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Thursday, July 2, 2015

#10 FREAK OUT: in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol =)

This is the 10th in a series about teaching school with lots of kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about.  These 10 things would have revolutionized my life, had I done them all from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

#10 FREAK OUT!!!!
photo credit "robmcnealy.com

     This is probably less of a blog post and more of a letter of encouragement.  When I started off homeschooling, I had such visions of grandeur.  Images flashed through my head of all these fun and exciting things we would do and learn!  How my children would be ahead in everything, know Latin, music, and excel in all the arts!  I didn't think it would be so hard to "do kindy" and take care of 2 littles at the same time.  I never dreamed that I would feel like throwing in the towel and sending them to public school because I WAS A FAILURE as a teacher, as evidenced by the fact that I had 2 babies/toddlers and 3 school age kids and our entire week of "school was watching leap frog... again, and doing some costco workbooks.  I questioned.  I toiled.  I struggled.  I doubted.
     The truth is I WAS NOT FAILING but I had placed higher expectations on my life, and my children, than were necessary.  I kept soldiering on, tweaking our school days, tweaking our curriculum.  Some days I was a HUGE SUCCESS and others MEH-NOT SO MUCH.  Through it all though, I was in it!  I was committed!  I was willing to let God continue to change and mold me into the Mom HE wanted me to be and you know what, it totally got better!
   
   In my 12 years being a homeschool Mom, I have learned some very valuable things; some of those only recently!  These are all things I used to
FREAK OUT about and now I am sailing that beautiful sea of
"NOW I KNOW BETTER".  To end out this series, I would like to share some "gems" with you that I have learned.  Beautiful tid-bits to help you realize all this "freaking out" is really not needed.  Satan tells us lies people!  Lies that we are failing, that we aren't smart enough, that we are ruining our children, that we can't do it, that we are not able to do it.  (if your lips are move'n, if your lips are move'n, then you lie, lie, lie!)  It's time for  us all to STOP BELIEVING THE LIES!  The truth, the truth, the truth is that we CAN DO IT, WE WILL DO IT, WE WILL SUCCEED!!!  So what are these "FREAK OUT" things???  Here's 5, knock yourself out!!


FREAK OUT #1:  I'm totally freaking out because we haven't done school at all this year!
     Okay, so how old are your kids?  Hmm not in highschool.  You will be fine.  The more I homeschool, the more I think that you really can cover just about everything you need to between grades 7th and up... and thats if you want to be done with highschool in the 10th grade so that grades 11th-12th are at a college.  Now, I am not an "unschooler" but I am starting to see a method to some of the madness ;)  (saying that with love).  What I have realized though is that if all you did was teach them to read and work on math, you really arent going to miss anything else if you saved all the rest for the upper grades.
     Filling your days with lots of learning through reading, games, videos, songs, going places, talking, talking, talking, have I mentioned talking?  Your kids will learn so very much!!! Talk about anything and everything.  Give them things to make their own books, and posters, and flip books, and lapbooks, and pop ups, and comics and, and and and and!!!  they will learn.  They will learn about maps and places and cities and countries and animals and insects and the commas I am not using because I don't feel like it right now ;)  THEY WILL LEARN!  Despite you and BECAUSE OF YOU!!  If you never touched on formal history and science until the last 4 years of their school life... they will be just fine!  SO DON"T FREAK OUT!!!

FREAK OUT #2:  WE ARE SO TOTALLY BEHIND AND I DON'T THINK WE CAN CATCH UP!!!!
     So here's the thing: If you do feel like you are "behind" the first thing you need to do is look at what you are "behind in".  (Read "freak out #1 again) If its NOT math and reading... stop freaking out.  History, science, ect can be taught more formally later or on a slower progressive curve.  If, for instance, you are using a curric like Mystery of History, it's perfectly fine to stretch the volume you are in out to encompass more than one school year.  It really is okay.
      If you are really "behind" in stuff, take a look at why.  Is it because you need to prioritize school better?  Is it curric? Do you need to carve out some one-on-one time?   Is the child not ready to be moved ahead?
     My son A9 was in 4th grade this last year.  He has a summer birthday so he is a "young grade level" kid.  Technically he could actually be in the grade below him.  These are good things to keep in mind.  So, reading has not been his thing.  He is still "behind" but he is progressing for him and it gets better and better every day.  And we did implement some things this year to keep encouraging him in his reading.  However, in MATH, he started the year off about 1/4 of the way through 4th grade math.  He ended the year a little more than 1/4 of the way into his 6th grade math (teaching textbooks).  Did you compute that?  My "behind in reading" kid did over 2 years of math in one year!  His brain was there, in math land, not in reading land!  So I didn't freak out.  He's progressing just fine with reading.  My outlook needed to change....  he's not "behind", he is just on a different schedule =)  If you really are behind in stuff though- chuck everything off your plate except what really counts.  set some goals and work on those.  Put back in the other things as the "behind stuff" get stable and are in an uphill progression.

FREAK OUT #3:  THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE TEACHING WAYYYYYY MORE STUFF THAN I AM!!!
     No, no they are not.  How do I know this?  Why because up until this past February (2015) I had 3 kids still in the public school system.  Let me share a few things with you: 1)I actually had to teach them the story about the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving,;  I still can't believe that.  2)The public schools aren't teaching everything either!!!  (go on, get out your shock face!)  They do math and language arts every day.  That is the only thing they are doing every day.  They have units they do here and there, throughout the year, on science and history/social studies and if they do not get the math and LA done, they ditch the other stuff.  (No wonder they had no clue about the pilgrims!). PE and ARTS are hit and miss as well.  This is kinda the way their world turns until about 7th grade.  So, if the public school isn't even doing all 9 billion subjects, why are you stressing out about it?!?!?!  Teach your child to read and to love reading and keep on a progressive level with math.  Anything else that you missed along the way- assign it to them from junior high on up!

FREAK OUT #4:  But this other homeschool family in our circle, well their kids know Latin and there's all this stuff about the different phases of learning and they all play the violin!  We don't measure up =(
     Measure up to who?  The Jones's?  Stop comparing yourself to other people!  They don't have the same life/kids/family/worries/joys as you do.  I admit, my kids would prolly be a lot more "highly educated" had some of the other families I know have been theirs.  But you know what?  They aren't theirs, they are mine!  Being the "smartest homeschool family ever" should not be your aim in life and I am sure it's not all it's cracked up to be.  It really will be okay.  Do they love and follow Jesus?  Are you teaching them to live a life for Gods glory and not their gain?  Then KEEP GOING!!!  You are doing just fine!!  It really is okay if we don't all school the same way and with the same scholastic goals.  It really is alright.  IT REALLY IS!

FREAK OUT #5:  I WON'T BE ABLE TO TEACH MATH... OR MIDDLE SCHOOL... OR HIGHSCHOOL!  
     Yes you can and yes you will!  First of all, there are so many amazing programs and curriculum's out there.  Anyone can do it and that includes you.  Secondly, just because your child is getting older, that does not make you dumber.  Besides, even if it did (but it doesn't- not even "placenta brain"), by the time they get to highschool, they should be pretty independent.  They hopefully got the hang of using the math computer program, learned how to research and even if you only required ONE essay a year, if it was a good one then they know how to do that too.  They can read, they can write, they can move through curriculum.  It really will be okay and you really can do it!  And you really are smart enough too =)

     My friends, keep fighting the good fight.  Keep pouring into your kids.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Don't give up!!  Don't freak out!!  Take it one day at a time and be encouraged, YOU'VE GOT THIS!


That concludes this blog post (and this series!).   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on "FREAK OUT!"  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are:

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