And So Begins Another (Home) School Year

It’s Year 3 and Year 1 at the ‘Skiy residence! D ‘Skiy begins his third year of homeschooling today, and today M ‘Skiy officially starts homeschooling!

We can’t even begin to express how grateful and blessed we are to be able to do this.

Mama ‘Skiy doesn’t have to go through that emotional first day of school, especially since our youngest is now “attending.”

We can choose the schedule we want, which happens to be Monday through Thursday, since Papa ‘Skiy has every other Friday off of work. This is also why we always begin school on the first Monday of August, rather than when traditional schools begin.

We can vacation and travel when other families aren’t, which means smaller crowds, shorter lines, and less traffic. And if somebody is sick or having an off day, we can take it easy and make up lessons some other time.

Our boys — being boys — are extremely active and don’t sit still for very long, preferring to go outside and work with their hands over remaining chained to a desk and book to finish tasks. And if they don’t get something right now or find something too easy or boring, then we adjust for them, so they can learn in the manner that’s best for them.

Do we even need to mention homework, studying for tests, attending parent-teacher and parental organization meetings, dealing with bullying and various behaviorial issues of other kids, waking up super early and possible sleep deprivation? After all, no study has proven the benefits of homework, teachers are pressured now more than ever to teach for tests and not true education, those meetings tent to fuel competition and frustration…

The boys have asked us about regular school, and we’re honest.

Papa ‘Skiy only attended high school in America, and he was picked on a lot. Due to the way classes are taught here compared to Russia, he also struggled. He enjoyed the activities he got in to — swimming, tennis, band — but admits signing up because (due to the language barrier) he didn’t understand they were school teams. He was smart but says he also got involved with bad habits and not the best of crowds, just so he could try to fit in.

Mama ‘Skiy was one of those annoying students that completed all projects ahead of or on time, volunteered to bang the chalkboard erasers and pass out papers, excelled in all subjects and was even moved to the level of band ahead of her age and class, was in every honors society and tutored other students and classmates… She actually enjoyed school, for the most part. Although she liked the classes and activities, she was teased and bullied relentlessly, and despite her parents’ involvement and how much they tried to help with issues and be part of field trips and such, the schools despised their participation and presence and made her parents well aware of this. It was as if, unless parents were willing to be quiet participants or kiss butt, the schools didn’t want parents involved.

We’ve given the boys the option to go to school, especially because they’re curious and have never been, and we’ll continue to give them that option. Homeschooling is a family decision, though, not a parental one.

We’re certainly not worried about their social skills. Their friends range in ages from two to fourteen, they’re very outgoing and more than comfortable talking to adults and making new friends wherever they go, they — and we — are constantly being praised for their manners and behavior, and they can easily recognize the bullies and bad behavior at playgrounds, stores, and other places we go…and they choose to avoid it.

And we’re not helicopter parents. We don’t hover at the playgrounds, we allow them to ride their bikes on their own at campgrounds, and when we go places like Sea World and they want to go to the children’s area, we have a meeting place and have walkie-talkies to keep in touch.

Despite popular belief, we’re no hermits. We do a lot, we travel, we explore, and we’re active. Our boys are growing in leaps and bounds — physically, emotionally, and intelligently.

We’re thrilled that our boys have chosen to be homeschooled. We can continue to educate them in ways books and schools simply can’t, and we can carry on with our RVing and camping obsession…er, hobby.

Year 3…and Year 1: bring it on!

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Winding Down Another Homeschool Year

June is a busy month for us. Ours sons’ birthdays and their birthday party are in June, Mama and Papa’s anniversary is in June, and we complete schooling at the beginning of the month, which means the evaluation will be coming up soon.

Our oldest has completed his 2nd official year of homeschooling. And we can remember very clearly just how nervous — and stressed — we were his 1st year.

Just before that 1st year, our youngest son had broken his leg. He was in a full-body cast and needed help with everything. Everything. Nearly every amount of attention went to him, from day-to-day struggles to appointments at the children’s hospital almost 2 hours away. It’s not that we neglected or ignored the needs of our oldest, but it’s safe to say homeschool preparation took a back seat.

That resulted in an ill-prepared first year of homeschooling. Lessons were thrown together haphazardly, we feverishly read books to make sure everything necessary was covered, and our collection and records of work were a complete mess.

When it came time for the first evaluation, Mama was a wreck. She had scraped together every paper, photo, worksheet, and art project that had been completed…and the dining room table was a mess with all of it!

Yet that evaluation was less painful than choosing which book to read at night! Needless to say, she was over-prepared. All that was necessary was a reading log, examples of work at the beginning and end of the year, and a chance for the evaluating teacher to talk to the student.

And this was all done via Skype, in the comfort of our home.

This past year was a breeze. His reading skills are much-improved and he completed almost two full grade levels of work. Our reading list was extensive, as were our lists of activities, places visited, and events attended.

Not only did he grow, but we did too. From the first year to the second, we all discovered just how easy and fitting homeschooling is for us.

The lesson here: if you taught your child how to crawl, walk, talk, feed himself, and dress himself, then any parent can homeschool. Nobody knows your child better than you.

Honestly, it really is that easy.