Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's the End of the World, I Mean, School Year As We Know It, and I Feel Fine!

When our family entered the world of homeschooling, we had few expectations and high hopes.  Today marked the end of a great year, and I am officially the mom of a 1st grader and 3K-er.  We finished the year somewhat anti-climatically as we have been in review for the past couple of weeks.  Seeing all the pictures of my friends’ kids with tiny graduation hats or creative teacher gifts made me *slightly* jealous but also thankful for everything this school year brought me.
Will also attends a homeschool co-op, and his last homework for his “Under Construction” class gave us a big project to work on that made this week seem a little more climactic.  The project was to design a puppet stage and sock puppet based on a favorite story.  It will come as no surprise to anyone who has known Will for longer than three seconds that he decided to make a storyscape of The Avengers.
In order to do homeschool the way I wanted to do it, I had to accept early on that this was what my house was going to look like for awhile.  We worked in our classroom, but many things we did "spilled" into the rest of the house for various reasons.  Sure, I could have cleaned more and lived with a lot less clutter, but I decided having time to read or watch TV at night was more important in this moment.  There will be a day when we live in an uncluttered house again, but it's not my top priority right now.
Will with his final project
Sock puppet Nick Fury, leader of the Avengers
My very spectacular MIL sent us these blank stick puppets a few months ago, and I hid them away for a rainy day.  They obviously came in handy here.  The assignment only required one puppet, but OBVIOUSLY we had to make all the Avengers.  That's Loki on top of the red building.  Will decided to draw him because he was a bad guy, and he only wanted to make good guy puppets.

While we ate lunch this afternoon, I decided to ask Will a few questions to try to get a feel for how he thought the year went.  His answers are as follows:
On a scale of 1-5:
How did you like handwriting practice? 1
Adding and subtracting? 3
Telling time? 3
Counting money? 5
Reading books? 4 (He also added that he likes it better when I read to him than when he reads on his own)
Writing stories? 5
Making comic strips/collages? 5
Studying geography and map-making? 4
Drawing pictures? 5
Cutting and pasting? 5
Problem-solving workbooks? 5
Logic puzzles? 5
Watching/listening books? 5
Science experiments? 5
What was your favorite thing we did this year at homeschool? Cutting and pasting.
Did you like having Mommy for a teacher? No because you distracted me always.
What do you mean by distracted? Because you were always making me do my letters better.
Are you excited to go to public school for first grade? Yes! 
Why? ‘Cause I’ll make new friends.
I asked Ben what he liked about school, and first he said, “I’m not telling you.”  After I asked Will questions, he changed his mind.  Here are his answers:
What do you like about school?  Coloring and cutting and the computer.
What do you like on the computer? The letter game that you can press the letters.
Do you like learning about colors? No, I don’t like learning about colors.  I know all the colors.
Do you like learning about counting? Yes! (Rolls eyes.)
Do you like learning about shapes?  (Shakes head yes and smiles.)
At that point, he said, “After we talk about school, can we talk about snow?”  I said, “Yes, do you like learning about weather?”  He said, “Uh, yeah.”
Do you like it when mommy reads to you? Uh-huh.
Tell me about one of your favorite books.  Thomas.
How about another one? Chuggington.  And Lightning McQueen because I have a book about Lightning McQueen that has buttons to press, and if you say the words, you have to press the buttons, and if the race is starting, you have to press the red button.
How about a book that you read with Daddy at night?  Hippos Go Berserk.  And Blue Hat Green Hat.
Are you excited about going to your preschool next year?  No.  I’m excited about Legoland and Disneyland.
What was your favorite thing you did in school this year? Drawing.
The thing I feel best about is that none of these answers surprised me, and overall, I feel like my kids are academically and socially on track with other kids their age.  Going into this year, my biggest goals were to be patient and flexible, and I think I passed the comprehensive test with flying colors.  For my kids, I wanted them to end this year with more knowledge than when we started and to be comparable to other kids their age academically.  The fact that they are both excelling in a few areas of the curriculum is an added bonus.  I also wanted them to have fun--because they are six and three, and they have plenty of years to cry over group projects and stress about testing.  The last question I asked Will was “Did you have fun in school this year?” and he emphatically answered, “Yes!  You always make school fun!”  This isn’t really true, but I’m ecstatic that he feels that way.
In the fall, Will will be attending the local elementary school.  We officially enrolled him a month ago, and standing in the hallways with the brightly colored bulletin boards, watching classes of kids walk down the hall quietly in single file behind sweet-voiced teachers made me so excited for him.  He is going to love it.
Ben will start two afternoons a week at a church up the road for his first year of preschool (with additional homeschool instruction from me on the days he's not in school, but that's kind of a no-brainer).  I can’t wait for the first time he comes home with something I didn’t help him make.  He’s going to love it.
I’m going to love it.
Maybe, with the extra time, I’ll even get started on publishing all these books that are sitting on the dusty shelves of my brain.
Thanks for reading, and happy summer!


  1. "You distracted me always." hahahaha! Sounds like you did an AWESOME job, teacher-Mom!! I was homeschooled and then studied elementary ed at college. Weird paradigm shift. Now I'm a bank auditor. Go figure.

    Congrats on the rave reviews from your boys!

    1. Thanks, Emily! I think the year was good for all of us, and we are really looking forward to this very fun summer. :)

  2. More than reading or counting money or drawing picture(although they are all very important things), they will remember the time you spent with them. Good job on a successful year!