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My Professional Background - Once upon a time, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. Actually, I was a professional motivational speaker for about 5 years.:
No, I’m not pregnant, mom. Plus, I wouldn’t tell you this way. I would at least call you and tell you a knock-knock joke like I did the first time.

Not even kidding, people.

Anyway, YOU GUYS, I can’t believe I haven’t told you one of THE biggest things that has happened to us recently. I say “happened to us” because there are only a handful of things in my life that I do intentionally or on a set schedule. It’s just not my personality. Believe me, I wish it was my personality, but it isn’t.

My friend Staci recently let me borrow some of her old homeschool items: a few decks of Brain Quest cards and two packets of the preschool Gospel Light curriculum (it’s designed for Sunday School classes, but it’s perfect for preschool homeschoolers), and an entire year of Sonlight curriculum.

It just so happened that I felt particularly bored several weeks ago—you know, because we live in the bipolar State of Kansas that feels like a frozen tundra in the winter and hell’s bathroom in the summer. Oh, and if you think you are brave enough to face those miserable temperatures, a 75 mph wind will greet you with a roundhouse kick to the face, stand over your battered body and say, “Not today, Daniel Son!”

[Katy really needs to brush up on her martial arts references.]

We bought a kite two months ago and haven’t been able to use it because the winds exceed the operational limits.

Every.

Single.

Day.

I’m about to tie my family to the end of that kite and fly our frozen behinds back to Georgia.

Speaking of things that are unintelligible, I got bored one day and decided to give this homeschooling thing a try. No plan. No calendar. No “official” first day of school complete with Pinteresty photos of my kids holding chalkboard signs. I just woke up one morning and decided to unleash my professorial wisdom on my two very unsuspecting pupils.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I truly thought I would begin and immediately quit—kind of like I did with Girl Scouts. Seriously, though, what kind of troop leader forbids an 8-year-old to take her purse on a camping trip? Would it have killed them to let me have my lip gloss? And what’s with making me excrete in a hole? I’m pretty sure campgrounds have had suitable plumbing since the days of Pocahontas, so I don’t get why I had to dig a 4-foot hole in 1989.

I quit the very day we returned from that camping trip—or, as I like to call it, a series of uncomfortable, outdoor excretions.

As if it wasn’t enough for me to worry that I wouldn’t like homeschooling, I had a similar fear that my kids would hate it. I pictured them staring at me with blank faces like, “Is that all you got, dumbo? You just made Barney seem interesting and intelligent. And that’s pretty hard to do.”

But I’m here to tell you guys that I was shocked. They loved it . . . LOVED it. We all did! We went through the Brain Quest cards within a few days, so I began on the Gospel Light materials. We’re nearly done with the first set of that curriculum, and I plan to start on a more “comprehensive” curriculum in the fall (probably through Sonlight, but I’m still researching). Also, just for fun, I recently purchased the Financial Peace Junior kit along with their Story Time Book Set (I HIGHLY recommend both of these for any parent of a child between ages 3 and 12—whether you’re homeschooling or not).

The kids ask me every day when they can do more “actibities,” they try to wait their turn to tell the day’s Bible story on our homemade story board (made with flannel that I stapled to a canvas), and they literally BEG me to continue when our school day has ended. They can’t get enough of it. They’re like little sponges just begging to absorb the water from the Word.

I can’t possibly describe how rewarding that is as a Christian parent and how much it motivates me to get my often depressed, frozen, indoor-plumbing-spoiled rear end out of bed every morning.

[That last mental image was unnecessary.]

I totally get that homeschooling isn’t for every family. And I know it may not even be for our little family in a different season of our lives. But for now I can think of NO greater thrill for me than to have the opportunity to spend my days in conversations like this one from last week:

Me:  “JJ, do you remember when we read in our Bible about how Jonathan was kind to his friend David? What you just did for your sister was very kind.”

JJ:  “Did that make you happy, mama?”

Me:  “Yes, it did! And do you know who else is happy when you’re kind?”

JJ:  “God!”

Me:  “That’s right.”

JJ:  “Mama, why can’t I see God?”

Me:  “Well, JJ . . . that’s a good question. We can’t see God now because He has chosen to be invisible to us. But we can still pray to Him and know that He will hear us.”

JJ:  “Mama, where does God live?”

Me:  “He lives in Heaven . . . and in our hearts.”

JJ:  “Is God in MY heart?”

Someone, please come over here and pick me up off the floor right now. I was NOT prepared to have a deep, theological discussion with my 3-year-old last week.

Me:  “Well, sweetie, God CAN live in your heart . . . one day.”

I did my best to explain something that is impossible for my own mind to comprehend, but JJ seemed satisfied with my answer and went right back to purposefully annoying his sister.

Baby steps.

If you’re a homeschooling parent, a product of a homeschool environment, or an educator, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. I have a feeling I will need LOTS of advice and encouragement throughout this journey. Though many in our society have embraced homeschooling, most everyone I talk to about it gives me that sideways look that says, “Awwww . . . it’s cute how you think your kids won’t hate you for this one day.”

What is your best piece of advice for a homeschooling newbie?

P.S. – Don’t forget to comment on yesterday’s post for a chance to win a set of hand-drawn greeting cards that are literally pieces of original artwork!

Disclaimer: Today’s post is not a sponsored post, but I did include some Amazon affiliate links. You know, so I can help pay for all the counseling we’ll need after this homeschooling experience.

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Comments to "Big Announcement"

  1. Courageous Jane

    April 9, 2014

    Congratulations and welcome to the club! 🙂 Be sure to check out the A – Z series on my blog to see what homeschooling looks like at my house. It helps to get a peek into other home schools when framing the vision for you own. (Your blog is one of my all-time favorites, so this is VERY good news to me! Can’t wait to follow your adventures.)
    Courageous Jane recently posted…M is for …My Profile

  2. Stephanie

    April 9, 2014

    My biggest piece of advice is to take it one day and one school year at a time. Think about your goals from education and go from there. 🙂

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      Excellent advice, Stephanie. I think you’re so right about the goal-setting. It’s not a strength of mine, but it’s something that always helps tremendously when I take the time to do it. Thanks for your wisdom!

  3. Thalia M

    April 9, 2014

    My kids have all grown up but if I had it to do over, I think I’d rather have home-schooled them. I do have a resource I think maybe helpful to you though. I follow this page on Facebook and even though she focuses on money-saving tips, she has a whole section of home schooling resources and activities for free. Thought you might be interested in checking it out… http://moneysavingmom.com/tag/homeschooling

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      I’ve come across the Money Saving Mom blog in the past, but I appreciate you reintroducing me to it. I have a feeling I could get lost in there for weeks! Thanks for the tip, Thalia! And thanks for reading my silly, little blog! 😉

  4. Kathy Hinesley

    April 9, 2014

    Katy,
    I have been reading your blog since its inception but have never commented much; I think this is my third time in a week. As a young educator, I was so against homeschooling. Now, though, I think whatever is right for your family is what you should do – as long as you provide LOTS of opportunity for socialization. I would love to talk with you next time you’re home about all that is available online – you may actually know more about that than I do – and about different types of school options. The possibilities are endless.
    Have fun with your babies!
    Love you,
    Aunt Kathy

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      I’ll take ANY advice you can give me, Aunt Kathy. You’re a pro educator if there ever was one. I have certainly considered the socialization aspect of homeschooling since I have a tendency to be an extreme homebody myself. Let’s get together the next time we’re home! Love you!!!

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      PS – It makes my day when my family comments. 🙂

  5. Whitney Standlea

    April 9, 2014

    Julie mentioned my felt stuff on Facebook… I just do stuff for holidays (Easter and Christmas), but we really enjoy it. We use it during family worship leading up to Easter… I will admit I am a little jealous that someone let you borrow the Sonlight curriculum because there stuff looks amazing 🙂 I do preschool at home with the kiddos before they go to Kindergarten at FCC. Each of my kids is different, but with Justus we really enjoyed doing Five in A Row together last year. And there are so many great free sites on line with printables and thematic units that correspond to FIAR and a lot of other things.
    Whitney Standlea recently posted…Easter Banner Shipping Deadline 2014My Profile

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      Whitney, thanks for the link to your ADORABLE felt stuff! I haven’t heard of FIAR, so I’ll get to researching that. I feel like I’m drinking out of a fire hose. 🙂 Also, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Homeschool Creations blog, but she has some fabulous info on there. I just found it, so I’m can’t attest to the content itself. I’ve only browsed up to this point. Anyhow, she’s hosting a curriculum clean-out where people DONATE their homeschool materials to other families. It begins May 12! Here’s a link: http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2014/03/coming-soon-2014-curriculum-clean-out/

  6. Kacy

    April 9, 2014

    When my boys were little and during the summer when my “big school” was on vacation, we had LTU time – Learning Time University! I would come up with a plan for each of my two boys that involved reading, math skills, computer time (educational games), snack time and such. I would pour their juice and have it ready for them in the refrigerator so they could get it when it was “their” snack time. In between activities, I would tell them to run around the house three times, and knock on the window and wave at me each time they circled around. Worked off some energy for the next quiet lesson! Each boy worked on independent work or with me – was nice to enjoy them one-on-one! After lunch, they were ready to play together – less feuding and fussing because they had not been together all morning! Great memories of my boys during this time!

    As a public school teacher, like your Aunt Kathy, my views of homeschooling have changed through the years. I just wish that people would believe that there are MANY public school teachers who really want to inspire and encourage their students through the school year. Families have to do what’s best for the family!

    Good luck with your two beautiful children – you will be FABULOUS!!!

    Kacy

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      Kacy, this is amazing! I LOVE your idea of LTU and having them run around the house (literally). 🙂 Genius. Thanks for your encouragement and advice!!!

  7. StephVG

    April 9, 2014

    Homeschooling is so great! … and it’s so hard! I’m in the preK-K trenches, so I’m newish to the whole thing. But we LOVE Sonlight; it’s the only curriculum we’ve used so far, but because I can be both flighty and legalistic, I love the days already planned out for me, and I love the fact that they ENCOURAGE flexibility, skipping what you need to, supplementing where you want to. It’s seriously great stuff, and completely fits with our family culture, at turns informal and formal. We did use Core A science this year for K-age daughter, and I’m switching to a different science curr next year because I wasn’t all that thrilled. It was okay, but not great, really. Also, I hate science.

    All that said, here’s my advice:

    — This worked for my personality, but may not for yours: before we started, Husband and I made a list of why we were choosing this and what we wanted to see ultimately (very broad goalsetting, basically). I’ve referred back to it on the hard days, when I’m tempted to give up. It’s a good thing to have on hand. Ok, honestly, I’m the researcher in our family, so I read up on homeschooling (three specific books recommended by h/s moms I trust) and then – yes, literally – put together a PowerPoint because Husband is visual. I included pros and cons, different philosophies, reasons we’d already talked about, etc. It sounds anal, but it was hugely instrumental in getting us both on the same page, crystallizing our family vision and goals, and narrowing our search for material. You can skip the PowerPoint and even anything formal, but having (somewhere) a list of reasons that keep you focused and keep you and your husband on the same page is essential.

    — Read blogs. They can be helpful. But RELY on the Holy Spirit. He has His finger on the pulse of your household and will give you wisdom as to what h/s-ing should look like on any given day.

    — Cathy Duffy includes a questionnaire kinda thing in her “101 Top Picks” book that was hugely instrumental in guiding Husband and me as we chose curriculum. I commend it to you.

    — Everyone has an opinion. If you talk about this publicly, be prepared for strange looks, “concerned” advice, and straight-up criticism. Don’t feel like you have to defend yourself.

    — We do something called “Sabbath schooling.” Wish I could remember the blog I found it on; you could probably Google it. Basically, every 6-7 weeks, we take a week off. It definitely helps me (I can be easily overwhelmed) and gives the kids a bit of a break. We start 2nd week of August and finish the week of Memorial Day, because our church does VBS very early in the summer and I’m the pastor’s wife… I need to be completely free by then. Anyway, that’s worked for us.

    — Do what works for your family. If that means you do school in pj’s and don’t start till 10a, do it. Don’t be afraid to switch curriculum mid-year or even mid-week if what you choose ends up not working. The internet has a wealth of free material – hunt it down. Not all is worth it, but some are gems. And don’t be afraid of tears…they dry.

    Sorry for the book, but as a newish h/s-er, these ideas have been sanity-savers for me.

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      Your info here is GOLD. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wisdom with me and my readers! What a blessing!!!

  8. Katheryn

    April 9, 2014

    If you prefer to have everything laid out for you, I would recommend ABC Jesus Loves Me. It is free, although if you don’t want to have to print everything yourself, they do have a paid for option.

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      Oh my goodness, Katheryn, why haven’t I heard of that? THANK YOU for the free resource! I’ll look into that for sure.

  9. Katie

    April 9, 2014

    So excited for you! Such an adventure you are entering! There will be good days and bad days but remember you had those before homeschooling. (We have had days when Mitch came home from work to a sign on the front door that said “They won.”) It happens. But I love it and dread when this chapter is over. I also echo the kid by kid, year by year mantra to decide what’s best for your kiddos. We’ve got two home and one in public school. You aren’t locked in to anything. Enjoy the precious time with your precious people!

    • Katy in a Corner

      April 9, 2014

      Katie, I actually remember you telling me this when we first met (in 2007?). I have never forgotten that, and we went into this knowing that we may or may not do it for both kids or for their entire childhood. That has taken a TON of stress off as we plan our family’s future. Thank you for your comments and your friendship! LOVE my Air Force family! Oh, and I LOVE the idea of a sign on the door so that Brian will know the chaos he is about to encounter. That’s hilarious. Gotta keep that sense of humor, right?

  10. Pingback: First World Problems: The Art of "The Fine Print" | (Nobody Puts) Katy in a Corner

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