awesome. Silas (3) potty trained a few months ago. He even stays dry at night now, so I'm down to diapering one kiddo. Judah (4) is really getting into learning and trying to draw, writing letters, but mostly he's my little painter. He paints some seriously amazing stuff. I mean, he's four and it's abstract, but he is almost meticulous about it and carefully chooses the colors. If anyone tells him he'll be a great artist one day, he'll kind of huff and say, "I AM an artist, now!" True, buddy, true!
Zoe (6) is learning to read and doing really well. She sometimes sighs a long-suffering sigh and tells me she wishes it was easier. Me, too, babes. Me, too! I think that teaching a child to read is more panic-inducing than algebra, and I absolutely abhor math. Abigail (9), once my struggling reader, is now reading small chapter books. She's the kid you don't push. She does everything in her own relaxed time. And not for any particular reason. It's not that she lacks smarts. She's incredibly intelligent and creative. She's just my dreamer. Which I love about her. And if I can keep that imaginative spark alive forever, then I will. I don't push her. I just support, stand back, and watch her bloom in her own way and time. It's magical.
Thea, the baby, is going to be 1 next month. She army crawls everywhere. Daddy caught her trying to crawl on her knees just this weekend (usually mommy sees all these firsts so he was pretty pumped that he saw it before I did). No rush to try to stand up or walk, though. And Elaina (11), my oldest, is growing into a young lady. She got to bring her sewing machine home from her grandmother's house and is sewing all the things. All of them. I pretty much have a list of stuff for her to make for me, ha! She wears a little bit of makeup and has hit those awkward middle school years. I'm trying to help her navigate these tricky waters of self-doubt and peer pressures and body image issues. It isn't easy. But I'll be there for her no matter what.
And this man, who walks by me in life, is doing pretty great, too. We are coming up on our 12th anniversary this October. I cannot even believe it. 12 years married, 6 children... is this real life?!
One thing we have never done before is name our homeschool. We will be discussing some options and hopefully have a great name soon.