If Homeschool Walls Could Talk

Hotel room

If Homeschool Walls Could TalkWe are entering our third year of homeschooling.  Since I never thought I’d be doing this, I’m pretty amazed that we’re still trucking along.

Amazed, and yet, I feel like I totally suck at it.

I know homeschoolers go through phases where they worry they’re not doing enough for their children and similar feelings, so I know I’m not alone.

But, this is called If Homeschool Walls Could Talk, which implies some sort of secret, at least in my mind.  So, I’m going to just lay it all out there for you guys to see…

Our first year of homeschooling ended with us barely finishing half of the year’s work.  Yep, there, I said it.

That’s right.  We had all of our nifty stuff from our boxed curriculum company {that I loved by the way}, and I only managed to teach a tiny smidgen of what was there.

And no, it wasn’t because we were using other stuff.  We simply didn’t do school.  Here I was, the homeschooling mom of a second grader, and I wasn’t teaching her…

To this day I feel like a complete noob about that.  But I at least had some fairly unusual circumstances to attribute my noobdom to.

We had moved out of our house in WA, were living with Grandma in OR for three months while Vince exited the Navy and found a job, to then move from OR to AL at the end of October.  From November {when we arrived in AL, no place to live, no friends or family} through January we lived in a hotel one hour from Vince’s work and almost two hours from the area we’d eventually be moving to.

We spent those three months looking at houses {yes, that meant driving those couple of hours one way to look at houses, many, many, many days…}, finding our way around, learning and complying with the new state’s homeschool laws, trying to make ends meet while we waited for the new paycheck to come in {and while unemployment was no longer coming in}, and dealing with all sorts of other little things that occur when you’re living with a small portion of your things {while everything else is in storage} in a hotel room and trying to generate a new normal.

I’m not gonna lie, I hated living in that hotel.  Looking back, I was probably being an ungrateful whiny thing, but I still hated it nonetheless.  And it was expensive.  Like $1,400 a month expensive…

The hotel wasn’t a bad place; an extended stay type of thing with a little kitchenette, new and fairly clean.  My husband was fortunate enough to find a good job at a time when most people couldn’t get hired.  We had finally been preapproved for a loan and ended up finding a great house.  I was healthy, my family was healthy, I really should have been grateful.

Hotel roomBut, I hated living in that hotel.  As it dragged on through November, and then December, and into January, it’s all I could do to sit there in what was fast becoming a cramped hotel room and homeschool Babydoll.

I didn’t want to.  Or, the day would be spent running errands or doing something out of town and then when we got back I didn’t want to.

Looking back, I’m honestly not sure we got much of anything done.  We started strong at the beginning of the year while at Grandma’s house, but we quickly trickled once we were in AL.

HouseThen it was finally time to move into our new house!  We were excited!  I was ecstatic!  I thought, “Now I can finally settle into a routine!!!”

Well, then we had to wait four weeks for our things to come out of storage and make it to us.  And then there was a problem with the fridge delivery.

Want to know what’s almost harder than living in an extended stay?  Living in a house without a fridge, pots or pans, utensils, plates, cups, chairs, tables, beds, pillows, linens…  You get the picture.

So, to get us through that month we had to go and buy stuff, even though I knew I had stuff coming.  It was winter and it was cold {snow in AL that winter, crazy!} and there were no blinds or curtains on my many windows to keep the cold out and the heat in.

I should note, however, that despite all this, I was still infinitely more happy in my house.  It felt like things were finally moving forward.

Great, we can finally “do school.”

Nope.  Now comes time to talk on the phone for endless hours with delivery folks and military movers and the blinds lady and the fridge people and the utility companies and this person and that person.

HouseAnd then our stuff came!!!  Which meant things had to be unpacked and put away.

It was Spring before we really started doing any semblance of school again.  I felt so bad.  So, so, so bad, like I was letting Babydoll down.

She was fine, for the record.  She enjoyed driving across the country and seeing the Grand Canyon and Arizona and all sorts of other awesome stuff.  She enjoyed the new “castle park” we had found near the hotel.  She enjoyed living close enough to family to drive eight hours and surprise them all in December.  She enjoyed seeing all sorts of new things and hearing all sorts of new things and experiencing all sorts of new things.  She enjoyed being my helper.  She enjoyed our new house and the pond out back and fishing in it.

We ended the school year in June, because despite the fact that I had a ton of “not school” time, I felt like I needed a break.  I felt like I just needed to start new next year.

I cried.  I’m crying right now writing this.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to let go of the feelings of failure and of letting Babydoll down.  I felt like I let the homeschooling community as a whole down by not “doing school” properly.  I felt like the ultimate billboard for reasons not to homeschool your child.

Yet, we kept at it for a second year.  It was much better.  We were much more settled and got much more done.  Yet we still didn’t “finish” everything.

And then I realized, you never finish.  You’re always going, always learning.  It doesn’t stop.  Just because an entire book hasn’t been completed doesn’t mean we aren’t doing things right.

Just because she didn’t learn every last multiplication fact in third grade doesn’t mean that in the end she will have still learned all the math she needs to know.

It’ll all be alright.  She’s progressing and flourishing and enjoying what I hope to be a fulfilling and exciting life.  As our one and only child {by choice}, I constantly worry that I’m not giving her everything she needs.  I’m hoping she’ll grow up thinking that she had awesome parents and an awesome life.

So, if my homeschool walls could talk, they’d tell you of the struggle we’ve had adapting my preconceived notions of what it means to learn and school to what homeschooling is really about:  living a life of learning and loving it.

If my homeschool walls could talk, they’d tell you that I still worry about what I’m doing daily, hourly sometimes.  They’d tell you that I cry sometimes thinking I’m not doing enough for Babydoll.  They’d tell you that I want more than anything for her to grow up and think she lucked out on the home front.

They’d tell you that we’re plugging away, for a third year, learning from our mistakes and what didn’t work and figuring out what works for us.

They’d tell you that I love my daughter more than just about anything and want her to grow up thinking that homeschooling was the most wicked awesome thing we could have done.

This post was written as part of a link up with some other fabulous homeschool moms.  We’re all really laying it out there for the world to see, so be sure to stop by each one and give them some encouragement and love.

Lisa at The Army Chap’s Wife

Megan at Half-Pint House

Maureen at Spell Outloud

Reesa at Suburban Tree Hugger

Laura at Day by Day in Our World

Jasmine at Ponder the Path

Lee at Homeschool Canada

Jimmie at Jimmie’s Collage

Honey at Sunflower Schoolhouse

Tiffany at Sweet Phenomena

Want to share what your homeschool walls would say?  Link up here!

Fun in the Summer Sun!

Baking

All summer, Mama to 4 Blessings along with Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, Harvest Moon By Hand, and I have been hosting Fun in the Summer Sun link-up events.

This week is our last link up, since most of us have either started school or are starting soon and prepping our brains out!

This last link up will be a bit different — simply link up your blog, Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feed or any other social media you belong to! Please do not link up giveaways (they will be deleted).

And since it’s our last link up, we chose to share one more recipe with you guys:  peanut butter cup caramel shortbread bars by Our Best Bites.

If you haven’t tried any of the recipes on this site, you really, really, really need to.  I don’t know that we’ve found anything one or all of us didn’t like.  A lot.

Since the link above takes you to the recipe, I’ll just post a few pics of us making the yummies.

BakingBakingBakingBakingBaking

I forgot to get a picture of us pouring the chocolate over the caramel…

We really enjoyed sharing our Fun in the Summer Sun posts with all of you and the other wonderful women who joined in!  We hope you guys enjoyed it as well!

Oh, and here’s a bonus recipe from Our Best Bites:  BBQ Bacon Sliders.  OMG, these things are so good…

Not Back-to-School Blog Hop: School Room Week

Not Back to School Blog HopThis week’s Not Back-to-School Blog Hop theme is the school room.  My house is absolutely not ready for pictures right now, so I’m relying on an oldie-but-goodie, the Wicked Workboxes post.

We “do school” many different places, just like many other homeschoolers, but Babydoll’s room is “the” school room.

Then, be sure to head over to Heart of the Matter Online to check out other school room pictures!

Back to School Giveaway Hop – US Only

This giveaway has ended. The winners are listed below!

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Woot!  It’s time for the Back to School Giveaway Hop!!

I’ve got two packages, one for all moms/dads/caregivers and one for homeschool moms/dads/caregivers!!!

Click the “ENTER HERE” link for each package to be taken to the Rafflecopter entry form for that package.

Package 1 – Back to School Organization

{All families – $103}

Nicole Carter

ENTER HERE

dotmine planner

dotmine student planner

e-mealz subscription

mod 86 designery All in One Food Organizer

Punker-Do Designs Home Management Binder Printables

Package 2 – Back to School Organization

{Homeschool Families – $113}

Terra Heck

ENTER HERE

The Weekly Homeschool Planner {sponsored by me!!}

Well Planned Day Student Planner A, Student Planner B, OR High School Student Planner {sponsored by me!!}

e-mealz subscription

mod 86 designery All in One Food Organizer

Punker-Do Designs Home Management Binder Printables

Punker-Do Designs Color Fun Printable Flashcards

Punker-Do Designs Alphabet Fun Printable Flashcards

Punker-Do Designs Number Fun Printable Flashcards

 

Sweet Critique: Time Island

You guys know my family loves video games.  We’re major Lord of the Rings Online gamers.  :)  So Babydoll and I thought it would be fun to review Time Island.

The premise of the game is that you are stranded on an island and must survive.  You have to keep yourself and your house clean, keep yourself fed, keep your energy up, build your survival skills, and stay free of the Goggs {really bad green guys…}.

You can explore the island, find energy and other items, shop for clothes, and play mini games.  Some of the mini-games are just for fun, some build your island skills, and others are educational in nature.  Babydoll loved the mini games.  There are even places to access do-at-home activities, which are educational in nature.

Babydoll took to Time Island right away and really enjoyed it.  I played with her for a bit as well.  The game is still in testing phases, but they’re progressing nicely.

I wanted to note that if you jump right into playing the game, there is a learning curve to it.  It’s sometimes not very apparent what you’re supposed to do.  The Time Island folks have dealt with that nicely by providing FAQ and training sections on the website.

All in all, I think the game is a cute and fun way for kids to spend their time.  The designers have made sure safety measures have been put in place for chat and other parental safety concerns, which is nice.  Babydoll gives her stamp of approval, too.

Want to win a Time Island Fun Pack, containing temporary tattoos, stickers, sunglasses, a bandanna, and bracelets, all in a nifty sack?  Be sure to enter below!!

True Confessions:  We were given the opportunity to play Time Island in exchange for a blog review.  This did not sway our opinions, and the blog review contains our honest thoughts.

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