Thomas completed 5th grade and his third year of homeschooling, and Tanner completed 2nd grade and his first year of homeschooling. I am being completely honest when I share that, although challenging at times, this was the best school year yet! Adding Tanner to the mix meant some scheduling changes needed to be made, but once we established a routine that worked, our days passed quickly and the weeks, and inevitably the months, passed even quicker.
|1st day of school- August 2012|
Tanner made great gains in his reading ability, both with fluency and comprehension. This year he also learned to write in cursive, and he is proud of the fact that he is learning his multiplication facts. He is different than his brother in terms of interests, and his writing reflected those differences. Tanner had to write an informative essay and also do a research report for two different writing assignments during the course of the year. Both times he chose to write about the outdoors/nature. The first essay he wrote about mowing the lawn, and for his research report he wrote about chickens. For him, homeschooling is a great fit because it is so personalized. I didn't limit him by giving him topics to choose from when writing; I let his interests guide him so that he would actually learn something. If he is going to do the work, why not let him enjoy it?!
|Tanner & his chickens|
We went on 10 field trips this year. Some of our favorites were the 'Beach Discovery Tour' while at Hilton Head. We learned about the native sea life and then explored the beach to find them. It was awesome and correlated with our study of sea creatures in science this year. Highlights from that trip included finding live sea stars, a sand dollar, and three different sizes of perfectly molted sand fleas. We also saw some blue crabs when they were "soft", which was rare for us to see. We also attended some stage performances in Charlotte, and those were really fun. We sat right in the front row for 'Pinocchio' and it added to the excitement of live theater. The boys had a great time!
|The molt from a sand flea|
As they get older, I appreciate being around them more. I am thankful for this opportunity to be so involved in their lives. Conversations are becoming more meaningful, and it's neat to really talk to them, to get their opinion on situations and find out what they're thinking. I'm not saying I couldn't do that if they attended public school, but honestly how could it be the same? I wouldn't know the specifics of what they were studying to know what kinds of questions to ask. I would miss out on a part of my kids that can be only be accomplished by acting as their teacher. Is it difficult some days? Sure! Do I get overwhelmed at the task of being wife, mom, and teacher? Absolutely! Are there days when I think I can't do it anymore and I stay up late crying because I feel like a failure? Of course! But then, God brings to mind all that we have been through, and all the gains I have seen my boys make, and I realize there is no way I could give that up. I love them too much and I only have a few short years with them before they graduate and move on.
I am so thankful I get to homeschool!