Reflections on our First Year of Home School and My Ultimate Favorite Resource

So, we have wrapped up a year of home school 'round here. We are taking the first half of July off and will then start "first grade." I put first grade in quotes because I'm honestly not sure how to classify her and I don't want to classify her.

Parents all know how fast we can fall into the comparison game with our kids. I am not gonna lie, I had more than a few "freak out" moments this year when I noticed what a couple of other Kindergarten age kids were doing that Gwenyth is not yet doing.

BUT, then I reign myself in and remember that I very purposefully followed a more (what Eau Claire, WI public schools would call) 4K pace. 

The curriculum that we will begin in July, Moving Beyond the Page, doesn't go by grade level but by age. So, Gwenyth will be doing the age 5-7 curriculum.

This past year, I did not use a purchased curriculum. I did all the planning and prep. One resource that I used was What your Kindergartener Needs to Know. It was a great guide for planning activities which I found mostly on Pinterest. There is an UNBELIEVABLE amount of ideas to be found on the internet. It can actually be overwhelming!

At first, I loved planning but, as the year progressed, the overwhelm of choices was taxing me. I also realized I wasn't doing the greatest job of making sure to "review" skills. So, I am looking forward to the focus of MBTP having a day to day plan set for me with freedom to augment with creative ideas that I find.

Our schedule was/is very loose. Actual instruction took place all different times of the day depending on my husband's and my schedule. I try to make a list of the days activities with the kids while we eat breakfast. It's usually as simple as: eat, play, school lessons, eat, music lessons, play, eat, pick up, watch, read aloud, bed.

Play is the most important part of our day and, honestly, there were days that we skipped formal lessons because the kids were playing so well. I found school was NEVER a good interruption to creative, fun play. Meaning it brought on a holy terror fit. On the other hand, if the kids finally had enough of each other and needed space, school became a GREAT interruption to arguing and wining.

Although most lessons incorporated multiple subjects, Mondays were typically focused on letters and literature, Tuesdays on numbers and math, and Thursdays on science. Fridays were by far our favorite days. I want to share my ultimate favorite resource here.

Each map is filled with amazing illustrations of everything including wild life and land forms to famous people that the country is known for. The kids would choose a country and point to a picture of something they would like to learn more about. Then, we would research it together. We have spent HOURS together learning about all kinds of things. 

We are currently in the middle of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It is definitely NOT Gwenyth's favorite time of day, but it IS clearly working. She is making very good progress with her reading. We will continue through this as we begin MBTP. 

Did we have hard days? Yes.

Did we have days I questioned my decision to home school? Yes.

But mostly, we had good days. I feel a whole new level of relationship with Gwenyth which I love. 
It is such a privilege to witness light bulb moments and her growth physically, emotionally, and intellectually so intimately.