Nineteen. As I write this, there are only nineteen more days left in our homeschool year. Only nineteen more days until our first year of homeschooling is nothing but a memory.
So what have I learned so far on this journey? Here’s my list of the good and the needs-to-be-better lessons from this year.
There are a lot of awesome things about homeschooling, but here are two of my favorites:
• I have a stronger relationship with my daughter.
My daughter and I have spent a lot of time together this past year, and we’ve had a lot of shared experiences and conversations. Sprinkled in among the “did you know?” and “can you help me?” of everyday chitchat were some significant discussions that helped us build trust and understanding.
• I know what my daughter is capable of.
Because of homeschooling, I have a better understanding of my daughter’s capabilities. I know where she struggles and where she excels. And I know when she’s not doing her best work. This has helped me a lot as I strive to develop in her a good work ethic.
Here are some things that I hope to improve on for next year
• I need to do better keeping up with the grading.
There have been many times this year that the grading burden has completely overwhelmed me. Next year I hope to make paper grading part of my daily routine so that it doesn’t pile up.
• I need to make more time for practical skills.
We did well establishing a routine for the academics but had trouble incorporating time for training in other areas, such as how to clean or cook or sew. My daughter has expressed interest in learning homemaking skills, but I’ve struggled to find time to teach her. Next year I hope to specify time in our schedule for teaching these types of skills.
• I need to make sure that both of us have time for friendships.
Homeschooling can be a lonely venture if you allow it to be. I’ve found that it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in our own little bubble of life. Next year I hope to schedule more play dates and get us involved in more group activities. My daughter needs time with friends, and so do I.
• I need to be better prepared for activity lessons.
It’s confession time—we didn’t do all the science activities this year. Although BJU Press did a great job coming up with activities that use inexpensive and easy-to-find materials, I often didn’t plan ahead to make sure that I had those materials on hand. So we often had to improvise or even skip the activity completely. Next year, I’m going to pay better attention to the materials list in the Distance Learning Parent packet and plan accordingly.
Like most things in life, this first year of homeschooling has brought both good and not-so-good times. Some days have been filled with smiles, and some days have been filled with lots of tears. But we’re learning and we’re growing. We’ve experienced the “good” of homeschooling and have found that “good” to be worth every day of struggle. We’re already looking forward to next year. Even my daughter is excited! Keep an eye on the BJU Press YouTube channel—we’ll be unboxing our third-grade curriculum soon!