We are just about to finish up the third quarter of our school year, and already I’m looking to next year. It’s tax refund time, and at the Hall house, that means time to order next year’s school books. So I’ve been poring over the catalog that in reality I already had pretty much memorized, making my list and checking it twice, getting super excited for all the awesome books that will be ours to study next year.
But this year ain’t over yet! This year has been the most challenging so far of our homeschool journey. This is no big surprise, really, since Abigail, with second grade, has kind of jumped up to a new level of study. Preschool, kindergarten, and first grade were all cake for her. Not very many subjects, didn’t take much time, nothing really challenging for her bright mind. Second grade has been a different story. For one thing, it takes longer. She hasn’t been too thrilled with sitting in the school room with Mom while the rest of the kids were playing or watching a movie. Also, it’s the first time that school has been a challenge, the first time she’s had to struggle to learn something. Bible and History seem to be the most troublesome. The Veritas Press Bible and History cards are excellent and I love them, but they’re rigorous. We’ve learned 20 events in each subject so far, and she is supposed to know the title of the event, the dates, and Scriptures where applicable. Not just of the one we’re studying that week, but every one we’ve studied all year. On every test. You’d think after all that repetition that this would come easy. But quite frankly, once you’re looking at dates for fifteen events, no matter how many times you’ve listed them, they do in fact start to swim around in your mind and get confusing. I know this because in helping her study yesterday, I was getting them wrong myself! So, since she’s not used to things being difficult, she’s had kind of a hard time buckling down and putting forth the necessary effort to learn it. We’ve really had to work hard and keep going back to the drawing board to find ways to help her learn the material and still enjoy it. One huge help has been all the resources that come with the program. We have all kinds of colorful books and drawing books and diagrams and maps and such about Ancient Egypt, and she enjoys looking at them so that goes a long way toward helping the material soak in.
Catherine also hit some road blocks this year, as learning to read letters, words, and even numbers did not come automatically to her the way it did for Abigail. She had several moments of just feeling frustrated and wanting to give up, but suddenly the light came on, and now she is reading anything we put in front of her. She begs every afternoon and every night to take Samuel to bed because she wants to read to him. She is constantly offering to read to Elisabeth and Samuel, which they love too. It’s been such a joy to watch this process in her.
Homeschooling is a lot of work, sometimes very difficult and frustrating, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I feel so privileged to be the mommy-teacher and not have to share the “light-bulb” moments in my children with anyone else. Homeschool has been my constant this year–the part of my life that, when everything else felt hopeless and out of control, stayed steady and filled with joy. Not always perfect or easy, but always a joy. Third grade for Abigail? First grade for Catherine? First time homeschooling three kids? Bring it on. I can’t wait.