Homeschooling Essentials: Flexibility

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Welcome to Day 2 of my Homeschooling Essentials! Today it’s all about flexibility.

You have to be flexible to be a homeschooling parent. Things don’t always go exactly the way you planned, and that has to be okay. There are unexpected sick days (for the kids and you), last minute errands (or days of errands…), and burnout days. You have to be flexible enough to let things go and say “There’s always tomorrow.”

Earlier this month, we had half a week of the need to be flexible. Right around New Year’s, Small Fry was sick. I think it was New Year’s Eve, actually. He was just feeling puny and was not himself, and finally, about an hour before bedtime, it became clear why when he threw up all over me (sorry if that’s TMI…). That was on a Wednesday. Thursday was normal, and on Friday, Munchkin was sick with the same thing. He spent the day in bed, but was fine the next morning. But that morning, Seahawk was under the weather and slept most of the day. Sunday of that week, the day before I’d planned to start school up again, was fine. We went for a family bike ride and all was well. During the night, though, I came down with the illness. Here’s where the need to be flexible really struck. Even though it was Monday, and the day we were “supposed” to get back to school, there was no school happening with Mom stuck in bed. Let me also say, I am incredibly blessed to have a husband who’s self-employed and works (mostly) from home. He was able to take that Monday (which happened to be our anniversary…) off to take care of the kids so I could sleep and recover. Enter Flexibility Day 2: Tuesday. We’d missed school on Monday, and because we’d also missed our anniversary, we took Tuesday off from school, too. The kids spent the morning with Grandma so hubby and I could have our anniversary date. (We went to see Saving Mr. Banks. Have you seen it? Very good. I don’t even care for Mary Poppins and I liked Mr. Banks. In fact, hubby’s been reading the book Mary Poppins aloud to the kids this weekend. Then we’re going to watch the movie, and on Tuesday, which is discount day at the cinema, we’re all going to see Saving Mr. Banks again.)Anyway. So we started school on Wednesday the 8th instead of Monday the 6th. And did anyone die? Nope. Because we understand the importance of being flexible.

Now, this is not to say that you can call yourself a homeschooler and just never “do” school with your kids. There has to be a balance, and I think it’s better to err on the side of more school days than less. The education has to happen, whether you’re at home or sending your kids to school. But you have to accept that things aren’t always perfect.

So that’s my thought for today.

Don’t forget to click through the links below and see what everyone else is writing about today!

Blessings,

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Lisa @ A Rup Life

Jordyn @ Almost Supermom

Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers

Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog

Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy

Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

Homeschooling Essentials: Pencils. Just Pencils.

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Hey guys! This is my first blog hop, and I’m really excited to spend the rest of the week talking about what I view as “Homeschooling Essentials.” When you’re done reading my post, make sure to head on over to the master list and read about everyone else’s Essentials too!

The essential I want to talk about today is very simple, and one we can’t do without in my homeschool: Pencils. Yep. Just the basic, yellow pencil. It might not be worth mentioning at all except when it’s time for school, the kiddos can never find one! No matter how many I buy, they’re always lost.

Have you ever seen how pencils are made? We watched a YouTube video with the kids once, a few months ago, and it was actually quite interesting. Here’s the short version. First, the wood, typically cedar because it’s soft enough to sharpen but hard enough to hold up under your grip, is cut into pieces and then a groove is added for laying the lead into. A layer of glue is added to each groove, and half of the wood sheets get lead in their grooves. Each sheet is enough to make 8 or 10 pencils. The other half of the sheets are then laid on top if the leaded sheets, where the “lead sandwiches” are pressed together with a vice for an hour while the glue dries. The pencils are then cut and painted. I found it interesting that it takes four coats of paint to fully conceal the wood grain. If you have five spare minutes sometime, I encourage you to watch one of the pencil videos (just search “how pencils are made” on YouTube; there are several to choose from). I think it’s good to know things like that, if for no other reason than to keep us from taking things for granted.

We couldn’t do school without pencils. I’m sure my kids wish we could, but I’m not one of those homeschool moms who goes the “unschooling” route; I need some sort of record of what the kids have done, and I need to push them to do things that they wouldn’t necessarily choose for themselves, which is the antithesis of unschooling. Don’t get me wrong – I totally want my kids to love learning, and I want them to develop ways of learning naturally. But I can’t leave their education up to them. Otherwise Seahawk wouldn’t be as strong a reader as he is, Munchkin wouldn’t know anything about history, and neither one would be proficient in their times tables. All of those things are important – as important as having fun learning. And without our trusty pencils, we wouldn’t have a record of what they’ve learned.

So that’s my first homeschool essential. Make sure to visit my fellow bloggers to read all about theirs, and come back tomorrow for another of mine!

Blessings,

Wendy

More Homeschooling Essentials:

Lisa @ A Rup Life

Jordyn @ Almost Supermom

Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers

Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog

Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy

Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

Before and After

We started school last week. That’s made things quite a bit busier for me, but I must say: I don’t hate it. Summertime is nice, but I also like the structure of the school year.

Here are a few things related to the post title I wanted to share:

Before last Tuesday, the kids were dreading “back to school.” After Tuesday’s lessons, they were excited for Wednesday. That makes me happy!

Before last week, I was gung ho to teach (and learn) Spanish. After trying for 4 days, I realize/accept that I can’t teach something I don’t know. So we’re adopting French as our foreign language instead. (I took 3 years of French in my public high school and did quite well. It’s been years, but it will come back quickly. I’m sure of that.) We started with numbers 1-10 today and all 3 boys (hubby’s learning with the kids!) have it mostly down.

Before yesterday, the kids and I all desperately needed haircuts.

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After yesterday afternoon, we’re all shorn.

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(don’t mine the glare in the corner… that’s where the light hit the mirror and I’m too lazy to crop it right now lol)

Before August 27th, Small Fry was still crawling. It was so funny to see – he crawled like a bear, on hands and feet instead of hands and knees. After August 27th, he’s pretty much walking exclusively.

That’s about it… What have you been up to in my absence? 🙂

–Wendy