Homeschool – the good, the bad, and the honest

October 18, 2013


Did I forget to mention we started homeschooling our children this past spring?

Oh…. Well… We did.
Actually, I did.
But it was a WE decision.
Mostly me, but in the end it was we.

Let me start over.

Clark Kent is working on a new story! #superman

Last spring were facing a lot of challenges. My husband’s job is part of a training unit – it’s called ACRC or Active Component training Reserve Component. In short, he is part of the training program for Activated Reserve and National Guard Solders who come to Fort Bliss. This is not a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job. In fact, during the first 6 months we lived with a 48 – 72 hour window of when, where, and how long he would be working. It was very stressful. It honestly felt like a deployment where in my mind, I had to handle everything. But he wasn’t deployed – in fact he would get frustrated with me because he didn’t feel included. Which I really couldn’t do, but had to learn how to?

It was a hot mess.

As time went by, the schedules became more organized to the point that a weekly schedule is now printed and on the side of our fridge. But the challenge of balancing random Tuesday / Wednesday days off and him working through the weekend with two children who were in school and one little one at home – yeah – that was the hard part. We weren’t getting family time together. The time we had was pressed into evenings filled with cooking dinner, finishing homework, and catching up on chores to be ready for the next day.

#siblings #reading #beautiful  #springbreak

There were a few other challenges with our local school district (we live off post, so it was a civilian school) that were part of our decision as well, but the biggest reason this idea was pulling at my heart was our lack of family time. So during spring break, I took the kids to Barnes and Noble and bought some workbooks. Each day we spent two or three hours in the morning at our kitchen table for teaching, reviewing, and learning math, english, and handwriting.

I learned a lot about our children in a very short time.

A is for Ant. ah ah Ant! #phonics #oldschool

Science, History, and problem solving were already am almost daily part of our life – but we started recording ideas and adventures in our ‘field journals’. Each child had a composition book to draw and write daily. Here is our oldest with a potato plant he grew. “Look Mom! My potato had babies!”

Potatoes! Mommy! Look!  My potato pieces had BABIES!!! #homeschool #elpaso #garden #milspouse

At the end of spring break, we had a family meeting to talk about what we’d accomplished. What the kids thought. What we thought. We made the pros and cons list. We talked about our budget. We talked about logistics. We talked about my sanity. We talked about all of our possible options.

In the end, we decided to withdraw our children from public school.
And we haven’t looked back.

#math #patterns #snack #learning #fun #yummy #shapes

If you are considering homeschool for your family, the first place I encourage you to go for information is a local homeschool group and start researching your state’s requirements. I can honestly say that by meeting the amazing women in the Fort Bliss Homeschool Association, I found the confidence to start this new adventure. They have been my sounding board, an incredible information resource, and an endless source of encouragement and humor.

This year, we are using the Free Online Curriculum for our children. If you are considering homeschooling your children and the cost of curriculum is holding you back, I encourage you to check out her website. It was created by an amazing Homeschool Mom in Pennsylvania who has blogged her oldest child’s curriculum to use for her younger children – and it has grown by leaps and bounds (the facebook group now has 12,873 members!).

I just wanted to keep you company #showertime

I’m sure I will be writing more about this as time goes by – so feel free to ask questions in the comments.

All in all, it has been much more work on my part, but it has also been very rewarding to teach our children new skills, foster their enthusiasm for learning, and encourage growth in their academic subjects as well as good citizenship. The flexibility to teach our children while Daddy is working Saturday and Sunday and then have a random Tuesday off to spend time as a family to travel or volunteer or just as a family has been a wonderful blessing. With so many deployments, moves, and big life transitions in the past few years, this time together has been so very valuable.

And it gives William a lot more wardrobe choices for school clothes.

Hello my name is "Captain America's Mommy" #boysareawesome #superhero

Have you ever thought about about homeschooling?

What are your favorite children’s books to read with your children?

Our oldest is currently addicted to the Captain Underpants Series!

, ,

About Ann Marie @ Household6 Diva

View all posts by Ann Marie @ Household6 Diva

17 Responses to “Homeschool – the good, the bad, and the honest”

  1. Jodi Says:

    We have homeschooled for the past 10 years. Our oldest son is in 11th grade, dd in 9th and youngest son in 7th. I never thought I would homeschool our children 10 years ago, but with one military move after another this was going to be best for our kids. We have enjoyed it. Good luck to you all on your new adventure.

    • Ann Marie @ Household6 Diva Says:

      Thank you! It’s been an adjustment for sure, but wonderful at the same time! :)

  2. Allison Says:

    I have a 3 month old so we’re not to that stage of life yet but homeschooling is something is something I’ve been thinking about for the last year or so. I never thought I would ever even consider it but with the decline of good public schooling and the potential of my husband going active duty in the army (he’s in the Guard now) we’re considering it more and more. I look forward to reading about your experience.

  3. Sidnie Says:

    That last comment about William having more wardrobe choices warms my heart! We always worried about Batman having to go to school as Clark Kent, didn’t we? So sweet!
    I’m proud of you, friend! You’re doing great things- as a mom and wife and TEACHER. You’re exactly the teacher those kiddos need.

    So glad to see you here, writing again. So glad.
    Sidnie recently posted..sixMy Profile

    • Ann Marie @ Household6 Diva Says:

      Thank you Sidnie!!!! You have been such a wonderful friend and cheerleader over the years!!! hugs and smooches to those sweet boys of yours – I can’t wait to take another picnic table reunion photo!!! XO

  4. Susen Waller Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Ann Marie!
    I just started homeschooling my 7-year-old this Fall. Even though I am a teacher, this has been a whole new experience. I am learning more about my daughter each day (her learning style, new interests) and love to watch her bloom!
    My biggest challenge is to “think outside the box” to constantly find new resources to help her (she has ADD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and some other Sensory Processing Disorders).
    I still wouldn’t go back, knowing that she can’t get a one-on-one education anywhere else. I see it as a privilege to be able to stay at home and help her grow & learn.
    Many moms probably feel inadequately equipped in some way, but let me assure you, as long as you love your kids and want to give them the best possible education- you’re perfect!
    There are so many resources out there and a lot of them are free!
    I hope this will encourage some others!

  5. Angie Says:

    Ann Marie, I think I knew you were going to homeschool long before you made your decision – you were already homeschooling the babies, you just made it official!

    The hardest part, for me, is happening now. I have 4 and they are all stair steps born within 6 years and they have all lined up on the edge of the nest and are flying off to college one after another! I don’t think there is a way to mentally prepare for that, just to say that it’s there.

    Their relationship as siblings is awesome, they have a maturity and respect for others that I think is wonderful, but my favorite thing about homeschooling the kids is how close we are as a family.

    In addition to what you do daily, at bed time start reading the English classics beginning with the familiar ones Disney has borrowed and work your way up as they get older. Start a mutual fund account for college for each one and have the same amount auto-deposited each month and don’t think about it. To save on college costs ours went to community college first and transferred. Keep a list of scholarships you hear other kids receive each year and document all volunteer work and extracurricular programs they do on an excel file (everything! you never know what will be helpful when applying for scholarships or college). Find the web page for MWR campgrounds and go camping in the off season, there are so many places to discover out there and a slow, sweet camping trip makes it that much more fun.

    They say the childhood years go fast, but when you homeschool it’s not as bad. You’re not in that constant state of doing and it’s really nice to just be and learn. Most of all have fun with them! It’s a journey that will stay with you all forever.

  6. Holly Says:

    The best too, I’ve found is that when Reese gets home in the evenings (usually the case) I don’t feel like I’m trying to squeeze all my kid and husband time into one evening and being pulled three very important ways! I’ve spent all day with the kids. So, I save up their screen time and some evenings let them go off and do whatever free of guilt knowing I can focus on my husband and have a nice dinner knowing all have gotten plenty of me. I think so often the most important relationship in the family gets put on the back burner. The foundation of the fam, the husband & wife.

    • Angie Says:

      This is a really good and important point. We were so intent on everything involved with kids and their education we put us on the back burner. No, we weren’t even on the stove! We just went somewhere long distance all by ourselves for the first time in 23 years since our oldest was born, that’s pretty ridiculous! Young couples – don’t let this happen to you!

  7. Kelsey Says:

    We are also a military family and a homeschooling family, that uses the same cirruclum that you are using. For the most part my daughter likes it, but she gets bored after awhile so we add things in. We also home school because of my husbands schedule and will more than likely home school once he gets out, because it will be the same type of schedule eigh the job he’s going to get. Beat wishes on your homeschooling journey.

  8. Cortney Says:

    I knew you would be great! You rock at being a great mom and now a fantastic teacher :) love on those kiddos for me.

  9. Fran Says:

    I think, it’s possible, that our husbands are in the same unit here in Bliss lol
    Fran recently posted..Friday LinksMy Profile

  10. Sonja A. Says:

    Hello. I read your blog every now and then; and am soo glad you’re back to writing! :) I have homeschooled our 2 kids for the past 6ish years. We started it for some of the reasons you mentioned. My husband, in the military, was starting to be deployed every other year, and the year he wasn’t deployed, he was training or at a school. I realized very quickly how little our family was getting to spend time together. Now, with homeschooling, we get the freedom to spend time with him when he’s home, spend time with him before he leaves (and when he comes home!!!), and make a schedule that fits our family. :) I really enjoy it. Yes, some days are harder than others, but I think it will work out in the end. I hope you continue in your journey and the family time is better than ever!

  11. Bobbi Says:

    That is awesome for your family. I know that I could never do what you are doing but I wish I could, with C joining the army this past year I feel you on lots of changes.
    Bobbi recently posted..You’ve Been Boo’edMy Profile

  12. Mindy Says:

    Welcome back to the blogging world! I can see and understand with all the transitions you have been making how blogging got put to the back burner. I look forward to more posts and you sharing more from your perspective and experiences.
    Mindy recently posted..A Little Distraction From the Real World: Continuing Our European Vacation Day 4My Profile

  13. Amanda Says:

    Glad to see you writing again! We started using a cyber charter last year. You’re right. The family time is so much better. We’re not as rushed, and the kids are getting what they need educationally. Honestly, with the discoveries we’ve had in the last year, a typical school day just wouldn’t fit in with everything else our family needs to be healthy and happy. I’m so thankful there are options, and glad you’re enjoying the homeschooling journey.
    Amanda recently posted..Find MoreMy Profile