I started homeschooling today! Yes, I realize that a random Sunday in the middle of the summer is a fairly strange day to start homeschooling your kids, but hey, it’s the first of the month so it felt fitting in my OCD brain somehow. Well, that, and the kids were basically begging me last night to start. We began our read aloud book- Charlotte’s Web- earlier in the week and now we’re over a week ahead in terms of what the curriculum would suggest we be reading along with our school work, and so I figured why not just dive into the whole thing?
Readers, I don’t know what I expected homeschool to be like, but I have to be honest… Today was better than my wildest dreams. Hear me out here, guys, because I know I have a tendency to be sarcastic, but I’m being real. I have been prepping and praying for months now about this whole thing, and I’ve been listening to homeschool seminars and learning as much as I can possibly learn so that I would be prepared mentally and otherwise when the time came for this whole train to start moving.
Well, the train started moving today, and we had a complete blast.
We went to church this morning, and honestly the day started a little rocky. I was up late last night due to the close day of business for the month, and so it was a little rushed and tense getting up, dressed and fed before heading up to Columbia for church. But once we got back home, the kids were still asking if we could start, and so I figured that there was no time like the present! I haven’t been to the store to get erasers, or pencils or any of the journal things I know I’ll need. But I do have the curriculum (sonlight, if you’re wondering) and I do have the heart. And so we just began.
Readers, we completed a full day of school- Merit in Kindergarten and Cadence in first grade- in about two and a half hours time, and both kids stayed excited and engaged the entire time. Yes, Gage napped most of the time, which was a blessing, but I really needed this first day to look like this. I just needed to know that I could actually do this, and that it would be fun, and that I wouldn’t die.
We started with a devotional and then jumped into history and the bible. We went over a memory verse and practiced looking it up in an actual bible so we could learn Scripture addresses. Then we leaned about what homes look like in Mongolia and discussed how their similar and different from our home. After history/bible, we jumped into spelling and writing. If you know me, you know this is NOT my strong suit. Honestly, I don’t know how to teach my child how to read- it’s a real fear of mine, because the English language is impossible. The whole ‘sound it out’ thing just sets us up for failure, I’m telling you. We can’t sound out words in English. I knew that already, but I re-learned that today.
We were learning about short ‘a’ sounds in words. The rule is if a vowel is surrounded by consonants, then the ‘a’ is going to be short (i.e hat, cat, bat). OR if the vowel is followed by one or more consonants, then it will also be short (i.e. fast, last, past). Well, one of the examples it suggested I have Cadence spell was ‘hall.’ The ‘a’ should be short except for the fact that she pronounced it ‘hal’ when reading it with the other examples given. Yes… the ‘a’ in fast sounds a little different than it does in hall, but it’s still short so just learn it!!! I mean, seriously, what do you even say?
It reminds me of a sketch I saw by one of my favorite comedian’s Brian Regan:
I remember my teacher asked me, “Brian, what’s the ‘i’ before ‘e’ rule?”
“Um… i before e … ALWAYS!”
“What are you, an idiot, Brian?”
So she explains it, “No, Brian, it’s:
‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’
and when sounding like ‘a’
as in neighbor and weigh
and on weekends and holidays
and all throughout May
and you’ll always be wrong
no matter what you say.”
This is real life man! He’s joking, obviously, but only kind of!
Either way, we survived spelling and writing, while Merit learned the letters A and B and found things in our living room that started with both letters. Then we moved onto math, which was a breeze. I’m dreading math almost as much as spelling, but we went over the lesson about place value and Cadence picked up on it in no time. She’s actually ready to take the test on the concept tomorrow and we’ll move onto the next lesson, which was not expected. Winning at life!
Then came science. We read from a book about animals- we’re starting in zoology so you can guess where our first field trip will be- and then we took a nature walk (well it was a scooter ride) to see what kinds of animals, insects and birds we could find. It was hot as Hades out, so the walk was short. Afterwards, the kids drew what they had seen on the walk, and we were basically done for the day.
But here’s the deal, they wanted to keep going! We had completed the days curriculum and they wanted more. I must be an excellent teacher is all I can figure out! As a matter of fact, they worked in their workbooks (basically practicing concepts like letters, simple math, writing numbers, etc) until they went to bed tonight! I was shocked and so very excited.
I’m not an idiot, though. I know this is probably more like an anomaly than the bad days will be. I get that I’m probably doomed because things went so smoothly on the first day. I know that this too, shall pass. All good things must come to an end. I know that I don’t have three dream kids in my class- I created them! I know what they’re capable of! I am fully aware that the storm will come…
Just a few days ago, we had a major storm hit pretty much out of the blue. As I’ve shared with you all before, having a wether app on my phone is more for amusement than actual useful information. I had checked the weather in the morning and there was about a 30% chance of rain later in the afternoon. I took my three kids and my house keepers two kids to the free summer movie at 11am and came out of the theater to the darkest sky I’d seen in a while- and it storms here a lot. I have to be honest, the sky looked ominous to say the least.
I got the kids in the car without checking my phone, but when I got home I realized that Thomas had called and texted me about the fast approaching storm. My phone had alerted me of a severe thunderstorm, which means anything from hail, wind, and yes, even tornados are possible. I made it home about 20 minutes before the storm front hit. Thomas thought we would miss the brunt of it, but when I looked at the radar, it didn’t seem that way to me…
It came on hard and fast, just like it always does, and we got the dogs and kids inside before the wind went from a light breeze to as much as 70 mile per hour gusts. My sweet husband has the most odd behavior during these storms. He was the one who warned me it was coming, and yet it wasn’t until the trees in the yard were damn near blowing over that he decided he needed to go outside and make sure things were secure.
The other day when we had a smaller storm hit, in the middle of the constant lightning over head, he decided that he needed to go find the cows in the field. What he actually thought he would do with the cows when he either did, or didn’t find them, I have no idea, but he has this sudden urge to really up the adventure of the storm and head out into it.
So as the gusts were pushing water in through every open window in my house, and my friend and I were rushing around to close everything up, Tom’s out in the storm running around like a crazy person. Branches were snapping off the trees all around us, the hot tub lid went flying in one direction, and the power threatened with every big gust to give up, and yet, my husband figured it was a good time to be outside.
Honestly, it was probably the worst storm I’ve seen here, but it only lasted about 20 minutes. We lost power, a lot of tree limbs and almost a turkey- he survived, but he was in rough shape. He had gotten himself tangled in some expensive, but unplugged, electric fencing (that we had to cut him out of- there goes that money) and his two friend turkeys had turned on him and had nearly pecked him to death. His head was a bloody pulp when we found him shortly after the storm had passed. It didn’t take long, but you could say that the storm will take you down in ways you were not expecting.
I know this is true in our marriage. I know this is true in parenting. And I’m expecting it in our homeschool adventure too. I know the storms will come. I know we’ll be blown down. I know I’ll likely be pecked to a bloody pulp at times (figuratively speaking of course). And I know I’ll probably lose power from time to time. I expect that.
But then comes the rainbows, right? Those moments where you know the storm has passed and the power is back on and you look around and see that everyone has survived. Not only that, we’re thriving! We see what we have, and we realize what we lost was hardly much to worry about.
Am I right?
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know the storms will come. I can see them on the horizon already. And even though I see them on the radar, I believe that they’ll catch me off guard. I’m sure sometimes I’ll be hunkering down in preparation, and sometimes I’ll be running around in the thunder and lightning, distracted by the things I can’t even fix if I wanted to.
I know those days will be a part of our story.
But for today… today was rainbows. PRE- storm rainbows; the kind you see when you know there is moisture in the air and a storm is in the area, but it hasn’t hit you yet. Well, the storm hasn’t hit us yet… but I already know it will be worth weathering.
Thank you, Lord, for the encouragement today. Thank you for giving me the gift of confidence as I take this crazy step into this crazy adventure. I know I’m ill-equipped, but I know you don’t call the equipped, you equip the called. So here I am, showing up and digging in, ready to be equipped. I know you have started a work in me, and I know this is part of your good purpose for ME, not just for my children. But as I put them to sleep tonight, I’ve never felt more patient and more excited for the kids they’re going to become, and the journey we’re going to walk together, and the relationship we’re going to build. Oh, I know the the storm will come, Lord… but you are my refuge. You will come and set me free when I find myself stuck.
And I can’t wait to see what’s to come… (I’ve got my umbrella!)