Homeschooling Week One: 10 Lessons Learned

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This week has been so wonderful I can hardly wonder what I was thinking a few months ago about Homeschool Hell.  Homeschool Hell was a reality show I made up in my mind about what this experience would be like.  Remember back to when I was kicking and screaming and almost such a baby I needed a diaper about not wanting to Homeschool?  I remember.  Well, like a kid before Christmas Eva I went to bed giddy on Sunday and woke up counting down the hours until 1:00.  


I grew in my knowledge of myself, the kids, our routine, and what works and what does not.  The kids learned and had a ball this week too.  It is all rainbows and unicorns this post so if you are struggling with homeschooling, I apologize, but there’s a permanent grin on my face as I write this so you might want to get a large bowl of ice cream while you read.  

Now of course, if I had wanted to be a homeschool mom, this week would have been a disaster, and I would be abandoning ship on this post, but, that’s not the way it turned out.  

I know many people who were enthralled with Homeschooling and poured so much into it but turned out to be a horrible time for their family. I know others who don’t want to send their kids to public school, but baulk at the thought of the organization and work it takes to school, and then I know mom’s who Homeschool because they feel it is right, but they are exhausted and cranky about the whole deal.  So please know that I am attuned to different feelings surrounding this lifestyle.  Anyway…

What did we do this week?  

Our main Homeschooling Curriculum is called Five in a Row.  The learning, centers around a book and then Five subjects stemming from the book.  So this week we read Lentil every day, and then had Social Studies, Language Arts, Art, Math, and today we’ll do Science.  We made a lap book out of a file folder to remind us what we learned about the subject matter.  FIAR doesn’t include handwriting, phonics, or as much math as I would like, so I added those things as well as telling time, and counting money.  

Monday we learned about Ohio.  In the lap book you can see a book about Ohio that has facts in it. I had no idea the Buckeye State was named that because of the seeds on a tree look like Buck’s Eyes!  Eva found it on a map, and we had two books from the library about Ohio to look through.  Eva loved that the state bird was the cardinal since we have so many in our backyard.  

social studies

Tuesday we did Language Arts.  Using new vocabulary from Lentil, Eva and I made a small book with some new words in it.  She has already been using them in her every-day life.  Today after she was done cleaning she said, “I am an expert cleaner”.  And then when we were pulling through a street she asked if it was an alley.  

language arts

Wednesday was art!  Robert McCloskey, the author of Lentil, (As well as Blueberries for Sal and Make way for Ducklings…), uses Charcoal for his illustrations so we tried it out as well.  The kids were fascinated by soft and hard charcoal making dark and light lines, and the shading techniques were fun to try as well.  Eva and I tried our hand at copying the shutters on the windows in the book.  


Thursday we had a math lesson using music as fractions.  In Lentil, he plays the harmonica and there are music notes scattered on the page.  We learned Whole, Half, and Quarter by scooping our dry beans, and then by cutting an apple.  


After our Five in a Row time we do Handwriting, Phonics, Math/Time/Money, and then she reads a Bob Book to close out the day.  

time and sound match

Here she is filling in the time on the clocks, and we played a game where she matched an object on the circle with the correct letter it starts with on a popsicle stick.  

school work

Malachi is working on coloring in his apples with the correct color, and Eva is playing a game to match lower case to uppercase.  

Friday we will have Science, learning about taste.  Lentil has a character in it called Old Sneep who sucks on a lemon, and at the end of the story everyone gets ice cream cones so we’ll experience the areas of taste on our tongue and we’ll make homemade lemonade.  Eva has one more week of Alphabet review before we start on phonics.  What a great week!  

What did I learn? 

5 Things I Learned Work Great:

  1. One thing that I didn’t realize was how nice it was to include our chore payment in Circle Time.  We’ve always struggled with remembering to give the kids money so they can start learning how to save, spend and give it, but now it’s a part of our daily routine.  allowance

  2. The organization of the entire day made ME equipped for meal times, chores, and even a built in rest for me each day.  I appreciate our daily routine and I plan to blog about how HSing works into our entire day, and then what our school schedule looks like.
  3. The curriculum.  Now was the time to see if the kids would be as hooked as I was on the Five In A Row material I had prepared.  They adore it.  
  4. Malachi has structured school for 30 minutes, 15 of Circle time, and then 15 with me.  I was worried about him being bored, distracting Eva, or feeling left out.  That didn’t happen.  I have a few toys that only come out during school time, some matching, and lacing cards that I can play with him on the floor for a few minutes if Eva is doing a worksheet, I can hide his Letter of the Week around the basement for him to find, and sometimes he enjoys being a part of what we are doing.  

    dried beans are a wonderful 15 minute break

    dried beans are a wonderful 15 minute break

  5. I set a challenge for myself to not go upstairs at all during the Homeschooling time, I didn’t want to be distracted.  That also meant I leave my phone upstairs so I’m fully devoted to the kids.  How freeing to be without it!  

5 Things I’m Surprised to Learn:

  1. It has been great for my relationship with the kids.  This was a big worry of mine.  I thought Eva and I would frustrate each other, (and there’s still time for that), but she has been SO sweet this whole week.  That special time I’ve devoted to them is paying off.  There is so much tenderness in our home toward me, toward each other and even Eric is experiencing the new bond we have.

    Apparently we need jackets because it is too cold to concentrate.

    Apparently we need jackets because it is too cold to concentrate.

  2.  Eva asked me for a snack an hour before I had planned, but I knew I wanted to make the schedule very flexible the entire first month so I modified immediately. Plus also, it is freezing in the basement so we needed to add jackets on our hooks.  Then, I tried to make the schedule alternate between active and inactive lessons, but she needed a play break between something, so again, I altered and it’s been better.  

    Field Trip to see a Monument, just like in Lentil!

    Field Trip to see a Monument, just like in Lentil!

  3. We don’t just homeschool from 1-3:30, we homeschool all day.  Because I know what they are learning, if we see something from our lessons, we talk about it.  We incorporate meals that correspond with the lessons, field trips, and choose books at the library that enhance our study.  
  4. Even though a large part of my day is taken up, I am still able to get my tasks done because I am forced to be super organized.  I like that I know what I’m supposed to do and when I’m supposed to do it.  7:30 Read my Bible, 8:00 Chores, 8:30 Kids go outside…going very well so far.  
  5. Malachi is learning SO much through observation.  I knew it would happen, but on day four when I called out a letter for Eva to find on her worksheet.  I said, “U for…” and Malachi piped up and said, “Uniform”.  
  6. Learning minds are tired minds.  Both mama and Eva and Malachi have been tired this week.  We built in an hour of rest time after lunch every day and we all need it.  Books on CD from the Library have been awesome.  The kids have to be on their beds for the hour, and they listen to Frog and Toad, Junie B. Jones, or Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  I often have 30 minutes to myself and then I take a 30 minute couch nap!  


Our first week is done!  Ready to keep learning, modifying, and teaching again next week!  


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