We are just getting ready to start our fourth year of homeschooling in a couple of weeks and the back-to-school shopping has begun. Our back-to-school shopping is a little different than most. We are not shopping for a new wardrobe for the entire family, much to my daughters dismay, but we spend a lot of time on Amazon finding the perfect curriculum for the year. This time of year is a little bittersweet as the kids’ friends go back to school and we have to go from our happy-go-lucky schedule and late nights and get back to a more structured schedule for our school year.
We didn’t always homeschool and it was never really a part of our family plan, but a few years ago Nikki had a very strong impression that it was time to pull our kids out of public school and start homeschooling. I had asked her about homeschooling the kids a couple years previous, but it didn’t feel right for her at the time. Since Nikki does the majority of the schooling while I am away at work (I mostly handle art and physical education), I asked her to share some of the challenges and joys that come from being a homeschool mama.
Hey guys, it’s Nikki. First of all, I wanted to make it clear that I am not a teacher and the thought of doing this was absolutely terrifying. I was worried I wouldn’t have the patience and that I NEEDED that time away from my kids. I hear parents this time of year excited for the fact that their kids are going back to school, and sometimes I think “that would be nice”. But then I think about the extra time I have with my kids and the ability I have to mold and teach them instead of sending them to school to be molded by their “peers” and be stuck in a classroom for six hours a day learning with all the other kids in all the same way.
Let me start by saying that I have a great respect for teachers. They work so hard and put so much into teaching our kids, and they have their patience tested constantly. They are superheroes in my mind! I have learned one very important thing as I teach my kids –they all learn VERY differently. Gracie is very much a “by–the-book classic student” who could sit in a classroom and excel. Zac and Nik struggled with reading and spelling until I found an online spelling program that teaches them their spelling words by playing games – genius! Soon, they started getting 100 percent on their tests. Hallelujah! They are also really good at math and are working a year ahead of their grade level, which not something we could do in public school. Zac has a very mechanical brain and is a hands on learner. Last year he fixed the snowmobile, 4-wheeler and lawn mower after his regular assignments were done, and this year we found a fully functional model motorcycle motor that he can build from scratch. Nik loves to cook and we are able to spend some extra time helping him learn new recipes, plus he makes us new treats. Ali has ADHD and is very smart but to sit still in a class for 6 hours would be torture. Now she has her work, can get it done by lunch and can get her wiggles out in between if needed. She also wants to be the first woman on Mars (she thinks big all the time) so she is studying everything she can about space.
Our school day, when the kids cooperate, is over by lunchtime and then they have the rest of the day to go outside, explore, and be kids. No homework!! When we say we homeschool, I know a lot of people ask if we are worried about our kids and getting enough social time. Our kids actually have more play time with their friends now because they don’t have homework and have already finished their chores by the time their friends get off the bus. Plus, I know the kind of kids my kids are socializing with because they are at my house, not school while they are hanging out, and that makes me feel more secure as a mom. We also do some community homeschool activities and usually host holiday parties at our house so the kids aren’t missing out on those activities at all.
We’ve collaborated with Amazon for this post and, like most of you already know, Amazon has tens of millions of items available with FREE Shipping. I can honestly say that Amazon is an essential part of our homeschooling program because it allows me to find a variety of specific teaching tools for each of my kids. I’ve put together an Idea List of some of the items we are using for homeschool this year for the Amazon Back-To-School Store.
Overall, homeschooling works extremely well for our family. I don’t think it is for everyone because it is a huge commitment and you have to have the right frame of mind. If you have any questions or are thinking about homeschooling, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer any questions. It isn’t easy, and I think about sending them to school often, but I know it is right for our family, and it is so worth it.