Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

12 Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

Hi! I’m Nike. If you’re new to this blog, my family is entering our fourth year of homeschool this year. I can hardly believe it!

My husband and I live in Middle Georgia where we homeschool our two boys, ages 5 and 8. They are entering kindergarten and third grade this upcoming school year.

I love blog posts where homeschool moms keep it real. I know that, for most of us, we enjoy homeschooling our children and want to highlight the many positives of being a homeschool family. However, not sharing the unglamorous side can be crippling for new families who may think they’re the only ones experiencing tough moments.

So, to all the moms (and dads) experiencing any of the following, you’re not alone. Here are my twelve confessions.

1. It’s challenging.

Contrary to what people, who haven’t a clue about homeschool, think, homeschooling is not an easy job. When done properly, it takes a great deal of time, research, knowledge, preparation, discipline, patience, coordination, and proficiency. Whether purchasing a curriculum or making your own, the work that goes into ensuring your children are well educated is extensive. Some bad eggs may give homeschool a bad name, but for the rest of us, we put in that work!

2. It’s uncertain.

Truthfully, I believe there’s a season for everything. I don’t know when our homeschool season will end. Whether it ends after high school or next year, only the good Lord knows. Anything can happen. My kids may want to try out traditional school. Homeschool may be outlawed (Lord forbid!). Or, it may just stop working for us. All I know for certain is, at the moment, we’re enjoying this time and hope it lasts as long as God allows it to.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

3. It’s lonely.

I’ve been blessed to meet and befriend other homeschool moms who invite our family out for parties and playdates, but at its core, homeschool is lonely. That’s because at the end of the day, it’s just me, my kids, and their curriculum. Being the primary teacher in my children’s life means that sometimes I’ll feel isolated and overwhelmed. And while the truth is I’m not alone and this is the plight of every homeschool parent, it sure doesn’t feel that way during those tough moments.

4. I get unmotivated.

I don’t jump out of bed every morning and greet the day like Mary Poppins. Sometimes I’m unmotivated. Sometimes I dread the monotony that homeschool routines can often fall into. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m sick. Sometimes I haven’t slept well. Sometimes I doubt myself. There are many motivation killers that can throw me off course at times. But I’ve learned that perseverance is what you do long after your motivation has left you.


5. I don’t know everything.

The truth is, I still have so much to learn. In fact, my boys are becoming smarter than me by the day. They’ve become experts on topics they’re passionate about and the beautiful thing is they’ve also become my teacher in that regard. As a homeschool mom, I’ve realized one of the best things I can do for my children is not to teach them everything, but to connect them to the resources they need to teach themselves.

6. We have tough days.

Most days are great, but some days my boys just won’t cooperate. Sometimes there are tantrums. Sometimes there’s defiance. Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Yes, crying, yelling, and everything in between can be heard on any given day. We aren’t perfect homeschoolers.

If these walls could talk, they'd tell you we're not the perfect homeschool.

7. Unschooling myself is hard.

Since I was trained by the good ol’ public school system, I constantly have to unschool myself so that I can open up more to the reality that we don’t have to sit in a classroom doing schoolwork every morning. There are other ways to learn. In fact, children are learning even when we’re not actively teaching them. Still, it takes time to accept that my children can learn even when I’m not standing at the whiteboard lecturing.

8. I don’t hate public school.

I am a product of public school. So is my husband. So are my friends. We all turned out just fine. I went to an excellent college, earned a degree, and even earned a professional degree. I’ve had some of the most amazing teachers and some not so good ones. I don’t hate the public school system. I thank it, because it was an option when my family couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. I didn’t take my education for granted. I used it to my advantage, making sure I excelled so that I’d be a great candidate for college. Whether my boys are homeschooled, go to public or private school, I’d make sure that they excel, too.

9. The house gets messy.

You can imagine the mess that accumulates when a family spends most of their time at home. Hey, we live here! In fact, the only time our home is spotless is when we have guests, and everyone panics to “get the house together.” Yes, we have chores and cleaning schedules, but somehow at the end of the day, it seems like every single item we own is covering the tables and floors.

I cleaned my house today... memes, inspiration, quotes

10. I’m glad I didn’t buy a curriculum.

When we first started homeschooling three years ago, I used every free resource I could find for my then kindergartner. He learned to read, write, spell, and do arithmetic without a boxed curriculum. You can find the list of resources I used, here. Holding off on purchasing a curriculum offered more time to study how my son learns, which helped me choose a curriculum that best fit his learning style. Even better? The money we saved that year was put toward extracurricular activities and family trips!

11. My schedules are for show.

I have what I like to call my “ideal schedule” and then there’s reality. That reality becomes our routine. The difference? When I schedule things, it puts our family on a timeclock and makes everyone stressed. When I establish a routine, it invites spontaneity and allows the day to flow organically. Believe it or not, we used to have an alarm that sounded when it was time to move on to the next lesson, eat, have recess, etc. It wasn’t fun for any of us.

12. It’s rewarding.

This is such a cliché, but it’s true. I love learning more about my children, their strengths and weaknesses, their preferred method of learning, how they tend to deal with frustration. I love seeing and being a part of their progression. I love spending the day with them. They are my little buddies!


 

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s worth mentioning that even though some negative moments are highlighted here, the positive moments definitely hold more weight.

I want to hear from you: What are your homeschool confessions? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Easy Space Experiments for Kids

Easy Fun Space Experiments for Kids

This year we are trying out the Magic School Bus curriculum. This science curriculum boasts 180 days of units on space, forces and weather, energy, animals, habitats, archaeology and more!  I want to give a shout out to Cornerstone Confessions for offering this free curriculum on their awesome website.

This curriculum is appropriate for kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd-grade students. As I’ve mentioned, it’s free, but you will need to purchase certain supplies for the experiments. You will also need access to The Magic School Bus episodes via Netflix, YouTube, or the library. While it’s too early to provide a comprehensive review, I will say that this curriculum is full of fun activities and experiments for kids. We are definitely enjoying this no-nonsense approach to science.

So, let’s get right into some of the experiments and activities we’ve been doing this month!

1. Experiment One: Name Those Planets

Objective: Identifying planets by size and distance to the sun.

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space

What You’ll Need:
•    Balls of every size (1 basketball, 1 soccer ball, 2 soft balls, 2 ping pong balls, 1 jack ball, 1 marble). *Note: We didn’t have all these balls on hand, so we just used what we had!
•    Stick on labels
•    Markers
•    This worksheet

What to Do:
1.    Hide the balls around your classroom or backyard and ask students to find all 8. (I added this fun activity to the experiment to get them moving!)
2.    Ask students to label all of the planets according to size.
3.    Ask students to line the planets up according to the distance from the sun. (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Uranus, Neptune.)

4.    Ask students to complete the follow-up worksheet activity.

Get more ideas for this experiment here!

2. Experiment Two: Stargazing

Objective: Finding out what happens to stars when the sun rises.

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Sees Stars.

What You’ll Need:
•    A late curfew (for stargazing)
•    Pencil or pen

•    Scissors
•    Bright flashlight
•    This worksheet

What to Do:
1.    Go outside on a clear night and observe real stars. Have students record what they see. (If you don’t homeschool, tell your students to stargaze with their parents for homework).
2.    The next day, go outside and ask the students if they can see any stars.
3.    Ask students why they think it’s difficult to see stars during the day and record their answer. (Stars are veiled by gases, dust, and water vapor in the atmosphere.)
4.    Print out this template and punch out the Astro-Liz constellation using a pen or pencil. Make sure your students know the holes represent “stars,” and the cover flap represents the “atmosphere.”

5.    Pretend it’s nighttime and hold Astro-Liz up to a bright window with the white flap facing them. (Ask students if they see any “stars” through the “atmosphere.”)
6.    Pretend it’s daytime and hold Astro-Liz up to a bright window. This time, shine the flashlight (sun) on the cover flap.

(Ask students if they can still see the “stars” through the “atmosphere” when the “sun” is shining.)

7.    Ask students to complete the follow-up worksheet activity.

 Get more ideas for this experiment here!

3. Experiment Three: Constellation Viewers

Objective: Learning about different constellations.

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Sees Stars

What You’ll Need:
•    Empty paper towel tubes
•    Dark blue construction paper
•    Scissors
•    Glue
•    Pin, pen, or pencil
•    Rubber bands
•    A coffee mug (or any round-top cup)
•    This template
•    Markers, crayons, stickers, etc. to decorate (optional)

What to Do:
1.    Decorate the tube. (We decorated color construction paper and glued it over the paper towel tube.)
2.    Choose your constellation from the template and cut it out.
3.    Place a coffee mug upside-down onto dark blue construction paper and trace around it.
4.    Cut out the circle you traced on the dark blue construction paper.
5.    Glue your constellation directly onto the center of the dark blue circle.
6.    Punch out the holes on the constellation using a pin, pen, or pencil.
7.    Fold the circle onto the end of the tube so that the constellation is centered. Fasten with a rubber band.
8.    Look through the tube to view your constellation!

 *Note: You can also place a flashlight into the tube and turn off the lights to see the constellations.

 

4. Experiment Four: Making Craters!

Objective: What happens when asteroids of different weight and sizes hit the earth?

Corresponding Video: The Magic School Bus Out of This World

What You’ll Need:
•    Cinnamon
•    Flour
•    Salt

•    Shoe boxes
•    Marbles of all sizes
•    Aluminum foil balls
•    Ping-pong balls
•    Spoon
•    This Worksheet

What to Do:
1.    Mix flour and salt together in shoe boxes and smooth over. Cover with a layer of cinnamon.
2.    Ask students to predict what might happen if they dropped each of the balls into the shoe boxes.
3.    From a crouching position, drop each of the balls into the shoe boxes and carefully remove them. Ask students what they see. (Craters should be of different sizes and depths.)
4.    Ask students to record their observations on the worksheet.
5.    From a standing position, drop each ball into the shoe boxes and carefully remove them. Ask students what they see. (Craters should be bigger and deeper.)
6.    Ask students to record their observations.
7.    Discuss why the holes were bigger and deeper when the balls were dropped from standing position. (A further distance gives the balls time to pick up speed, which results in bigger craters.)

 Get more ideas for this experiment here!

Stay tuned for more posts on easy, fun science experiments for kids! I wish I could write about them all, but I’d rather you head on over to Cornerstone Confessions and Scholastic to discover the ones we didn’t mention for yourself. A full review on this curriculum will be available at the end of the school year. Stay tuned!

Have you tried this curriculum? Let us know down below!