Friday, September 21, 2012

life is a classroom

free alphabet cards from

i have been homeschooling tristan for 3 weeks now. i can't say its been easy, or even always fun, but i can say that we're both getting the hang of it and that, so far, i haven't regretted my decision for him to learn at home. there has been a lot of trial and error, a few tears and a ton of "aha!" moments where i get to witness him learning something new, which makes it all so worthwhile. a friend told me recently that beginning a new school year is sort of like giving birth; you need to give yourself (and your kids) about 6 weeks until you all start to feel like things are going smoothly and you've found your new normal. this encouraged me because it has been quite a steep learning curve for both tristan and me.

i would love to be one of those moms who have it all together and be able create a fun little school corner in my home, complete with bookshelves and labeled bins for crafts and super-creative decorating to make learning fun. sadly, all i have so far is one tiny little bulletin board that we can't seem to find a place for out of ava's reach, an old, inaccurate globe, and a string of picture alphabet cards hanging by clothespins up high. this setup, though pathetic-looking to me, excites tristan greatly and each morning he loves to sing our days of the week song, make note of the weather, and work on memorizing our address and important phone numbers.
bulletin board printables from

one of the things i've discovered about tristan is that he doesn't learn as easily if he is just sitting at the kitchen table going through our subjects for a block of time. instead, i try to space his lessons throughout the day... Bible first thing in the morning with the little kids, math a little bit later by himself (i ordered him a first grade math workbook and he is rushing through it like crazy!), science or social studies in the backyard while the little kids are napping followed by reading and writing.

on wednesday, i created a simple scavenger hunt and took the 3 kids to a local park to find everything on the list. tristan found nearly every item, which we carefully saved, and then we traced the route we took on a map of the park i printed from the internet. he is loving map work right now and he has helped me make a map of the backyard, putting X's where treasures are hidden, and i think we'll work towards creating a simple map of our town, getting him familiar with street names and the history of where we live.

so much of it is fun, but there are definitely times where i begin to doubt myself and wonder if i'm doing him a disservice by not sending him to public school, wondering if he'll ever feel as if he is missing out, or lacking socialization. yet i am always reassured by God that this is the right thing for our family to do at this time in our lives. we are part of a wonderful co-op which holds classes every friday that tristan looks forward to all week. he gets to learn about God loving the whole world in his geography class, and about swimming creatures in his science class. he attends awana's weekly where he memorizes scripture and competes in games, not to mention the socialization that comes from sunday school and our weekly play dates with friends.

God is faithful in giving me the wisdom and patience i need every day to train my children up in the way they should go. and i am humbled that He sees me fit to perform such an honor.


rachel joy said...

Oh Heidi, you are giving him so much more than a public school setting could ever accomplish. I saw a quote online somewhere that says "I homeschool because I have seen the village and I do not want it raising my children!" Don't fret about 'socialization' - it sounds like you're doing a great job of choosing what people and environments will be influencing your kids.

I laughed a bit at your friend saying it takes about 6 weeks to adjust. I had 6 months last year and feel like I had just started to get into a groove before summer. Now into my first full year and I'm still not going to worry too much if I'm doing it all right. We're still very much learning what DOESN'T work!

Grandma J. said...

I am so proud of you (and Josh, since you guys are a package deal). This is not the easy road to go, but, as you say, for now it is the right one. Tristan is such a keen learner - how wonderful for him to have the opportunity for a one on one learning environment. Bless you all.

Cherie said...

Heidi, I could never do what you are doing! Even though I wanted to be a KIndegarden teacher! haha. He sounds like me & Dad with his loves for maps... i love navigating places:):)
Love you:) Can't wait to see you!

Anonymous said...

looks wonderful! I love how there are so many co-ops and blogs and just general support. I hope you have a wonderful year and it gives you confidence, courage and direction. ~S

Anonymous said...

Sweetheart, with your high school grade point average, I'd choose you to teach my grandkids every time. Can't wait to get on Google Earth with Tristan.


Naomi said...

Heidi, You are doing a wonderful job. Simple things are so big in a child's eyes and your school corner looks perfect. I always think that socialization is way over rated. Seriously,often time I think homeschoolers are better socialized than children in public school and have a chance to be exposed to people of different ages. How children act with other people is a reflection of how they are taught, not whether they go to public school or not. Can you tell this a hobby horse of mine? :)
Did you enjoy Love In a Time of Homeschooling? I read that last year and liked it.