Well, today is May first (Happy Birthday Molly! - not Mollie - your birthday is tomorrow, this is not a typo) and thus begins the first year of homeschool wind downnnnn..... Or is it?
Actually, I just ordered my curriculum package for next year for Ronan. If you're interested, we'll be using Oak Meadow as our "main" structure and for our blocks and then we'll be adding elements from Christopherus first grade. Oak Meadow is a lightly flavored Waldorf inspired curriculum and Christopherus is generally considered a bit more Waldorf-y. It's surprising how strong the opinions about Waldorf Curriculum are while searching for reviews on the internet. Oak Meadow is considered either too "academic" or "not academic enough" (too academic for those who are really living a Waldorf lifestyle and not academic enough for others who expect their child to be handily reading Goethe by seven). So, whatever - if I've learned anything this past year, it's that no matter what I choose, someone's going to be doing something different and maybe it'll be better, maybe not.
To be honest, I am REALLY looking forward to using a laid out curriculum. Here's what I've learned about myself: I need structure and I'm not the best planner. Okay, I mean, we're getting stuff done, but for me? for us? we need more organization. I still believe in gently introducing young children into academics, hence my curriculum choices for next year (who knows about the following years, we're doing this one year at a time) but I really want my year laid out in a slightly more than skeleton outline. This is also why I've purchased the coming school year's curriculum already. For one, it went on sale today, and two, I plan on creating a planner during break that will be MY main lesson book. My calendar system did not work as I'd hoped this year.
Thankfully, I've been slyly assessing Ronan using a few different resources and it seems like he's got the "core" standards for Kindergarten down pretty well. So despite the fact that it hasn't been the dreamy and idyllic homeschool experience I'd hoped, things still worked out.
For next year, Isla will be attending a sweet little preschool three days a week, and fortunately there are already several children there whom she knows well. I plan on using those days as our "main" days for school with Ronan. I will also have help with Stellan so I can focus on Ro with as few interruptions as possible during our morning school time. I'm already looking forward to the next school year and will likely start sometime during the summer.
But of course, with any big decision, and I consider how my children will be educated to be one of the biggest decisions I can possibly make as their mama, I am always fraught with doubt. Is this the right decision? Are my children learning enough? Are we happy as a family? Am I getting burned out? Sometimes the answer to all of these questions (all at the same time!) is a resounding YES! Sometimes it isn't so clear. Yes, I have been feeling a little burned out lately and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that it's the end of the year. We've been busier than ever. I've been feeling pretty pulled in about eight million directions. It's so good and good and good and then hard and busy and I'm sinking, then it's great! So, yeah, we'll keep on keeping on for another year. At least that's where I'm at today!
In other news, the big kids have finished up their first round of swim classes and Stellan is still working on perfecting his lifesaving roll and float skills. He missed a couple weeks due to a bad cold, but he's really rocking it now. Some things I'm REALLY passionate about when it comes to children's safety is appropriate and safe car seats for kids and knowing how to swim. So the kids have all been involved in some serious swim lessons for the last few years. Ronan and Isla have graduated to group classes, with Ronan getting ready to take a stroke class and we're really stressing Stellan's floating. The kids are taking swim lessons at Aqua Journeys Swim School. I HIGHLY recommend them if you're in the area.
So, other than just trying to make my way through managing schedules, keeping our home running as smoothly as possible and trying to squeeze in a little "me" time (namely through Pilates classes and acupuncture) I'm also taking another online photography class through the Define School. This is my second class through this online school and it's really been inspirational, helpful and I'm learning so much. I'm already planning which class I'd love to take next! ...
Here's a shot I submitted this week. We had to take a photo in a supermarket, so my friend, Dee, was up to the challenge of modeling for me. Thanks for being such a sport, Dee, and for coming up with funny grocery store scenarios for my homework. xo
And lastly, Jill of Baby Rabies wrote a post about finding her daughter's lamb lovey. Then she posted this short little YouTube video. Since I am probably attached more to my children's lovey's than they are (ahem, Baby Mousey I've probably spent at least 39 hours of my life searching for you) I found this so sweet and emotional. And yeah, this is a total tear jerker.
I totally ugly cried.