By Crystal Brewer, Homeschooling Mom in Tennessee
When we first began homeschooling 6 years ago we were completely clueless about what it was supposed to look like. Our first couple of years were very difficult and it was because of my preconceived notions about what ‘school’ should be at our home. I set up our school room and our schedule to mimic that of a ‘real’ school which proved to be a disaster for us. We have 6 children which are now 13, 11, 10, 8, 6 and 4. Strict schedules with little room for grace and life happening caused all of us to get discouraged.
I finally stopped trying to look like public school and started praying for what our school needed to be. I found the workbox system and have modified it to meet our needs a little better. We started out using 12 plastic shoeboxes but since we now have 5 different grade levels I began this school year using file crates with each assignment in a folder. It saves room plus we like that it’s portable. When we travel we stack our crates in the back of the van and go. Basically, each child has a crate with 6 hanging file folders. Five are used for each day of the week and contain 10 manilla folders which each hold different assignments. The sixth holds 3 folders- completed work, needs completed (this needs to be empty by Friday or they get counted off) and a graded folder for me to return graded work to.
We try to begin each day around 8am with our “everyone together” work- Bible, cursive and depending on which day it is, History (Tuesdays and Thursdays) or Science (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). I’ve found that doing all of these first thing keeps us from skipping them. Seemed like everyone would get busy and pull me in different directions so those subjects would get put on the backburner and not get done at all. After our together work the older kids get busy on their folders and I start with the younger ones. This usually lasts about an hour before the older ones get to some of the harder stuff they need help with so then I’ll let the littles either play quietly or they get on abcmouse.com. Each older child gets individual help for math and grammar. If I’m already helping someone and another child gets to the point where all they have left is math or grammar and needs me then that child gets to take a break to read or go outside and play. We usually get done around 1:30 but sometimes go much later. This year has definitely proved to be our smoothest yet and everyone agrees we feel like we’re getting so much more done.
I’m grateful that we’ve settled into a groove but things aren’t ever perfect. Our home is loud, messy and chaotic most days. Everyone struggles with bad attitudes with me stuggling the hardest. After 6 years of doing this I still get fearful sometimes if I made the right decision and if I’m cut out for this. I’m so weary at the end of most days but I almost always wake up with a new resolve to do it all over again. It’s only by God’s grace and mercy that I’m here so I have no doubt that His grace and mercy will continue to carry all of us. My favorite verse that helps me keep going is Isaiah 40:11- He tends His flock like a sheperd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young. Blessings to all!
How does your family “do homeschooling?” We would love to hear about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to have your family featured on our blog and/or newsletter. This is a great opportunity to encourage other homeschooling families, so please, share your story!