Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better….Maybe (1st Quarter)

Early Summer 2013
After a rough 3rd grade year, hubby and I explored other options for our daughter to get a better education. We struggled with trying to fit the cost of private school tuition into our budget, then still trying to grapple with the fact that the environment in private schools wasn’t as free as we really wanted it to be.  
The ideal schools we were looking for were in neighboring counties.  We simply didn’t have access to any of them without relocating.

Mid-Summer 2013
Ok, we’re going to take the plunge.  We decided that homeschooling our daughter was going to be our best option.  Easy option?  Hell to the no!  But our best option.  So I scrambled to find the best curriculum.  There were tons out there, but I had to make sure that I found one that would not only work with me, but work well with her.  I know that plain, boring text wouldn’t work.  I joined NUMEROUS meet up groups, facebook groups, and Google+ groups to get ideas, support and suggestions.    
I finally settled on an online curriculum that I knew she would enjoy and wouldn’t cause me to have to create the work and information from scratch.  
The Logistics
I still work full time, and my husband has a flexible schedule.  Her grandfather is retired as well.  With my flexible telework agreement and my husbands schedule we were able to complete much of the work at home .  We rearranged the office in the house to serve as a classroom of sorts.  This allowed me to work on my laptop while she completed her curriculum.  
I created an email account for her, and signed up with a homeschool planner website, that would send her daily assignments to her email.  We wrote down her log in information for everything.  
Her grandfather insisted on purchasing a laptop for her, so she could do her work if he needed to go to a doctors appointment, and she was with him.  So she wouldn’t fall behind.
August 18, 2013
I’ve never been so nervous in my life!!  I am literally second guessing our decision to homeschool our child. I am scared that I am going to mess her up.  I’ve let other people’s opinion sneak into my head.  Their doubts that this would work. There thoughts that this would make her backslide and fall behind her peers.  I mean, are they right?  I’m not some white stay at home mother from North Dakota with 9 kids.  I mean isn’t that the stay at home mother vision you see.  Or the american African-centered mother who breastfeeds their child while they are strapped to them with a cloth, burning essence, braiding hair, and wearing African garb?  It’s like my visions of what homeschooling looked like took on some dramatic and twisted shape.  Both were extreme, and not the norm.  But I still thought my reality would be a huge challenge.  Scared right now is an understatement.
August 19, 2013
The first day went really well.  I didn’t have too many hiccups.  We started a bit later than I wanted to, but we were able to still finish on time.  I was actually impressed with how well my daughter took to the curriculum and assignments.  She also seems to read MUCH better than I was told she read by her previous teachers.  I saw where she made mistakes, and am researching on ways to help her overcome those small challenges, but I actually think she reads pretty damn good.  It got to the point where she wanted to read the text instead of me.  She asked to read!  I know this is only day 1, but I am truly inspired by her willingness to try this new way of learning, and I think she has more courage in her tiny finger than I have in my whole body.  She’s a bad, bad girl!  🙂

August 27, 2013
Well a week has passed and we seem to still be on the right track!  Her quiz scores are still good, and daddy has been very active in teaching the lessons.  I had to bring her to work one day, and a lady on the elevator says “Oh, when do you start school?”  And my litttle munchkin blurted out “I’m Homeschooled!!”  She was beaming as she said it.  I cringed and smiled.  Although, it’s not a secret, I just don’t feel like trying to explain to anyone at my job of how I can juggle both my full time career and teaching my child. Heck this is why I am sharing this blog with you all AFTER the fact.  🙂  [I decided to share now b/c this blog would be 10000 pages long by the end of the year…LOL]

September 9, 2013
It’s actually going good.  My husband’s schedule finally shifted, so he is more hands on with this entire process.  I am able to pin point where she has difficulty in a certain subject, and instead of moving on, we stick with it.  We print off worksheets, and assist her until she gets it.  The other day she got a 75% on her history quiz and she was very upset.  But I used this as a great teaching opportunity to show her how to prepare for a test.  We are working on highlighting important text, and using that to study.  I always hated studying, so I feel her angst.

September 11, 2013
Today was an emotional rollercoaster.  It ended with my daughter screaming that she felt like she wasn’t smart.  She blurted out something about pretending to understand what “matter” was, when she went over that module in science.  It was a complete meltdown, but it made me sad that she felt she wasn’t smart.  For a brief second I questioned our decision to homeschool, and then I realized that she was simply having a moment.  We all have moments.  It got pretty ugly, her outburst, and I had to send her to her room.   When dad came home, he went up and talked to her.  She came down and we talked and it all worked out.  Crisis averted, but it did shed some light on a few issues.  I won’t delve into those now, but I see what additional work we need to do.

October 3, 2013
Well, we have learned A LOT over the last month.  I came to the conclusion that I didn’t HAVE To follow the curriculum step by step.  I could alter it the way I see fit.  And so I have.  I find that the energy unit in Science is a bit difficult, so I had the luxury of focusing on making sure she understood it.  We spent an additional week learning about energy.  Including doing projects and watching videos.  We are finally finishing up on our Ancient Civilization unit, and will follow up with a trip to the museum (whenever the shutdown ends).  Tonight we will make a traditional Inca dish (which will probably involve quinoa).  She’s very excited about preparing the meal.
Next week the syllabus calls for history on the “discovery” of America.  Bleh!  We instead will be working on an African history unit.  I am really excited about the work we will do in that unit, as we explore the continent of Africa!!  I plan on devoting an entire month to the unit and add a bit of more black history throughout the remainder of the year.  AWESOMENESS!!
She’s also involved in a few homeschool activities with other students.  One Friday a month, she meets with other homeschooled children at the nature center close to our home.  They spend 2 hours learning different things, and walking around the park in search of plant life, marine life and other things.  She really enjoys it.    She is also part of an online book club.  These children meet twice a month via Google+ video chat, and discuss the book they are reading for the month.  She loves it!! I really wish there was another group activity that I could place her in.  I tried starting a meet up for stay at home mothers in my area, but I kept getting members with kids 3 & 4 years old.  **side eye**
The hunt is on.  LOL!!

Below are some pictures from the year thus far!  I am excited and eager to update you at the end of our semester which will be some time in December.

My darling baby girl!! 
Art: Leave imprints
Art:  Cave Drawings
Science: Visiting the nature center
Language Arts:  Mapping out story writing
Studying for an exam
Daddy teaching a lesson
Science:  Chemical reactions
History: Studying South America (The Incan Empire)
Learning in the Library

Please feel free to comment on what you have read, and if you have any suggestions or questions, I’d love to hear them.  Thanks!!

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