What you’re about to read is a very light-hearted perspective of homeschooling. If you’ve never been a classroom teacher, this list may mean nothing to you- but these are the honest thoughts and thrilling revelations that occurred to me as I began planning for Kindergarten and our first ‘official’ year of homeschooling!
- When I organized my classroom this year, my house got organized. I cannot tell you how many hours and how much money I’ve spent through the years trying to achieve the ideal classroom set up. It was so nice to de-clutter, re-think storage, and spruce up my own home while preparing our classroom environment.
- I got to set my own calendar! I had so much fun planning out our year a few weeks ago. I couldn’t believe what giddiness I experienced in determining we could have two full weeks off for Christmas (not Winter) Break. I thoroughly enjoyed blocking out one full week for Easter (not Spring) Break. No teacher work days or in-service days were necessary. (Yay for not having to sit through an in-service meeting that really wasn’t applicable to my situation.) Even being able to change the verbiage on our school calendar from Winter Break to Christmas filled my heart with happiness!
- More time for planning. Prior to the start of each school year, I spent so much time in meetings, organizing, decorating (see #1), and paper work that planning was a bit of an after thought. I’ve spent so much time thinking through what we’re going to do and what’s important to cover this year. Love it!
- Field trips with no paperwork. First of all, during the last 5 years of my tenure as a classroom teacher, I was not able to offer field trips to my students. It always saddened me to not be able to provide experiences outside the classroom. It did not, however, thrill me to have to fill out the paperwork for field trips. Everything was so complicated. And field trip day itself was usually not a leisurely experience for me as I was frantically making certain all of my students were accounted for at all times. Therefore, it is with a sigh of relief that I plan excursions for my two little ones this year. I can’t wait to make discoveries with them- sans bus requests, money collection, permission slips, documentation for the validity of the trip etc.!
- I have a roster of two, and I already know everything (or at least most everything) about them! Enough said!
- I can go to the bathroom when the need arises. A nice perk!
- I don’t have to pack lunches everyday. I really don’t enjoy packing lunches. I try to make it as painless as possible by pre-‘sandwich bagging’ a week’s worth of cookies, chips, or carrot sticks. I’ve also tried to pack the lunch into the lunchbox the night before…nothing helps. It’s just not one of my favorite things!
- 41 less report cards to prepare! Report cards. In kindergarten, it took days to assess our students, many sleepless nights to complete the report card, and all of my planning period to correct mistakes that my principal caught in the editing process! I have not missed writing 43 + individualized comments.
- Story time on the couch, cuddled with my two favorite people! I so enjoy reading to my children. Sharing a much loved book has always brought pleasure to my girls and to me. As we began school this week, it was fantastic to “read it again!” when my baby girl asked. As a classroom teacher, I usually had to turn down those requests because of time constraints, and thus, a teachable moment was lost. When we ‘read it again’ on Monday, we laughed at the funny parts, quoted favorite lines, talked about words we didn’t know, etc. I was teaching. They were learning. And they were loving the experience of it all.
- FREEDOM! To be honest, I’ve been worried about homeschooling. I’ve not been worried about teaching- I knew that would fall into place. It was the balancing of it all. How would I be able to work from home, run my home, be involved at church, be a loving wife, and teach my children? These concerns overwhelmed me at times. But as we have actually begun our homeschooling journey, I’ve discovered that God is helping me to find my way. I am so appreciative to be able to set our calendar, set our daily schedule, choose my own methods and strategies, be the final decision maker on what is taught and what is not. So much so, that what I’ve actually been overwhelmed by in the past several weeks is an unexpected, glorious feeling of freedom!