Homeschooling has been a kicking-and-screaming kind of thing in our house. And I mean me. That's my level of enthusiasm. But it is the right thing for us, so I pray A LOT and take it a day at a time.
I did my due diligence before the 2015-2016 school year started, and chose what sounded like a great spelling program for Sophia. The school year began, and we dove in. We quickly discovered that Sophia and I both hated the spelling program. But did I change to a new one? No, of course not! We paid good money for that program (um, I think about $30), and by golly we were going to gut it out!
Needless to say, neither Sophia nor I enjoyed spelling last year. And because she hated it, not much stuck.
This past summer I did even more research, and found a new spelling program (Spelling Workout) that I thought would work. It has a variety of exercises, from puzzles to finding the missing word, and is *gasp* fun! Who knew?!
This year Sophia loves spelling. Because last year was so abysmal, I started her in the first grade workbook, which she flew thru in a couple months. Now she is doing grade level work and should be done well before the end of the year.
As miserable as it was, last year taught me to be a little more flexible, and less stuck on doing exactly what I had planned. This turned out to be a very important lesson for this year, with Jude starting kindergarten. He just turned 5 in July, and we started school in August to get a head start before Ilse arrived in September. We started working on the same curriculum Sophia had done, reading and math. To my surprise, Jude grasped most concepts VERY quickly. He particularly excelled in reading, easily remembering letter sounds that had taken Sophia much longer to master.
BUT he was miserable. No matter how much I encouraged him, he whined and cried and was generally not fun to teach AT ALL. He whined thru math. And handwriting. And reading.
I finally threw my hands up and said "You're going back to Preschool!"
I ordered Jude a Preschool workbook, and he proceeded to do 2-3 lessons a day, begging to do more. Sometimes I let him do extra, but usually stopped while he was still having fun. By the end of December he started asking if he could go back to Kindergarten. I held him off, and told him he could after Christmas.
This month he asked again if he could start Kindergarten work, and this week I let him start some math and reading. One lesson a day in each, and if he asks to do more the answer is "No." I want him to continue enjoying it, so we stop while it is still fun. Yesterday and today he read three Bob books!
I'm sure without the spelling fiasco in recent memory I would have kept pushing Jude to do kindergarten work this past fall. And a large part of me really wanted to keep going with it. But letting him go at his own pace was definitely the right thing to do, and makes me very glad that we decided to keep the kids home for this year. Especially as Jude's math, reading, and handwriting only took up 45 minutes this morning, which is all his attention span can handle. He would be bouncing off the walls at an all day Kindergarten. I can just see the daily notes home...
"Jude distracts all the other children."
"Please desist from feeding your child caffeine and sugar before school."
"Jude refuses to stand in line/sit in a chair, etc"
So for now, home it is, with a "custom" Preschool-Kindergarten mashup. That may or may not sometimes include Magic Schoolbus or Wild Kratts for science...