Today was our first day back to homeschooling.
It's also the first year (officially) all of my children are school age. Jackson is in 3rd grade, Clara is in 3rd grade, Elliott is in 1st grade and Riley is Kindergarten. And while it is so easy for everything to look just "so" in pictures. This is more realistic.
Let me tell you, our first day was hard. Re-adjusting schedules, figuring out how we are going to make it work, attempting to keep everyone's attention. Hard.
But. Homeschooling is so rewarding. Like when Clara answered the question on her about me page, "What is the one thing you like most", and she answered "I love Jesus!". Or Jackson answering the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and answered "A Dad, like my Dad." Or when talking about God creating the world and saying "Let there be light". We played a game with a flashlight, shining the light on different objects in the room. Riley shines the light at a yellow paper lantern and says "It's yellow, and round. Like the sun. Just like Jesus' love warms my heart, the sun warms the world." Profound moments I will hold on to and treasure forever. As in, I will be a Grandma telling these stories over and over to my Grandchildren, kind of forever.
We had fun making a time capsule to open on the last day of school.
Answering "About Me" pages, and drawing a picture on the back of one of their favorite things to do. I also made "Treat bags" for the kids. I never buy candy, so this was a HUGE deal at our house. I wanted to reinforce principles with the treats. And found some ideas on Pinterest.
Here is what was in their bags:
Gum- "We stick together"
Smarties- "We each are smart at different things."
Kisses- "We love each other, and are kind."
Eraser- "No mistake is too big to be erased and learned from."
Sharpened Pencil- "You are one sharp kid!"
Reese Pieces- "You are loved to pieces". ( I *might* have burst out singing Patsy Cline's "I fall to pieces" while handing these out. Children were NOT amused.)
This is our fourth year using Heart of Dakota Curriculum. I love this curriculum and can not say enough good things about it. Jackson and Clara are using "Bigger Hearts for His Glory" and Elliott and Riley are using "Little Hearts for His Glory" (Elliott is using the extension package for 1st grade). I found a yahoo group that has MANY amazing free printables and utilized that for the older kids notebooks. Doing so has simplified my job SO much!
In the "bigger kids" curriculum we sang the Hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy." And we are focusing on the character trait "Persistence." As I was preparing everything last night, pandora played this song.Two thoughts ran through my mind while I was preparing all day yesterday. "What do I know God?" and "How can I do this?". Then to hear this song, just confirmed that, even in our failures, God can and does use us. My job as a parent is to point my children to Jesus Christ. He will do the rest. It's not my job to know everything, that is impossible. My job is to know Christ. It's not to make excuses, or try to make God promises. It's to fear God, that is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. And this is our Bible Verse for this week. I actually chose this verse, as the verse of the year to pray over my children. Having NO idea it would be the first memory verse for school. Only God can do that. And I was reminded yet again, how God is in the little details of our lives.
My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,2
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;3
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,4
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;5
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5
I have heard many times "I could never teach my children!" or "I don't have the patience to homeschool." My disclaimer:
I am not "qualified", I don't have a degree. I am NOT the picture of patience. So how do I homeschool? Why do I homeschool? Because, "Through Christ I can do all things.". And I believe that. I know in my weakness, He gives me strength. I do not homeschool in my own strength. I can not.