5 Things I Miss About Public School As a Homeschooling Mom

Last week, I posted about how much we’ve loved homeschooling. It’s been such an experience for the both of us, and one that I won’t ever forget. Ever. That being said, it is not all daisies and rainbows. By the end of most days, I need to send her off to her room or somewhere away from me — not because she’s been awful or anything — my energy level is just shot by the end of the day. Which leads me into 5 things I miss about public school…

 

5 Things I Miss About Public School (As a Homeschooling Mom) // Cue to Cue Mama

 

Alone Time

I am an introvert. Z is an extrovert. She is an only child. And we are homeschooling in a place we just moved to. This is taxing on any mom, but for this introverted mama, it is 100% overwhelming at times. Luckily, when E is home, he takes over, allowing me to escape and take a breather. There are also some days where I have to give Zo more independent time stuff to do because I just have to be by myself for a few moments. When she was in public school, I had 7 hours to work, write, run errands, catch up on school…etc.

 

Holiday Parties, Fun Themed Days, and Special Events

 

I know this seems trivial (especially since I just talked about needing alone time, haha), but I really miss all the fun events, themed days, and parties. The staff and teachers always made things like this so fun, and it gave the parents an opportunity to get creative. While I can still be creative and do fun stuff, it’s not in the same way — and to be frank, doesn’t feel nearly as exciting.

 

The Extra Pressure of Homeschooling

 

Parenting comes with this lovely thing called guilt. We’re always wondering what we’re doing that will inevitably screw up our kid in the future. Constantly feeling like we’re not doing enough. This sense of guilt has only been amplified with homeschooling. I’m constantly questioning if I’m giving her enough, if she’ll be behind when she goes back to public school (yes, we plan on sending her back to public school once we move from FL), and whether or not this will all turn out to be a horrible decision. And these thoughts go through my head every day….multiple times a day. With public schooling, while I had my definite issues with the “system” of education, I knew, at her old school, that she was getting an education, she was learning and growing, and she had really great adults surrounding her that could be a lot more objective about her learning.

 

Parent – Teacher Conferences

 

I know, I know. Nobody likes conferences — well, I do. I loved being able to hear about how Z interacted in a classroom setting, hearing about areas in which she excelled, and what areas we could focus on a little bit more. I loved hearing how invested her teachers were in her life. It’s a really powerful thing when you see another adult care so deeply about teaching and helping your child.

 

Linear Learning

 

Again…I know, I know. Part of the reason we’re homeschooling right now is to add freedom to her learning and to escape the insanity of testing and suffocating standards. But part of me still misses being able to clearly define what point A to point B was. This is the control freak in me, I know. And sometimes the thing that is most overwhelming with homeschooling is that there is no right or clear way to do things. While I 100% believe that learning should be adaptive and fluid, I do sometimes wish for a clearer path.

 

All of this being said, I still know that these next few years of homeschooling will be worth it, and I really try to be present for this time in our lives because it won’t always be this way, and I’m so grateful for this season.

5 Things I Love About Homeschooling

Homeschooling has certainly been a weird and fun journey so far. And it definitely has come with it’s fair share of trials as well, but I figured it’s always best to start with the positive stuff (but don’t you worry, the not-so-great post is coming!)

 

5 Things We Love About Homeschooling

 

I’ll be honest, there are a lot of things that I really love about homeschooling. Stuff that I wasn’t expecting. And while I’m only 2 months into this journey, I think we’re finally finding a rhythm to our days, allowing me to see a little more clearly.

There is a lot I love about homeschooling, honestly. A lot more than I was expecting. It’s one of those things where it be hectic, annoying, and chaotic, but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. Here’s a few things I love.

 

An Ease to Our Days

 

There is no doubt in my mind that homeschooling has brought more peace and ease to our lives. I’ve really invested in the “power of yet.” Which is, most simply, the idea that while you may not have something now, it doesn’t mean you won’t attain it in the future. A few of my yets have been: “I don’t have a clear idea of how to schedule science…yet,” or “I’m not quite sure how to teach grammar in an interesting way…yet,” or “We haven’t found our rhythm…yet.” This idea of “yet” has brought so much peace into our lives. It reminds me that I don’t have to have everything mastered (a hard reality for me to face), and it also gives Zoey some room to breathe and experience learning in a new way. There’s also just the simple scheduling of our day that is so much easier. There’s no rush from point A to point B.

Sleep

Z is a night owl through and through. Pretty opposite of me – an early bird (Like a, “I’m always up at 6am,” type of early bird). Homeschooling has provided us a chance to meet halfway. I can get so much more work done (since I work from home) in the morning, allowing Z to sleep a little longer, and giving her a chance to really be aware and awake when learning. At first, I thought I needed a rigid routine of waking her up at 8 am every morning, but quickly realized it didn’t do either of us any good. I felt frantic and chaotic trying to juggle work and learning with Z. And she wasn’t fully awake or on board with learning yet either. So, we’d end up frustrating messes by 10am. Allowing sleep to happen naturally has been one of the best parts of homeschooling, honestly.

 

Learning in New and Hands On Ways

 

I am a crazy researcher. A strength (and sometimes flaw) of mine is being prepared. I want to know everything about everything, and will research the heck out of something until I find an answer. Homeschooling has fed my nerdy researcher and given me an opportunity to teach Z in ways that really work for her. We’ve found that she’s a very visual and kinesthetic type learner, so I can really meet her needs because I’m able to experiment and explore learning with her.

 

Feeding Her Interests

 

The library has become our best friend (oh, the English major in me screams with glee). Homeschooling has allowed us more time to invest in her interests. The other day, she was looking in the biography section of the children’s books and saw The Diary of Anne Frank. She asked me about who she was and I gave her a little back story. We decided her diary might be a bit too much for her to handle at this time, but she still wanted to learn about Anne Frank. So, we checked out a more succinct biography of her and discussed World War II, the Holocaust, and what kindness and bravery mean. It was one of those moments in homeschooling that made me feel fully alive in this journey.

 

Flexibility

 

This might be one thing I love most of all. The serial entrepreneur in me loves a flexible schedule. A schedule that meets your needs as well as makes you productive. If we want to meet E for lunch, we can. If we want to take a field trip to the aquarium, we can. If we want to spend all of school in our pj’s, we can. The flexibility to our schedule feeds into what I talked about in the beginning — the ease of our day.

 

There are a lot of things that I’ve fallen in love with in regards to homeschooling, but it isn’t an easy road. In fact, don’t you worry, you’ll get a post from me on what I miss about public schooling. For this season in our lives, though, it is working out so well, and an adventure that has been so worth it.

Our Homeschool Curriculum for Second Grade

Phew, what a doozy of months these last few have been. As most of you know by now, we decided to homeschool. And it’s certainly been an adventure, to say the least. I’ve put in hours of researching curriculum and educational schools of thought. I would find that I thought Z and I aligned with one, only to discover the exact opposite. I also have to keep in mind that after we leave FL, she will likely go back to public/private/some sort of school (as I plan on completing my masters once E is done). So, while I don’t teach to standards, I do have an idea of what schools are doing, so I can make sure we get her there (albeit, probably not the same way).

I did buy some curriculum (I know, rookie mistake), but some of it has worked out. What we’ve done for the most part though is find our rhythm (which we still don’t have completely, but we’re getting there). Z isn’t a morning person, and I most certainly am, which has presented some issues, but like I said, we’ll get there. But what are we using, curriculum-wise?

 

Our Home School Curriculum for Second Grade!

 

Language Arts

 

Our Homeschool Curriculum for Second Grade

 

Spelling – All About Spelling

I bought All About Spelling  because I read so many excellent reviews of it. It really has a great and specific way of teaching…it’s just not our cup of tea. So, for now, I’m using materials purchased through TeachersPayTeachers.com (LOVE this site!!), as well as some spelling games (mostly found through Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool).

 

Our Homeschool Curriculum for Second Grade

Grammar – First Language Lessons

I’m mixed about this curriculum. It’s really popular in the sphere of homeschool bloggers I follow, but it just hasn’t thrilled me. This could stem from the fact that I’ve found Z to be more of a kinesthetic learner, so while she loves sitting down and interacting with me, I think she gets bored easily. I think I may adapt my own curriculum with some ideas from this one, but won’t likely continue with it. (Side note: If you have an auditory learner, this would be a great curriculum for them!)

 

Our Homeschool Curriculum for Second Grade

 

Reading

No curriculum for this one! I subscribed to Epic! which she has loved, and we frequent our new library (which she also loves). She has a huge love of reading (can I say love anymore in this paragraph?), so I’ve just let her go with it. She’s good about finding books from different genres. You’ll see her books from our most recent library trip above. I’d say that’s pretty diverse. Haha! I’m working on figuring out what read-alouds we can do together for the rest of the year (one of my favorite projects!!)

Writing

Journaling has been huge for us. Z is not a fan of writing, overall, so I’m still searching for ways to make it more appealing. While in brick-and-mortar school, she was taught through Handwriting Without Tears, which seemed to really resonate with her. I have her work book from 1st grade (which they finished about half of), so I’m contemplating buying the teaching manual and starting this curriculum up.

Math

 

 

Life of Fred

She has LOVED this curriculum. I think, after growing increasingly frustrated with math via the common core route, this has been a great shake-up. I also love that he interjects more than just math. We’ve learned about boating, weather, days of the week, and plenty more. Plus, he lives in KS, and mentions it frequently, which she loves. I’m still trying to find more to supplement with, but haven’t found anything we’re entirely crazy about. This is the one area I stress the most about. I’ve never been a huge fan of math, but I can’t deny it’s necessity. It’s also something that she will likely be compared with her peers, and I want to make sure she’s as prepared as possible once she goes back to a brick and mortar school.

Singapore Math

I’ve used this, so far, as mostly a review for Z. We do LoF majority of the week, and then I use Singapore to review basic concepts. I’m not thrilled with it. It’s very visual and great for kinesthetic learners, but I’m not clicking with it. We’ll see what happens.

 

Social Studies


Unit Studies

I am ALL ABOUT UNIT STUDIES when it comes to Social Studies. Z seems to take a genuine interest in SS, so it’s so fun for me to prepare for. We’re about halfway through a unit study on Native Americans (I’ll break down what we did/are doing in a separate post).

We’re getting ready to start a Citizenship/Election unit, and have also started a “Halloween Around the World” unit (which is SO much fun!) TpT (TeachersPayTeachers.com) is seriously a lifesaver for unit studies. I’m addicted.

We’ve been focused mainly on geography and US history so far. I’m pretty intimidated by World History, but I’m doing my research!

Supplementals

SS has been the subject I’ve been most successful with apps. Z uses Stack the States, Presidents v Aliens, and Carmen Sandiego Returns (ahhh, my childhood heart leaps for joy!)

She also has the Leap Frog US & World Maps with her Leap Pen, and loves using it.

Science

 

I’ll be honest. I’ve had the best of intentions with science. It’s been the most difficult for me to wrap my head around, and I’m not sure why. I think I’m overcomplicating it (as is common for me). We’ve gone on nature walks quite a bit, but I’d really like to make them more intentional. We learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin. But I want to do MORE. I’m just really trying to focus my thoughts. There’s so many cool things to do with science, but I guess I just don’t want it to be about doing cool things, I want it to be intentional.

I feel a lot of pressure with this one too. Mainly because I was always so disappointed with how little science she was able to do while in school. It was no fault of the teachers, they just simply didn’t have the time. But again, we’ll get there.

 

Extra-Curriculars

 

Gymnastics

This has been a challenge. She’s always loved gymnastics, but now she’s in a class with girls that are older than her (2-4 years older), and they are, of course, more advanced. Z looks like she is their age (a constant struggle — yes, she is 7. Yes, I know she’s tall. Yes, I’m sure you did think she was around 10. Rinse. Repeat). So, it’s been frustrating. There are a few other homeschool classes at this particular place, so we might try a different day/time to see if it’s more her pace.

Musical Theatre

We just started this class this past week. And she really enjoyed it! She can be pretty shy, but luckily she already knew two of the kids in the class, and they helped make the transition easy. I’m excited to see how this develops.

Cooking

I cannot say enough about our cooking curriculum. We LOVE Raddish! It’s a monthly subscription cooking curriculum. They send three recipes (and a bonus project), a gift for the month (this past month, it was measuring cups) and a patch to iron on to the apron they provide in your first shipment. They also give you lesson plans to align with cooking projects. We used two of the lesson plans, and they were great. Plus, she gets mail every month, and what kid doesn’t love mail? (Use my referral code: fmwhcn and you’ll get a $10 account credit!)

Supplementals

Teachers Pay Teachers

Cannot say enough about this site. Just because Z & I have left a brick and mortar for the time being doesn’t mean I don’t still value the experience of great teachers. Teachers that make items for TpT are insanely passionate about education, and that means a great deal to me. Part of my issue with our school system, in it’s current state, is that educators aren’t given enough opportunity to use their experience to facilitate change and growth in academia. Plus, I’m happy to support teachers with my purchases!

Apps

Like I said above, I found that SS has been my easiest subject to supplement with apps. I’ll make sure to write another blog post with some of our favorite apps. We’re so thankful to be able to have a hand-me-down iPad to supplement us at home.

YouTube

I’ve found that I love supplementing or introducing new ideas/curriculum/units with YouTube. There is SO much on there. Some of our favs so far have been:

Cosmic Kids Yoga : I was so excited when I found this YouTube channel. However, when I went to introduce it to Z, she totally stole my thunder and said she already knew about it because her music teacher back in KC used to use it in class! Regardless, it’s a great focus tool with Z, and it’s just fun! (Plus, I love any chance to share mindfulness practice in obvious ways!)

Welcome to Fresberg : This is such a great channel that tackles everything from hurricane facts to more difficult subjects (ie. I used a video about the Trail of Tears to explain it to Z). Plus, the narrator has a fantastic voice to listen to. So many great videos to choose from.

Anything Kid President: I plan on using a lot of his videos for our Citizenship unit. He’s such a great, inspiring example of goodness. If we could all be like Kid President, the world would be a beautiful place!

So, if you’re just beginning homeschooling — what are you doing curriculum wise (if anything?)