We Are HOMESCHOOLING!

Well today is the day! This week our kids would have been going back to school and today we are starting our first day of homeschool. What is really crazy is that Josh and I started talking about this being a possible option for our family in March. It is mind blowing that we are here at this point in Arizona. But here we are, homeschool affidavit submitted, and we are ready to make the best of this situation.

Let me first start by saying we love our schools. We are sadden that this is happening. But if our schools were open at this point we wouldn’t be sending them for in person learning because of how rampant COVID is in our community. Also we wouldn’t send them because Josh’s job brings him in contact with COVID positive patients and there is also COVID positive firefighters on the department. We could not in good faith send our kids to school in person with the potential that they could be asymptomatic carriers.

We are so thankful that there are school options available to families. Every family situation is different. For us, with the ages of our kids, we just really weren’t sure how I could effectively monitor two kids on computers as well as our little boys for 5-6 hours each day. And all these factors plus others had us more and more leaning towards homeschooling.

In May I started looking at so many different curriculum programs. So many. And there were multiple options that we liked. In the end we opted to stick close to what our school district uses. We felt this would be best if we wanted to transition back to in person learning in 2021.

So fast forward to June when I still thought we “might” homeschool I went to our schools website and printed off every weekly newsletter, spelling list, and reading list I could find for kindergarten and 2nd grade. This gave me a great outline for our year and also a benchmark for what our kids would have been learning each week in their school.

The end of June we buckled down and finally decided this is what we were going to do. I ordered all our curriculum and waited for it to arrive. Not going to lie when the boxes started showing up my first thought was “What the heck am I doing?”. The picture below is just a fraction of what arrived in our boxes.

If you are curious to know what curriculum we are using here it is. We are using the Journey’s series for reading comprehension/grammar, Spalding for phonics, Saxon Math (this was the biggest expense), Sonlight Science Kit A, and The Story of The World for geography/history for our main curriculum.

Our children’s elementary school uses Core Knowledge. The Core Knowledge Sequence is a detailed outline of recommended content knowledge and skills to be taught in language arts, history and geography, visual arts, music, mathematics, and science from preschool through grade eight. I purchased these books in the corresponding grades of my kids to help me stay close to what the curriculum is at the school.

Thankfully I have found many resources online that will go with our homeschool curriculum. If you are looking to supplement remote learning or leaning the homeschool route be sure to check out teacherspayteachers.com.

In addition to these we are also going to be using Long Story Short and New City Catechism to start our day. We have done the companion book to Long Story Short, Old Story New and highly recommend it. They are great 10 minute devotionals with scripture reading and questions.

We are going to doing lots of read aloud books too! I have a list that continues to grow by the week. Not sure how many we will get through but we have lots of options. I have purchased all our read aloud book used through AbeBooks.

For our 3 year olds I purchased the Horizons curriculum package. We love our preschool so much and are hopeful the boys will be able to attend maybe later next year.

The plan as of right now is to do geography/history/bible all together in the morning after breakfast. Then I will work with the kids individually on their math and english. After lunch while the three year olds are napping we will do the extra math page from Saxon, science, and any other worksheet we didn’t finish in the morning.

Obviously none of this is set in stone and my lesson plans are only written out for the first week, because I might need to change this up a few times before we figure out a good routine and system. I am super excited but also nervous. I know that I am so fortune to be able to stay home with my kids and homeschool them.

Whatever situation you are finding yourself in with school options this year just remember that you know your child(ren) best. You know what is the best choice for your family. Obviously some communities won’t have an option when it comes to remote learning. But we all have the choice to make the best of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Just know you aren’t alone and our attitude greatly sets the tone for our households. You got this mama’s. This year won’t be easy but we can do it.

Know I am rooting for you all! Take a deep breath mama’s, keep your heads high, and look for the good each day :).

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Broken Tracks

In the bedroom broken train tracks scatter the floor. My two year olds are happily playing with the remaining intact tracts that lead onto the well worn carpet.

I sit down on the floor with them in the mess they have created. My mind starts to contemplate how I can arrange the tracks to enhance their play. A bridge here, a tunnel there, yes that will be perfect. They will love it.

Except they don’t. “No mama, no fix it”. The little voice continues on. Lamenting as I try to explain that what I am doing is going to be better. So much better.

It is as if each track I lay brings an extra agony of grief to his little heart. Slowly the track starts to come together amongst the whining and grumbling. It is one of my better designs. Slowly the grumbling begins to fade and a smile starts to form on their little faces. They see the broken tracks come together to form something new, something better.

They start working alongside me. Their excitement now evident as they can see what we are creating together. Squeals of laughter and shouts of joy echo out into the hallway as we watch the train go from the top of the hill to the bottom and up and over the bridge.

I sit back and watch. My breath catches for a moment. Here in my children’s bedroom I see just how similar I am to my toddlers. I often grumble or become anxious when life is hard and painful. Not seeing how the Holy Spirit is wanting to work in me. Wanting to use the struggle to grow me into something and someone who is more like Christ. Fixing the broken tracks for my good and for his glory.

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