Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Last week, we officially started school. Home school, that is. Two weeks ago the public schools around here started, and I thought that once I saw the busses around our neighborhood, saw the swarm of cars dropping off and picking up at the designated times at the elementary school, that I'd feel, at best, weird.
But it wasn't. And it isn't. We're just doing a little schooling. But it's fun and easy and fits right in with the flow of living. Sometimes the brothers bug us, but it's cool. We take care of what we have to do, and then continue on. Hannah seems to be blossoming since we've started some concrete lesson time. She's so excited to read a three letter word, she can barely contain herself. And I can barely contain my joy at getting to do it all with her. I don't feel like I want her out of my hair, at least not most of the time. And for that there's "Quiet Time."
The other day at the park, I watched her playing with her friends, imagining stuff up and acting it out, getting into little spats, and then making up, creating cozy houses out of grass and dirt, and my heart was full. She's got great friends. Friends whose parent's I KNOW and TRUST. Parent's that are MY friends too. I know who she sits by everyday. Me. And her brothers. And more often than you'd think, her homeschool buddies! Her church pals! Her grandparents! Her godmother! It made me think of this book I've been reading.
It probably won't be super duper fantastic fun every day, day in and day out. I know that. But it's the right thing for us right now. It's do-able and fulfilling. It's kind of exciting!
So here's what life with two wee ones, and homeschool kindergartener on a day we stay home looks like:
Wake up.
Make beds.
Tidy up.
Get dressed.
Eat breakfast.
Clean up after ourselves.
Chores. (Like watering the garden, laundry, etc.)
Play. (Outside, mostly.)
Lesson Time. Phonics, Bible, Math, Lesson book* activities.
Read books.
Prepare lunch.
Eat lunch.
Read more books.
Nap for little ones.
Quiet time for Mom and Hannah (Could be time to play with stuff that she likes to do without her brother interrupting, could be a video I approve of, could be drawing. I just need about an hour of not getting any one anything to drink to stay sane.)
More book reading.
Craft or Activity (like a phonics game).
Chores before daddy comes home.
Prepare Dinner. Sometimes the kids help. Sometimes I make them go outside so I don't go bonkers while slicing onions.
Then once dad gets home, its a whole different routine.
*Her Lesson book is just a sketch pad to contain all her lessons. So far it has some re-told-in-her-words Bible stories, illustrations, as well as some number and word writing practice. Some crafts are glued in as well, like a leaf she found on our walk (the walk I lost my phone on - now I will really always remember that day) and she just took some construction paper and placed it over the leaf and colored over it with crayon to get the leaf print. I think it will be fun to see her progress over time, and to be able too look at her lessons for reference and for fun. I remember in high school my most favorite teacher taught my US History Class. He had us all use a notebook for all our lessons and had us illustrate them, and even color them. It really aided in remembering the material, and made the class a pleasure instead of a drag. I even still have them and recently looked over them fondly! Hannah is a pretty artistic person, and has always loved to draw. I'd like for her to practice and pursue drawing as one of her life-skills and hobbies. She has said she would like to be an author and illustrator one day, that is if she doesn't become a ballerina/librarian.
So, Natasha asked me why I considered homeschooling in the first place, and maybe some of the above explains it. But I really don't feel like I should have to "let go" of my 5 year old. I really don't care if my kids are a little geeky. In fact, I'd prefer it. I myself hated school. I cried every end of the summer. I felt sick every recess. I hid things from my parents. I became peer dependent. Jason had troubled teen years. I want my kids to stay innocent as long as possible, and I'm not sure that that is a priority for a lot of parents. I'm not going to let my kid dress like a stripper in training, and I really don't want to have that fight with my little girl. I think all the testing is stupid. I think all the homework for little kids is even stupider. So I'm going to keep my kids close and make no apologies for it. I don't think kids need school to be well-socialized, well-rounded, functional, happy people. Being Orthodox, I like that we can go to a Liturgy during the week if we want to, or if there is a special feast that day. Lets face it, the world is getting yucky. Being a Christian with traditional views is becoming increasingly unpopular. The word "bigot" keeps coming up an awful lot. Are there good schools? Sure. Are there wonderful teachers? Of course! But there are a lot of crappy schools, and for every superb teacher I had growing up, there were about five stinkers. With everything, there is no guarantee on children. I don't know what kind of people my kids will be when they all grow up. I pray for them a lot. But I want to rest assured that I gave it my all, that I questioned the status quo, and made a firm decision to do the best thing for my family. Like so many things I have discovered in recent years, we can do better than what is considered "normal." God help me.


Blogger jenny baker said...

i personally loved going to school. even now when i see kids getting on the bus in the morning, i secretly want to go with them and paste noodles on construction paper! times were much easier then.

but seriously, i'm glad you're doing what you feel you need to do for your kids. that's what makes a good mom! :)

2:25 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Yeah. School is tricky. I am glad I went to school (a small Christian one) but it is not always easy. Do what is best and may it become clear through the years what is best for each year. which goes with the flow nicely!

I love the picture posted. it is beautiful.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Lauren S. said...


Jenny, you can come and glue noodles onto construction paper any time you want with us! :)

After reading and re-reading this post, I'm hoping I'm not coming across as though I think kids going to public school is some awful thing that only negligent parents would do. I don't think that. If I had lived in an area with a great school district I most likely would have sent my kids with confidence. But since I don't, in an effort to figure it all out, I started looking into home schooling (much like us finding Orthodoxy - to rule it out!) and ended up falling in love with it. I have a friend who recently told me she really thought I wasn't going to homeschool. But here we are. Once I make a decision, I'm pretty good at following through with it. And I agree, schooling is going to be a year to year decision. I'm a firm believer in if it's not working, change it.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Sonja said...

This might be slightly beside the point, but I love the idea of a ballet-dancing librarian. Go Hannah!
(Also, kudos on the homeschooling decision. Your post doesn't sound inflammatory at all, which I like a lot.)

9:25 PM  
Blogger Xenia Kathryn said...

Thanks for the post, Lauren! It's neat to see all of my favorite bloggers posting about their schooling decisions (must be that time of year :D).

I'm still waffling on the homeschooling decision... fortunately I still have another two years to figure it out :) I guess my only goals for my kids are to love learning, to work hard and to be in a healthy schooling environment (along with the most important, to love God, which hopefully goes without sayin g:D). Homeschooling is such an exciting option... we'll see!

Blessings in this new and wonderful endeavor!

9:40 PM  
Blogger tifandtheboys said...

I love that you have decided to home school.... we may still home school Bjorn, but with Odin- we decided to public school him. Schools in Oregon are so very different from California. We have option schools, like environmental learning school- which I love!
Odin thrives with interaction from peers, and we dont have many peers around us..... one thing though, since I did decide to public educate- i am totally overly involved. I volunteer weekly, I interact with his teachers and staff, I have made myself a person known to his friends and classmates.
This summer though- I got a great taste of homeschooling- and my teaching degree got used..... with lessons for Odin and Bjorn. We have a lesson time every week day.... and it has been great fun! enjoy your homeschooling experience, it is a great opportunity to see your child grow. Let me know if you need ideas for a particular lesson idea- I have some fun ones up my sleeve. LOVE!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Lauren S. said...

Tif - You'd be a totally rad homeschooler. And I know you're for sure the coolest cookie-bringin' room mom there is! That was my original plan, to be the overbearing room mother, but with other littles it gets hard to commit to that, plus some schools don't allow it.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Therese said...

I love this post Lauren! You make me glad to be homeschooling!

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like the more I look into homeschooling and hearing others' stories, I just feel more compelled to do it myself if I have the means and opportunity when I have kids. I think you make a good point about the school district your kids are in making a difference in your decision to do it or not. Thank you for posting this and taking the time to answer my question. You certainly provided more for me to think about!

11:49 PM  

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