Today marks exactly one year since we started homeschooling. I’ve been enjoying seeing the countdown photos pop up in the On This Day app on Facebook. It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been homeschooling for a whole year, but at the same time it’s also hard to believe that it’s only been a year. I still feel like a homeschooling newbie most of the time.
Of course, we’re not actually doing any schoolwork today because it’s a public holiday – thank you, municipal elections – but the real reason is that Peanut will be born tomorrow. Aside from all the preparations this week – double checking hospital bags, cooking freezer meals, packing the girls’ bag for the stay with Nana – which has left very little time for school, we’re all too excited for Peanut’s birth to want to do school this week.
To be honest, the last couple of weeks of school have been more laidback than usual due to my own lack of energy and the girls’ distraction. We won’t be doing any actual schoolwork for at least the next six weeks, but as this article points out, the baby is the lesson. The girls have definitely learned a lot about pregnancy and how it affects a woman’s body. (Angie, surprisingly, still wants lots of children. Emmy is freaked out about the idea of “all the blood” and has repeatedly told me she does not want to be there when the doctor takes Peanut out.)
I will be continuing with Bible Road Trip the week after we get home from the hospital because I think it’s important that the girls not get out of the habit of daily Bible reading and praying together. I also don’t want them to forget the Scripture verses that they’ve been learning. If I’m honest with myself, it’s also good for keeping me in the habit of daily devotions and prayer. Those first few weeks – okay, the whole first year – after having a baby are spent in zombie-mode. I don’t remember much of the first weeks with the girls, only that there was very little sleep involved.
The other thing I’m planning to continue is story time. We’re about halfway through reading Heidi together and Angie has already picked out the next several books she wants us to read. I’m pretty sure I’ll have the energy to sit on the couch and read to them. Another reason I’m determined to do this is because I want to have quality time with them, particularly during this season when most of my attention will be focused on caring for Peanut. I want to involve them as much as possible so that they don’t feel pushed aside.
My hope is that once we’ve started to adjust to having a newborn in the house, and once he’s figured out day and night, we’ll be able to get back into a school rhythm. But I’m not even going to attempt this until mid-September. I’m not that crazy.
Looking back over our homeschool year, it’s been mostly good. There have been days when I’ve questioned our decision to homeschool, and days when I know beyond a doubt that it is the right choice for our family. Spending so much time together is often challenging, but there are so many benefits. I am getting to know my children, to see them grow, to understand what makes them tick. We get to have the best of each other, but at the same time we see each other at our worst. I am learning where my own character needs work – patience, definitely patience! – as well as trying to build up their character.
They fight a lot more than they used to, but I think that’s partly due to Peanut’s imminent arrival and partly due to their ages. Emmy is about to turn four – and we are being reminded that having a fourorrist in the house is no picnic. They are close, though, and most of the time they get along really well. Both are little chatterboxes – so I’m interested to see if Peanut will be allowed to get a word in, or if he’ll be six when they give him a chance to talk!
One of my favourite things about homeschooling is that I’ve been able to see them grow – as individuals as well as academically. Seeing how they’ve learned their numbers, the alphabet, how Emmy’s drawing has gone from scribbles to identifiable pictures, and how Angie has started learning to read is awesome.
Next year brings new challenges – grade one, oy vey! – and trying to do school with an increasingly mobile baby around will be interesting. But I’ll write more about our curriculum choices and plans for 2017 another time. I have a suspicion I’ll be reevaluating my plans once the reality of adding a baby to the mix sinks in.
Any advice for homeschooling with a baby in the house?