Sunday, August 07, 2016

The Final Post

K & Z graduated in June! I haven't blogged in a couple of years (I swear I wrote a few posts, but I guess I never published them), but before retiring this blog, I thought it would be good to say something about the journey.

I started this blog our first year of homeschooling mostly to prove to myself and others that we were really doing something and not just sitting around watching TV all day.  We did still watch TV quite a bit--let's not kid ourselves--but no more than we did before homeschooling and with more intention a lot of the time.  We also added in computers more and more as the years went by.  We used lots of educational programs, and after way too many tears spent on Math-You-See (a curriculum that works well for some, but not for us) and taking a year off from textbook math, we switched to Teaching Textbooks on disc and took me--the most neurotic math teacher ever--out of the picture.  That worked for us quite well.

Yeah--we just took the rest of the year off from math.  And--I never "taught" math again. AND my kids still graduated high school.  And they both passed the community college entry math test at the pre-calc level at 16. Are they math whizzes? No. Do they like math? Not really.  Do I wish I had done things differently around math? Sure. I wish I hadn't even started any formal math until 5th grade.  I wish I hadn't been such a nervous wreck about how my kids could possibly learn enough math without text books and teaching.  But whatever, it all seems to have worked out.  My mother skipped the grade in school where they taught fractions.  Even so, she ran a business and can use a cookbook without any issues. Everyone has holes in their education, but they can always be filled in if and when needed.

I may have regrets about some things I did or didn't do while we were homeschooling (more on that below) but I have no regrets about homeschooling itself.  It may not be the answer for you, but it was for us.

I missed my kids when they went to school.  We regularly traveled, went to local museums, sat around and played board games. My kids played pretend and dress up and they ran around outside A LOT before school started. We traveled, visited far flung friends and had lunch with dad at least once a week. 

When they went to full day school, I saw them tired and cranky in the morning trying to get them to school on time or like zombies in need of a rest and quiet after school. Travel was limited to school breaks with crowds on the roads and at the sites.  Plus, the bullying started, the limits to recess because worksheets needed filling out and constant harping on the Big Test (Virginia's SOLS) coming up.  SOLs aren't administered until the third grade but we still heard plenty about it in first grade. :-P

No, no regrets about the choice to homeschool.  But, yes, I would do some things differently. I would have:
--worried less
--worked less

--taken more and longer road trips when the kids were 10 and under
--not done any formal curriculum until 5th grade
--let them make more mistakes and been more patient in waiting for them to figure things out on their own
--done more service projects-biggest regret
--been more flexible in my plans
--left more things undone especially when traveling
--kept up with family game night
--kept up daily talks of what went well, what didn't and what we were grateful for

and I'm sure a bunch of other stuff.  But I feel certain that if we hadn't homeschooled I'd have just as long a list of regrets. It's the nature of parenting.

So, here I'll try to fill in some details for 2015/16 mostly in photos because it's easier to remember that way.

Katie playing piano at the VaHomeschoolers Conference talent show. April 2015

Prom--and you thought homeschoolers didn't get to go to prom! May 2015, I think. Zack decided dances are not for him.

A trip to Austin. May 2015
 Waiting for the Congress Avenue Bridge bats to come out. 

A visit to Funimation in Dallas
The Hindu temple outside of Austin.  There's also a great bbq place nearby so easy to make a day of it.

2015 Spring break FL trip--with friends this year! Did Orlando parks with friends then went off to Key Largo on our own.

After dinner at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Romantic dinner in Key Largo

Resident Parrot at the hotel's tikki bar

2014/15 had a lot to do with fandoms. Sherlock, Dr Who, Welcome to Nightvale, and a few others I didn't follow.  This is from the Welcome to Nightvale show (terrible picture)

After the SATs, June 2015

Some shows over the summer
At Wolf Trap for the John Williams show.

The book of Mormon

 Don't remember when exactly this was, but  I love this picture.

2016 FL trip in and around Key Largo

First time on a jet ski

At Harriette's of course!
 The graduates with their diplomas!

Katie will head off to a 4 year college this fall.  Zack is taking a year to work, try a few things out and enter college later. 

Thanks to anyone who has followed our homeschool travels and my other random thoughts.  Unfortunately FaceBook too the place of blogging for the last years, but you can get an idea of what we've been up to.