(Belated) First Day of School

"When I grow up, I want to be a writer and a construction worker."

“When I grow up, I want to be a writer and a construction worker.”

What a whirlwind beginning to the year we have had! In spite of my ever-present good intentions, it has been quite a bumpy start. We ostensibly started in August, but only because their homeschool support program started then, hence the pic with the uniform. We didn’t dig in at home until almost mid-September, because I took a trip to Oklahoma to be my sister’s doula. I think that’s a reasonable reason to delay the start of a school year, don’t you? And wouldn’t you know it? Baby Eleanor Jane was born on Labor Day!

Anyway. I took Durin’s picture about a month late, because I forgot that he now goes on a different day than the other kids, and did not remember to grab this picture until we were a month in. Also, I should have used black ink on the boards, but hey, there was not enough coffee in my system that early in the morning.

"When I grow up, I want to be a librarian."

“When I grow up, I want to be a librarian.”

This year, we decided to pare down our curriculum quite a bit, and have less structure to our day. That said, I still have to have some structure, because my brain would explode if I didn’t. We let each of the kids decide what they want to learn about outside the core subjects, and got several interesting replies:

  • Sword fighting & archery
  • Chemistry
  • Minecraft mods
  • Names of species, both plants and animals
  • Sewing
  • Gardening
  • Animal care, horses
  • Multiplication
  • Reading
  • Video Games
  • Aliens

"When I grow up, I want to be a teacher."

“When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.”

That’s not even an exhaustive list! Some have expressed a desire to do “less paper stuff,” and more outside, moving, going, and doing stuff. So, I’m trying.

I’m growing and changing right along with my kids, though I think they are far more flexible than I am. Still, I do my best. Weekly library trips for books on their chosen topics, as well as DVD’s (though many are badly outdated) and even some free homeschool events have helped a lot already. They seem generally happier this year, though everyday is peppered with plenty of attitude and grumbling. My kids love to learn, but on their own terms. This year seems to be about teaching them that we all have to buckle down and plow through things we don’t enjoy, no matter who we are. Including me.

We also had them evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and to decide what they want to work on for themselves, aside from academics. Books they want to read, things they want to get better at this year, and so forth. I did my best not to prompt them, other than sharing an example of something I wanted to work on in my own character. (Listening better, if you must know.) Among their answers:

  • Self-control.
  • Growing in faith.
  • Bossiness.
  • Speaking up.
  • Being respectful.

When grow up, I want to be a robot builder.

When grow up, I want to be a robot builder.

I was pleasantly surprised at the thought put into their answers, and wrote everything down. That way, we can evaluate again in the middle of the year, and they can decide if they are growing the way they want to. Essentially, I am trying to teach them to be responsible for their own character as they grow more and more independent as people. To help them realize they are fully human, and must take the reins on their hearts now, because I have no control over that. I can only guide, discipline, encourage, reprimand, and set a good example. I cannot choose for them how they will live.


Things are rolling along now, and we are doing fairly well more days than not. Okay, that really depends on the week. But we I am sure doing the very best I can, with a lot more help from Levi. I am still fairly certain I am learning more than they are, actually.

Either way. It’s grueling, but delightful work for me, even if I have to fake the delight more often than I would care to admit. We’ll make it. By God’s grace, we’ll make it.

How goes your school year so far? How are your kids enjoying their academic pursuits? How do you encourage your own kids, when they are reluctant to just buckle down and do what needs to be done, whether it’s homework, chores, or other unpleasant duties?

Grace & Peace,


5 thoughts on “(Belated) First Day of School

  1. Enjoyed reading about your homeschooling efforts! Cute photos of the kids. Love that they thought about future occupations and also know some of their own strengths and weaknesses!! Good job Tiffany!! Love you guys!

    • Thanks, Maureen! I have a feeling they’d do even better in a place where they could run off a lot more steam. Like, say, your house. 🙂

      Love you!

  2. It’s good to see that “pirating” skills are still at the TOP of their lists! We just found a couple more matching pirate outfits for them to wear next time they come visit! Love Grandad & Granny

  3. Enjoyed your post! Our homeschool year this year (my daughter’s 9th grade year with Time4Learning High School) has been somewhat wild as well, but for different reasons! My daughter rode a great horse all summer in the local horse show circuit, and qualified for the state show. They did well together, and the owner offered to sell the horse to my daughter for a great price. This was at the beginning of September. We ran the finances, decided we could do it, bought the horse, had to install a pasture fence, get the horse moved, accumulate all the appropriate stuff (horses require a LOT of stuff), vet visits, farrier visits, and get a barn installed. Of course, I had to allow a certain amount of time for the girl and her horse to bond. All of this slowed down the academics considerably. Then my daughter got a serious respiratory infection and has basically been couch-bound and coughing for almost 3 weeks, so very little school got done. Guess who has been caring for the sick child, the house, and the very special horse? Yep, me! I hope things have begun to settle out to some semblance of normalcy now. In a lot of ways homeschooling has made the time with the horse, and the time sick all ok though. We will catch up. We could not have made it through the last month or so if my daughter was in public school. I have to remind myself, and my daughter, but mostly myself, that these sort of life experiences are part of the reason we homeschool! I hope your year settles down soon and that you and your kids accomplish great things!

    • What a story! My goodness! I think I would be glad for homeschooling in your case, too, hands-down. She will never forget this time, or the lessons she learns. Thank you for sharing!

Comments are closed.