Finding the Fun

I’m not gonna lie, this homeschool thing can be really hard! We got to a point at our little Thomas Academy where we were all pretty frustrated with each other, and struggling with bad attitudes. Not that we’re perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but after taking a couple weeks to find the fun of learning again I think we are all feeling much better! To be honest, it’s been a difficult adjustment for me filling this role as teacher-mom, and I think it’s been equally difficult for T to learn how to be student-son. Getting out of the mindset that school needs to be seven or eight hours a day has been super hard! I know we aren’t going to be sitting down doing math drills for eight hours a day, I know that in my head, but I struggle feeling like I’m doing enough. I have this fear that my child is going to fall behind. I know he’s fine, he’s bright and learning more daily, but it’s a scary responsibility for me! I am constantly in prayer about this, and asking my Father to guide me and help me through this journey. I’m thankful that with Him I am never alone.

With that said, specifically we’ve been struggling with two things.

  1. Complaining and whining.
  2. Getting into a rhythm.

Regarding the first one. What is it about five years old?!? All of a sudden my little guy thinks everything is the worst. It doesn’t matter what it is – reading? writing? math? playing outside? Nope. Awful. And, his attitude has gotten really bad. This is something we are working hard to resolve. I cannot tell you how many times a day I remind him that we do “everything without complaining and arguing” because it takes many many reminders. Usually, I just have to get him going on a task and he will be fine, it’s just that initial instruction he likes to push back. If you have been through this, and have any brilliant ideas, help a momma out and leave them in the comments! I will gladly take advice!

As far as getting into a rhythm goes, I ended up flipping our schedule upside down! I would love to get school done in the morning, but it wasn’t working for us at all. I would fight them the entire time, nothing productive would get accomplished, and then eventually in the afternoon we would settle into this beautiful and peaceful time that worked. So, I finally decided, forget the morning! Now I use mornings to do chores, run errands, and get the kids some physical activity. Typically after breakfast, I make beds and straighten up, then I get the kids outside to run around or we have a play date or go to a park. If we drive anywhere I use car time to review our CC material, and that works really well. For the most parts in the morning I try to get CC review done and plenty of exercise. Getting all their energy out in the mornings helps the afternoon focus for sure!

These two issues combined were stressing me out, so I took two weeks to really just find the fun again! It IS kindergarten after all, and a big reason we chose homeschool was for more learning through play. So…here’s what we’ve been up to:

We spent lots of time playing at the park! The kids had fun, but Mom is ready for cooler temperatures!

T loves anything ocean related, so we did a little science project on the zones of the sea and which creatures live where. It was super simple, and he loved it.

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Our local science center had a homeschool day at a very affordable rate. We went and the kids had a blast! We dug for fossils, mined for gemstones, got up close and personal with tons of different creatures. We explored their village where we watched a blacksmith at work (T totally wants to be a blacksmith when he grows up now), we sampled apple butter, saw farm animals, and pumped water for drinking. It was a fantastic day, and the kids learned a ton!

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We have been doing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for reading. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s exactly what the title describes. 100 lessons that take about 20 minutes each. It’s super simple to follow and it works! We’d been plugging along nicely to around lesson 30, when T started to get very frustrated and it was a nightmare. I think all of a sudden it started to be hard for him, and we weren’t getting anywhere. I took a few weeks off, and had him do simple letter activities, read BOB books to me, and read read read to both kids. I pulled 100 Lessons out again after that break, and at first T was reluctant to get going again, but then he realized he CAN do it, and he read this!

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I breathed a sigh of relief, and we’ve been plugging along again. I so love being able to zoom through lessons when he can, and slow down when he needs more time.

We built many Lego creations (probably T’s favorite thing to do).

We built words with blocks. T loved this activity and had no troubles at all. He excels when he doesn’t realize we are actually “doing a lesson.” He’s afraid to do something wrong, and that can hold him back from trying a lot of times. This little activity was great.

We observed creatures in our own backyard and explored!

We used playdoh during geography time to make blobs on each continent. This was another favorite.

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Lastly, we took a field trip to Linville Caverns. I didn’t get any pictures actually inside the caves, but the kids LOVED it! Turner thought it was amazing that we were underground. Liza Jill was just as fascinated. They were both a little disappointed that we didn’t see any bats, but maybe next time. We will be going back for sure!

In addition to all this, we’ve been moving through our math-u-see lessons, and our Classical Conversations material. The kids really enjoy our weekly CC community time, especially after class is over and they get to play on the playground with friends.

I’m feeling much better after taking some time to just enjoy this journey together! So, tell me, how do you find the fun again after a rough patch?

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