This time of year I am usually busily planning for the upcoming school year. There are charts, checklists, and plans. And alongside those are bins of books and materials I hope to use. Whether it’s the teacher or the planner in me, getting ready for the new school year has always been something I love to do.
But not this year.
This year is different.
This year is full of changes — some expected, many unexpected.
I’m now a single, work at home, homeschooling mom. It’s a new title. One I didn’t expect. One I didn’t want. But it’s our new reality.
Since I started Fantastic Fun and Learning blogging has mostly been a hobby, a way to share with and learn from others while I have the pleasure of staying home and teaching my girls. I never dreamed I would need it.
When my husband left, I had big decisions to make. Go back to teaching? Daycare for Tinker? Public school for Lovey?
I wasn’t happy with those choices — for me or for the girls. That isn’t to say I have anything against any of those options. And it doesn’t mean we’ll never pursue them. I just don’t feel they are right for us right now.
So this year, I’m embracing my new title and thankful that your support of this website is giving me the opportunity to work full time from home while also being there for my girls and homeschooling full time. Even if it isn’t exactly how I envisioned our future.
We’re moving. Less than two weeks before the school year starts we are moving. We’ll likely be spending those first weeks back to school finding stuff in an array of boxes, adjusting to our new home, and easing into our new normal.
We said goodbye to our buddies. With all of the changes and the need to blog full time, we had to say goodbye to Little Buddy and Big Buddy. We’ll still see them all of the time in real life, but you won’t be seeing them on the blog regularly and they won’t be with us daily.
Lovey is going to be a kindergartener. We’ll be transitioning from home preschooling to homeschool with her. In and of itself this isn’t a huge change, but the word “kindergartener” makes it seem so BIG. We’ve decided to utilize our school district’s virtual school program this year, so we’re actually somewhere between officially being “homeschool” and “public school” students. I’ll know more about what all this means once we actually get started with the school year.
Our homeschooling philosophy is continuing to evolve. As I learn more about the girls’ learning styles and my own teaching style, we continue to revise our homeschool schedule and goals. When I first started staying home with them our days ran very much like my days in the classroom and their days in preschool. It was what we all knew, and it worked well for us then.
But as I see more about the way they prefer to learn and read more about different homeschool options, we are naturally moving toward a more flexible, child-led approach. The affiliate links below are two books I really enjoyed reading this summer as I thought about the upcoming school year.
Even though I’ve always left time for unstructured learning and play, too often last year I felt like I was pulling the girls away from meaningful self-directed learning just to accomplish some preplanned activity that was in our lesson plans. Unintentionally, I put my agenda before theirs, and well–that never works out for anybody!
I’m starting with a very short list of key skills I hope the girls will work on this year. I’ll be providing some minimal instruction based on those few skills, but other than that our activities and projects will be even more child-led than in years past.
How are you getting ready for the upcoming school year?