Shortly after Big Sis was born, I was in the hospital looking at her sweet face, still in shock at what had just happened. I was sleep deprived, beyond exhausted and so emotional. I was excited for the new chapter in our lives but in all honesty, I just wanted to sleep! I remember looking at her sweet self as she was screaming and screaming and screaming and thinking, “Before I know it, she’s going to be walking off to Kindergarten with an oversized backpack on her back, Dirk and I holding each other, shedding tears for our baby who has headed off to Kindergarten.” Over the years I have thought about what her first day of Kindergarten will be like both with anticipation and sadness.
As the years have gone by, and God has pressed on both Dirk and I to homeschool, I knew that her first day of school was slowly morphing into something that I hadn’t dreamed of, but something that God knew all along. In some ways, it’s been hard to let go of those dreams. Going off to Kindergarten is a rite of passage, it marks the beginning of an era. I still vividly remember bits and pieces of my Kindergarten year, they are fond memories. In fact look at this picture…
That’s Dirk and I in the SAME Kindergarten class, what?! The fact that we spent an entire school year together in the same Kindergarten class, ten years before we would meet again, blows my mind. We didn’t find this out until we “met again” when we were 16 & 17 and then 18 years later and we were married. Crazy right?!
Dirk had said for many years that he didn’t want his kids to be homeschooled. I wasn’t as adamant but as a former public school elementary teacher I figured I’d continue teaching and my kids would go to the school where I taught. We never really discussed homeschooling before we had kids. When God called me to be a stay-at-home mom He also slowly started showing us that homeschooling is what we are supposed to do, at least for now. I’ve never been of the mindset that any schooling is the “right” decision. I firmly believe that God calls each family to different choices for each child and for each school year. My parents were a great example of this. All of us kids had times in our lives when we went to public school, private school and were homeschooled. They prayed for us each year and did what was best for us, although us kids didn’t always agree with them, I know in my life it was such a blessing. Following their example we will be praying each year about what God wants for Big Sis (and for Little E when her time comes) but for now, this is where we’re at and I’m really so excited!
I initially thought that homeschooling would be a breeze. If I can handle teaching a classroom of sometimes up to thirty-seven 5th graders, then surely one Kindergartener would be a breeze! Well, that wasn’t the case. We’ve only been at this for three weeks now, and it hasn’t been a breeze but every day it’s getting easier and we are all learning.
I’m so thankful to have a few friends who are also homeschooling their Kindergarteners this year. It’s been so encouraging to check in with them and share my struggles and hear their’s. This is a learning process for our family, but I’m so excited to see all that Big Sis will learn this year, all that we will learn as a family, and to share some fun projects and units with you guys. It’s been so exciting to be back in the lesson planning phase, coming up with new units and activities. I love being home with my girls but there are still parts of me that really miss teaching. I have so enjoyed being able to be back in the planning and creating.
And no beginning of the school year homeschool post is complete without sharing the curriculum we’re using, so here it is:
- We’re continuing with the All About Reading curriculum. Big Sis completed the Pre-Reading curriculum last year and is now on AAR1. We really loved the Pre-Reading curriculum and are looking forward to this next level.
- We’re also continuing with Handwriting Without Tears. We completed the “Get Set for School” book last year and she’s now working on the Kindergarten curriculum.
- For Math we chose Right Start Math. So far, we LOVE this. I am so impressed by many aspects and I LOVE that it’s so hands-on.
- For Social Studies, History and Science, I’m creating my own, standards-based units, which I will be sharing on here
So here’s to our first year of homeschooling. If you’re homeschooling I’d love to hear what curriculum you’re using and how your first few weeks are going.