Our Homeschool Adventure Blog

Chronicling our adventures as a small homeschool family with mom and dad both as teachers

Archive for the tag “transition”

Time for an Update! (With lots of pictures!)

Wow! How quickly time flies! I didn’t realize that it had been three weeks since I posted an update. Things are still going really, really well. Every day we grow even more thankful that we made the decision to homeschool. We knew that it would impact NDEW’s education, but we didn’t realize the impact it would have on our entire family. Our family is so much calmer. I cannot tell you how much I don’t miss the race to get out the door in the morning. We also have so much more time together as a family. I know that sounds like a “duh” kind of statement, but it’s true. We can do things together in the evenings, and not worry about fitting homework in or if bedtime is a little later. Our daily conversations don’t revolve as much around schedules, due dates, keeping up with paperwork and assignments, what money is due when for which event at school… Now we actually talk about what Nathaniel’s learning, leading to some great discussions. We see him extending his learning, especially math, into everyday life situations. Most importantly to us, we see NDEW’s natural curiosity coming back and his ability to handle stress and anxiety increasing. I don’t think we’ve regretted this decision once in the past two months.
In the past few weeks since I posted, we traveled to Pinehurst, NC for NDEW to be evaluated by a pediatric neuropsychologist. We have been working with this doctor for a couple of months now but he has been wonderful in sending us assessments that NDEW could do at home via mail or online. The last bit of the evaluation had to be done face-to-face, so we spent two days in Pinehurst finishing that up. The evaluation went really well, but we won’t have Dr. Franklin’s report for another week or so. I’ll be sure to share what we learn and a little more about what made us decide to seek the evaluation (and homeschool) when we have the report in hand, so stay tuned for that. One especially fun part of this trip was the stop we made on the way home at the Natural Science Center in Greensboro, NC. Here’s a picture from our adventure!

Science Museum
As for what we are learning: We still haven’t settled on a set curriculum and, honestly, I don’t think we will, at least for the remainder of this year. We’re still learning lots though! NDEW is still studying Colonial America but has gotten more into what day-to-day life was like then. In science we have moved on from astronomy and are now studying meteorology. We’re focusing mostly on extreme weather right now but starting to explore other topics as well. We’re approaching math in a couple of different ways. First, we are using the book G is for Googol and NDEW and hubby are going through it a few pages/topics a week. It’s been a really fun way to explore some new math topics. For instance, they made and learned how to use an abacus a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a picture!

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We’re also studying fractions, decimals, percentages and how they all are related to one another. One thing NDEW did was an activity where he had to put clothespins with different decimals on them in order. Here’s a picture of that activity.

clothespin math
In geography we are studying US geography and, as I mentioned in my last post, receiving postcards from all over the country. This is such a fun project and NDEW is learning so much! I think we have around 75 postcards so far from over 30 states!

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In addition, NDEW has been doing tons of reading. We are soooo lucky to have the ASU library as a resource here in our community. We go weekly and NDEW has already read several good books he got there, not to mention all the great nonfiction resources to use!

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Add in homeschool association music class, ASU homeschool PE class, skiing lessons, and Wednesday night church activities and there is lots of fun learning going on around here! Not to mention that we don’t have to take snow days…..Poor kids in public school around here are going to be going to school until mid-June, are looking at some Saturday classes, and are looking at losing a couple of days from their spring break. Yikes! Yet another homeschooling benefit for our family!


How did our first week go?

So here we are, at the end of our first week of homeschooling.  How did it go?  Pretty well!  Let’s see how our plan held up, shall we?

Hubby and NDEW ended up covering probably 90% of what we had planned for them to cover.  Not bad for our first baby steps into this!  During the week NDEW actually chose to write for longer than asked/scheduled a couple of times which was really encouraging.  Hopefully this writing avoidance might be easier to overcome than we think!  Also, his solar system board game ended up taking him less time than he planned out so he added making a PowerPoint about the planets to his multi-day projects.  A trip to the pet store during the week for dog food also turned into an impromptu field trip thanks to a really sweet guy who works there and took the time to share with NDEW all about some of the cool animals they had and even let him hold a baby albino corn snake.  It was quite the highlight of the week.


One thing we did discover was that we needed to plan a little better for those times when hubby may have to step away for a work-related call, especially on Wednesdays.  NDEW, being used to being in a school situation where someone else (the teacher) told him what to do next when he finished one activity, had a hard time moving on to something else without hubby’s direction.  He would work really well by himself while hubby was on the phone, but if he finished the activity or task, he would go stand by hubby and wait for direction…even if hubby was on the phone.  Sometimes trying to pantomime his question of “What should I do next?”  LOL


So, to help with that, we did a couple of things.  First, I made a sign for hubby:

Dad is busy sign

He actually does all of his work calls through the computer so it is sometimes admittedly difficult to tell when he’s on the phone.  Hubby will put up the sign when he’s on the phone or for some other reason unable to stop what he’s doing to answer NDEW’s questions.


Secondly, I made a list of possible activities for NDEW and posted it near his desk.  It’s simple suggestions for things that he can do without hubby’s direction.  The list does include “work on a project you’ve already started” to let him know that it’s okay for him to work on one of his bigger projects even if it’s not the “right time” to be working on it.  We know it will take a little while for NDEW to become more self-directed in his learning as he gets used to this new adventure so we decided to provide him a little support along the way.


The absolute best thing this week was that we had a kid who was super excited about learning.  Every night when I came home he was chomping at the bit to share with me about what he had learned.  That might be to show me his board game, or his PowerPoint, or to play for me on his recorder.  He would talk about the information they covered and I heard lots of “Did you know…..?”  I think he might even be more excited about this homeschooling adventure than hubby and I are!  To everyone he talked to, be it his grandmother on the phone, the folks at the library, or our waiter at dinner, he would somehow figure out a way to tell them that he was homeschooled and that it was “AWESOME!!!”  I know that it won’t always be this smooth and that we’re probably in a bit of a honeymoon period, but we’ll take it!  Onward to week two!

Why are We Homeschooling?

There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschooling families.  So what made us wake up and decide one morning in December to homeschool a 10-year-old kid that had been in outside-the-home daycare or education since he was 3 months old?  It actually didn’t occur nearly that quickly.  We first seriously considered homeschooling NDEW in second grade.  I know that there is no such thing as a “typical” child and that each child has a unique learning style, and their own unique blend of strengths and weaknesses.  When NDEW was in second grade we started to understand just how unique his particular blend was.  In future posts I’m sure I’ll go into this further as it will play a big part in our particular homeschool plan, but let’s just say right now that NDEW doesn’t have a “cookie cutter” bone in his body.  When he was in second grade, we started what has become a several year testing process to tease out what his strengths and struggles really are and the person who conducted that initial testing was the first person to suggest to us that homeschooling might be a good option for NDEW at some point.  I’ll never forget her saying “I think you all might find that, at some point, NDEW’s needs aren’t able to be met in a typical schooling setting and that homeschooling might give him exactly what he needs.”  While we didn’t act on that advice then, that conversation definitely got us thinking about the possibility for our family.  Two years later we decided that it was the right time to make the move.

Again, at some point I’ll go a little more into the story of what all happened during those two years, but I do want to make sure I make this point clear-our pulling NDEW from public school at this point in his education does not reflect negatively on his education thus far.  NDEW has had great teachers.  He’s had wonderful administrators.  He has gone to fantastic schools.  He’s learned a lot.  As we’ve read about helping kids transition from public to homeschool we have come across more than a few articles that seem to equate public school with the antichrist.  In some ways I can understand where this comes from.  Unfortunately, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about homeschooling and I do know that some families have faced lots of hardship and hurt at the hands of the typical school community.  On the other hand, as products of public school educations, and (for me) being a part of a long line of public school educators, hubby and I aren’t going to go there.  School teachers, especially public school teachers, are some of the hardest working people on the face of the earth.  They are constantly asked to do more with less.  They are often put in situations where they cannot do what they know would be best for their students due to student family situations, lack of resources, or bureaucratic red tape.  Their goals are constantly changed on them, often mid-stream, by someone in the district office, state house, or federal government.  Are there teachers who have absolutely no business being in the classroom?  You bet.  Are there parents who have absolutely no business being the primary educator for their child?  I would say yes to that was well.  I think we have to have many different educational options available for students if we are to ever have a chance of truly educating every child, and I firmly believe that both homeschooling and public school should be among the available options.  There will never be an effective “one size fits all” approach to education.

For NDEW, at this point in his education, we feel that we are better able to provide him the focused support he needs in certain areas as well as the advanced challenges he needs in other areas at home, compared to what he would be able to receive in a public school setting.  Will this be the case from now on?  Who knows?  We are not putting a time limit on our homeschooling journey.  We aren’t going to say that we’ll homeschool NDEW for the next year only or all the way through high school.  Just as we knew when the right time was to make the switch to homeschooling, we trust that we will know when or if it’s time for another switch.

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