Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our First Two Days

Lots of big feelings going on inside. I wasn't feeling any regrets as we approached our first day, only ... a sense of loneliness or something. I'm not sure. I'm still working through the feelings.

I followed the advice of K12 and am doing the 'gentle start' program they advocate in the "First Five Days" Elluminate Speaker Series. Thank goodness for that, because the academic start has been manageable. What's getting to me is, again, this emotional aspect.

My boys are missing their friends. We live very near the elementary school and always pass it if we leave for errands and even can hear the children playing when they are out for recess. They are very aware of what they are missing. I feel sad for them. I know that what I'm doing is the right thing for them in the long run ... it's this darn short run I hope I have the patience to see them through.

I wish I could take a picture of our little office. Up until a day before school started I still hadn't decided on where would be best to store the material and such. Finally I managed and so far it's working very well. Just wish I could show you.

On Monday we started with Language Arts. Though both my boys are in grade three, Charlie tested lower in language arts and math, so he's doing second grade coursework in those classes. Since the first lesson or two are review, Charlie's were very simple, whereas Xan's were a bit more challenging.

I was extremely surprised by what I saw. Charlie (my usually contrary boy) got right to work. Xander, (my usually dilligent boy) however, talked incessantly, danced around, couldn't focus, wouldn't work and took all day to complete only a fraction of his work.

I'm hopeful that Xander will quickly come to see the benefits of getting his work done - I'm praying I don't strangle him before he gets there!

Thankfully, today was better. We did math and both boys breezed through it. Yay!

Tomorrow is History and Science. I think they will both like that because there are games to be played online and outdoor activities. But, we'll also be doing two subjects so ... a little yikes! at that one.

I spoke with an acquaintance this morning and when I told her I was homeschooling the boys, she said "Good for you!" My response was startling, even to myself. I had to fight back the tears, and all I could say was "Thank you."

No one else has had that reaction. Everyone I've talked to around here, is well, rather discouraging. It's kind of hard to see my neighbors going about their lives feeling so much like the one on the outside.

I'm not expressing myself very well, but my purpose in this blog was to share my journey, so maybe my inability is telling as it is.

Onward and upward, right? I sure hope so.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

An Interview with Summer Miller ~ K12 Mom

Summer has a great K12 blog of her own where she shares her experiences. Check it out to learn more about her and her family. I'm grateful that she agreed to stop by today and answer my questions.

I hope to interview other K12 moms, so if there's something else you would like to know that I haven't already asked, please feel free to post it in the comments and I'll be sure to add it to my list of questions!

Why did you choose to home school your kids?

I was spending at least 40 hours a week working with the school on PTA and making sure that they were servicing my sons IEP, and protecting my daughter from the evils of middle school. I decided that I should listen to my gut and try doing it myself. After all, I believe in Love and Logic and who better to do that than their mother.

Why did you choose to use the K12 curriculum?

I had looked into traditional home schooling and the amount of information out there was overwhelming. When a friend told me about k12 I was so excited. I liked the idea of everything being done for me so I could spend my time working and playing with my kids instead of trying to come up with the next lesson.

What are the ages of your children?

14, 12, 8, 5

What is a typical school day like in your home?

I like my sleep so when I get up (about 730) we have prayers and scriptures, breakfast, clean up whatever mess we left from the day before and then the kids hit the books. Sometimes we find ourselves running errands in the morning and then school work has to wait until we're done. We are extremely flexible. If we want to go to the fair, we do. If it looks like a great day to go sledding then we just finish our school work after we've thawed out. I try to remember that the most important part of schooling is learning, sometimes that happens better outside or on the aisles of the grocery store.

In your opinion what are the strengths of the K12 program? What are its weaknesses?

They take the guess work out of what to teach. I know my kids are learning what they need to for state testing but in a way that better suits their personality. I like their literature program that focuses on the classics. Sometimes the lessons can be so in depth that we don't finish them. That is one of the best things about k12, I can make that decision and not feel guilty.

In regard to your home school, what do you plan to do differently this year from last?

I dropped a couple of classes this year. I am supplementing the program with stuff that is specific to my children's interest. Bailey loves to cook and decorate cakes so that will be the primary focus for her art this year.

What advice would you offer a prospective or new K12 parent?

Relax. Trust the curriculum. Have fun with your kids. Remember that learning to learn is more important than regurgitating a bunch of facts.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Yesterday I got to go to another K12 get-together. Thank goodness for Tami and her family because she is always setting up these playdates and they are so good for me--oh yeah, and good for my boys too ;)

Yesterdays' playdate was the best one yet for me. Kelli, Tami and Summer were there, as well as Roxanne. This was my third time seeing Tami and Summer and my second for Kelli--first for Roxanne. And yesterday I felt like I was IN. I felt like I knew these girls a bit better and I felt like I got some real help and understanding from them.

And yesterday, I really needed it.

On the way to the park, the boys started complaining about doing K12. Up until now they've had a really good attitude about homseschooling so this really hit me out of left field. Apparently, the other day they were out riding bikes when Miss Crump, our schools' most popular teacher, was visiting a neighborhood friend. She saw the boys and waved the over. They know her and like all kids at the school, adore her, so they went to talk to her.

She asked which one was Charlie because she was so excited to have Charlie in her class next year. Charlie felt proud that she said she couldn't wait to have him and so he felt sad to tell her "We're going to be homeschooled this year."

"What?? But I want you in my class!" was Miss Crumps' reply.

And so then Charlie, and Xander by extension, are feeling sad about home school. And so was I. Big Time.

When we arrived at the park, I told the other ladies what had happened and they all comforted me. They've been there. Their kids have been there. They admitted, maybe it won't work out. But won't be so glad we tried? And for them, it's all been worth it and their kids all prefer K12.

It just felt so good to be understood. I didn't even tell them about the lunch out with neighbor friends the other day in which they all looked at me like I was a total freak. We went around the table telling our latest news and part of my news was that I was getting ready for school. And the table just fell into dumbfounded silence. No one knew what to say. And so we just moved on. I felt like I was completely alone.

Have you ever felt that way? If you're a homeschooling mom, or if you're thinking of becoming one, I bet you have. How could you not? I think only another homeschooling mom would understand. But that's a post for another day.

For today I wanted to talk about why I continue to feel like I am doing the right thing by keeping my boys home this year.

Oh it would be so easy to send them back to school! They've got great teacher assignments this year and they've got lots of friends and besides, our school is right across the street. How much easier could it get?

But that would be a cop out. I know it in my gut. It's not right for me. There are no guarantees of course. I have no real way of knowing whether homeschooling will be right for us either, but it's something I've got to try.

At the end of my days, I may regret never trying to homeschool my boys when I've had so many feelings that have told me I should do it. However, I'm quite certain I'll never regret trying. Trying will tell me if it's right or not. Trying will teach me so much about myself and my boys. Somewhere deep down, trying will let my boys know that I love them and I'm well, willing to TRY ... for their sake. I choose to try and to have no regrets.