I was a little panicky with the homeschooling this school year at first. I didn't think I'd have enough time, or that I'd be able to meet everyone's needs. But now I feel much more at ease about it.
For one thing, I'm no longer feeling the pressure of falling behind. The kids catch on so quickly I can leave a lot of independent, self-directed tasks on their "to-do" list. I alternate between Brielle and Anakin. Poor Caleb, wants to participate, I just don't have anything for him so I try to give him some measure of Brielle's work - he definitely participates in stories, art, Bible, and I know he can do math. I didn't have the funds to get curriculum for him out of pocket and he's too young per the public school system to get anything from the charter school. So anything that he does I have to get from www.education.com and ask Paul to print it or figure it out manually. But he's already made it clear that he feels left out because I don't sit with him to work on math problems like I do with the older two.
He even sat in on a live demo of the lunar phases and he got it! He has a basic concept of the moon going around the sun, going from a full moon to a new moon (where it's dark and you can't see it), every month. He drew it for me.
And last year, he hated "school work". He wanted to play with legos or play-doh all day. He really wanted to play on the xbox or his DS all day. He would huff and puff if I gave him a worksheet or told him we were going to read a story together. Somewhere I must've hit a switch....
If anything, it's probably his sibling's excitement. Brielle was not excited about homeschooling until she saw all the books she's going to read, and how she's going to learn to play the recorder, and it made her happier. Part of her hesitation too is that she wasn't a very fluent reader. But then again, she is just now entering 1st grade. I don't think she's expected to read at all yet - so she's ahead of the curve. With that in mind, we just breeze through it, I help her with the words she doesn't quite know, and it's no pressure. So she's enjoying this more because she finds she can read a lot more words and isn't afraid of the task. Same thing with spelling.
Icing on the cake: Brielle will start dance lessons, Lord willing, end of August. Once a week. So the thought of her in a tutu in front of a mirror has her ecstatic. She'll do anything at home for dance lessons!
Anakin was excited about the books too, and he's learning a lot. He's making spyrographs out of the time tables. He's learning a little bit of Hebrew and the Hebrew alphabet. He is reading some pretty amazing books, and he is understanding a bit more how the universe works.
What absolutely has me in love with this process is how... wholesome the material is. I feel like it's restoring a bit of the innocence and the child-like wonder in our home. It's older stories and folk tales with morals, that get your imagination going... with a little bit of magic and fairy tale creatures but still wholesome. Stories about heroes, about courage, about facing difficult odds and overcoming them. It's bringing back some of my innocence! Making my heart softer.
And I need a softer heart. You read one news report online and your heart just gets more and more callous. I enjoy reading stories to my children, albeit fictional, that paint beautiful images in our heads. Specially with all that's going on in the world today.
In a world where, just on the other side, children are beheaded because their families are Christian, I just feel so thankful and blessed to be home with my 3, teaching them to the best of my ability. Not just basic math, reading, science and social studies. Not just our Biblical world view. But teaching them to hunger for information and find the answers themselves, to be responsible for their own growth. And I'm so thankful for the peace to do so - that we can take the time (all day, if need be), just seeking out these answers. As I pray, I am aware I have this blessing for a purpose - and it weighs heavy on me - because NOW is the time that God has ordained in my family for them to know the Lord, and know His Word, and build their character. It feels like it's my one mission, and it's of utmost importance. Nothing else right now matters.
I don't know what our home life will look like next year or 2 years from now. I don't know at this moment if I'll ever send the kids back to public school and move on to anything else. I don't know if I'll ever get a college degree or a career. I don't know if I'll ever have a ministry at church. I just know that right now, what I'm doing at home is the most important thing I could be doing right now. It is requiring all of my praying, all of my focus, all of my creativity, and all of my energy.
And my exercising and getting healthy matters here too. I realize the kids are learning discipline from me. They see that I do what needs to get done without being told to and it matters to them. It helps me keep up with them. It inspires them to put in 100% of their effort into whatever they are doing.
It's been suggested that I write a book about my experience with the kiddos... and though my Facebook is loaded with stories that could definitely fill a book, I don't think I have yet the material to write. It feels like the book is coming - through out this year, I have a certain level of anticipation on how this whole process is going to affect our family. It has already drastically changed the environment in our home, so much so, that it's my favorite place to be.