Friday, September 20, 2013

A week in the life of a homeschooler

So when we were considering homeschooling, I remember feeling overwhelmed at the thought that we might be home together all day, every day, ALONE! I laugh at this notion now, but at the time it was a HUGE concern. And if I didn't find other homeschoolers or activities, I probably would have decided against homeschooling. Now granted, here in the Hudson Valley of New York, we are blessed with a large group of local homeschoolers. We are even more blessed that many of them are quite active and social. However, in this day and age of internet and social media, no matter where you live, I am sure you can find at least one family to get together with.

For those who are interested in how to get started, here is what I did. I started on facebook and found local homeschool groups. I then tried Yahoo groups. I had more success there actually. I joined and started going to activities BEFORE we were homeschooling (I pulled my kids out of school) because I needed to know if this was something that fit our lifestyle. From there it just snowballed. Now we have so many activities, we couldn't fit school in if we tried!

So if you are hesitant to homeschool because you feel like you will have to go it alone, let me give you some insight into a week in our lives:

Mondays: kids do morning work, we have a homeschooler archery program at our local park at 11:30 & then J has dance class from 4-6.

Tuesdays: we are a part of a co-op that meets every Tuesday from 10-3. There are about 17 FAMILIES in the co-op. Game club at local school 3:30-4:30, J has cheer practice 6-7:30

Wednesdays: morning work, possibly playdates or a homeschool girl scout trip or library program, baseball 5:30-7 for C, cheer 6-7:30 for J.

Thursdays: library in the am, art group in the pm, girl scouts 3:30-5 every other week.

Fridays: morning work, group trips or playdates, or maybe some down time at home

Saturdays: baseball games, play with neighborhood friends or school friends

Sundays: cheerleading usually in the am, church when cheer is over & down time with family

Clearly, we are RARELY sitting home doing nothing. And my kids have never been more social or had more quality social interactions and friendships. Now if this schedule stresses you out, you do not have to participate in all of these things. This works for our family. The moral of the story is: if you are hesitant to homeschool for lack of socialization, DON'T BE! There is so much out there for homeschoolers! Get on the web and find something near you!

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Aaaahhhhhh Fall is arriving. Crisp air, apple picking, cozy sweaters, beautiful colors....all the things I love about Fall. However the reality is......massive closet clean outs, clothes shopping, organizing cabinets & other homeschool areas, starting to work on schedules again, lesson planning...............

Actually I like the latter as well. I feel so much better after I de-clutter and organize. And now that we don't go to school, we do not have the mad rush to get supplies, all the trendiest clothes, the coolest backpacks and lunch boxes, or waking up early. However I do feel a bit of stress over getting everything organized, planned and ready to go. So in an attempt to keep my own sanity and de-stress, I thought I would try to put things in perspective for all of us that are getting ready to go back to school - or not!

1. Yes your child will survive without EVERY latest trend

My 8 year old is obsessed with what is cool, fashionable, and making sure she is well put together. I'm not sure where she came from as I walk around in sweats, a ponytail & no makeup most of the time! However I try to respect the fact that this is who she is while maintaining a balance. Therefore I let her pick out one or two things she thinks she really loves (which I know will end up in a ball at the bottom of the closet in 2 months) and fill in the rest with basics (jeans, leggings, long sleeve tops, sneakers). I also encourage her to save her own money for these things. It helps put into perspective (for her) what is truly important to her. She totally ,really, has to have, must get, this awesome, glittery, one of a kind sweater!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!! Until she has to pay for it. Then all of a sudden, Hmmmmmmm Nah it's not that great!

2.  The teacher can wait a week or 2 for the 75 sharpened pencils she asked for

I know that school supplies are important. I have been a classroom teacher. I know the teachers have minimal budgets and need to accomplish a lot with that budget. So I am not saying I won't send in pencils, but I also know at least 15 other kids are coming in with most of that stuff as well. So it will be okay if I don't have that yellow, plastic, one inch 3 ring binder, with a special pocket on the side on the first day.

3.  Your kids are going to be cranky no matter what!

When we went to school, I used to start 2 weeks before school, waking my kids up earlier and earlier to gradually get them ready for the school schedule. It never worked. Luckily as a homeschooler this is a non issue now. But for many of you, it is a BIG issue. However my kids were still cranky, tired and a mess that first week regardless. I say party on till the bitter end! Going from summer, with no schedules, staying up late, sleeping in, doing what they want when they want to waking up early, rushing out the door, following structure and rules all day, & homework is a rough transition. Don't ruin the last few weeks or days of summer by instituting curfew. It's a lost cause, so have fun while you still can!

4. Finally take a deep breath!

This too shall pass. It's very easy to get wrapped up in the hype, even if you homeschool. Everyone around you is rushing around, clearing store shelves, and getting on schedule. This year, slow down. Take a time out, Focus on making some lasting summer memories with your child. They grow up so fast and soon won't be around or interested in the backyard fire, smores & glow sticks.

The pencils can wait!