Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Joys of Homeschool

A couple nights ago, Matt was worrying about me. I was taking my nightly bath (the only time I'm not in pain) and he came in and asked me out of no where, "What makes you happy right now?" My immediate response was, "homeschooling Lilly Belle."

For the past 7 years I have owned a business (or multiple). I still currently own Main Street Dance my preschool dance program. I am also the Director of the preschool co-op I created this year, Bloom. But for the first time in Lilly Belle's life, my biggest time focus is HER. That makes my heart so incredibly happy! Main Street Dance is for her. Yes, I love teaching children. I always have and always will, but I continued to teach one class/week for the time being because she gets to go to dance class every Friday afternoon with her friends. Bloom was created 100% because of her. I wanted her to have a preschool to go to this year but we feel very strongly about homeschooling her right now as well. We wanted her to still get the social aspect of school, but in a safe and controlled environment - so...I created Bloom. It is now the highlight of our week and even though we have only just finished our third week together, there are new friendships growing and it is very exciting.

With owning FIT4MOM, so many of her friends are still babies and toddlers. She was always the oldest (or close to it). We always joke about how it must be sad for her that none of her friends can talk back to her ;) Does she love and adore her baby and toddler friends? YES. 100% yes. She is like the big sister. But I knew she was craving more. She loves being with kids her age and loves even more to be with kids who are even a bit older sometimes. She now gets that with dance class and Bloom each week.

I have loved getting to spend so much quality time with her. Does it stink that I'm in so much pain during the day? Yes. But I know that is temporary and this new life we have together is not. This is our lifestyle now. I get to be home with my girls literally 24/7. The amount of time it takes to prep things for Bloom can easily be done during naptime or when she is in bed. And, I've been teaching dance for so long (over 15 years) that I don't lesson plan anymore - I just head to class and teach. I feel out the kids that day and do what works.

My main focus has been homeschool with Lilly Belle. She is loving it. She asks for school all day long. When I run out of activities for the day, she begs for me to think of something else we can do together. Now that we have officially started our school year following the Simply Learning Kids curriculum, our days are so much more structured and relaxed. I can plan for 2 weeks at a time and feel so prepared for what the next day will look like. She doesn't do well when she is bored. Sound familiar? She loves learning and working on new things.

Every night before I put her to bed, I prep school for the next day. I set it all up on our buffet, which serves as our school storage for 75% of our school supplies. I find that our school day goes so much smoother when I'm not rummaging around in between activities trying to set up the next one for her. If I can keep things flowing one activity into the next, she does so well. She learns more and is a lot more focused. We pause in between activities only to clean up and put away what we were working on and grab the next activity in our plans.

We always start with circle time together. I sing songs to her, show her the calendar, read her our curriculum story, talk about our bible verse, and maybe one or two more things while sitting in the living room. Then we get up to do our curriculum activities together. After those, we read another story or two that goes along with our curriculum and we watch some educational YouTube videos about the subject we are working on. I've also been trying to get her to do some yoga, but it hasn't been working out to well with her broken clavicle right now. That part will have to wait...

We usually do school for 60-90 minutes in the morning and then I reset our buffet with new activities while she is napping and then we do school for sometimes 2 hours+ after she wakes up again. The afternoon time is usually things like play dough, busy bag type activities, playing games together, painting at her easel, or I make up little learning games for her to play - like rolling a dice and having her jump that many times.

I can't really take her out anywhere right now and she can't go to play at a park or anything too active because of her clavicle, so this has been working out so well for us right now. We are really loving our time together. We were watching The Jungle Book this afternoon and she asked me what happened to his mommy. I told her that he didn't have a mommy and she replied, "That's sad. I wish he had a good mommy like I do." My heart melted. I have had so much mommy guilt with not being able to really move and not having as much patience as I usually do, but she still thinks I'm a good mommy...

So when Matt asked me what makes me was an easy answer. Getting to be home with Lilly Belle. And even better, getting to teach her and watch her learn...and grow with her. I am so thankful that we are in a place that I get to be with her as much as I am; that I am finally a stay-at-home mommy. That makes me happy...

This stage of motherhood is a season. I don't know how long we will homeschool her. Right now, we know that it will be for sure for this year and next. We are about 75% sure we will homeschool the girls through elementary school, and about 50% sure we will always homeschool them. We don't know what the future holds, but for right now - this is working so well for our family, and my heart is full.

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