When I was in high school, I really didn’t like history. For me, it was one step above algebra (and I am so not a math person). It was all about names and places and random dates of things that didn’t really matter. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why we were subjected to having to sit through it. (My 9th grade history teacher actually fell asleep during his own class once, so apparently I wasn’t alone in that.) I thought history was dry, boring, and – even worse – useless. Boy, was I wrong!
I’m not going to try to hide it; I love literature. I am a regular at our local library and bookstores, and I’m usually the one leaving with a huge armful of books. And my at-home library? Well, let’s be honest. You can never have too many books…only too few bookshelves. And I know I’m not alone. Homeschool families tend to have a lot of books! Not just the books that are required in the lesson plan…but books. Tons of them. On every subject, at every level, everywhere. Many of us have the same goal: to teach our children to love to read and learn.
The area I live in has many, many homeschool families, as well as a lot of great support groups and co ops. For the past several years, I have had the pleasure of teaching subjects like foreign languages, literature, writing, and worldview to all ages of students. Add that to the fact that my gifted kiddo goes through curriculum like it’s candy, and it’s safe to say that I’ve either tried or reviewed just about everything out there. And I’ve put my favorites all in one place, just for you. That way, you don’t have to dig through all the options to try to figure out what might work!
You’ve probably read the advice in the parenting books…”Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Well, that’s wonderful advice, except when your baby never sleeps! When you fast-forward a few years, the baby who doesn’t sleep becomes the child who never stops. While this child is completely amazing in so many ways, they’re also hard to keep up with!
High school. In the early years, it’s the time we homeschool parents look forward to: a time when our kids will be able to learn independently, when they’ll be able to get jobs and start making their own way. A time when they’ll have their driver’s license and we won’t have to drive them all over creation; instead, we’ll be able to hand them the keys. A time when they’ll be able to dig deep and start to really figure out ideas. That all tends to change when the high school years loom close.
All though elementary and middle school, I was a pretty easy-going homeschool mama. I learned to be flexible in my planning and scheduling, and I put together really fun units and courses for my kiddo. I thought I had it all down. And then high school came near, like a dark cloud looming on the horizon. Insecurities hit hard and fast. We can’t keep going like we are! It’s fine for middle school to be fun, but high school? That’s when it all gets real, right?
We’re a pretty fiercely independent breed, we homeschoolers. We like to take things off the beaten path. Explore the unknown route. Forge our own way, and teach our children to do the same. Sometimes though, we tend to forget that we’re not actually on this path alone. Homeschooling is an odd, eclectic blend of rugged independence and tight community. We each do our own thing for our own reasons, but we do it together. In a weird way, our individuality unites us.
I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but here in Oklahoma, we’re kind of known for winds that randomly “come sweeping down the plain.” Not the gentle, breezy type, but the ones that leave trees laying in your yard and have roofers stopping by out of the blue to provide bids. Those winds come out of nowhere, act in ways that you can’t really anticipate, and disappear just as suddenly as they began. Life is kind of like that sometimes.
Do you ever feel that everywhere you look, all you can see are moms that have it together? Their outfit is put together, they’re not rushing, their kids are well-behaved. They can even remember where they parked their car. Meanwhile, your coffee’s been sitting on the counter for an hour and a half now, you have no idea where your child put his math book, and choosing to wear anything other than yoga pants results in a chorus of, “Oh, are we going somewhere today?” Or is that just me? (Somehow, I don’t think it is.)
Ah, the thrill of a new homeschool year. Books ready to dig into, shiny new lesson plans to implement, a well-structured schedule that will work. If you’re anything like me, you get excited over the spring and summer by all the prospects of what the new year will bring. It’s fun to unbox all of your new curriculum choices, and seeing the mailman or FedEx guy walk up to your door with boxes of books makes your heart leap for a moment. There is such a thing as “new book smell,” and it’s wonderful.