Today is our first day of summer break!  We’re all so excited to take four weeks off before we start into our second year of homeschool.

We’ll continue reading books while snuggling through the rest of our summer. You know, the good stuff. I’ll also make sure that Big Brother and Big Cousin keep a summer writing journal, but nothing too difficult.

This past school year flew by.  It was my first entire year of homeschooling. I’ve written about our journey to homeschool and why we decided to take the big leap in January of 2012.

I have to admit, it was a lot of work and I’ve been through a roller coaster of emotions including doubt while schooling my boys.

I’ve questioned myself many times.

  • Am I fit to teach
  • Are they on track where they should be?
  • Are my boys at the same level as other first graders?
  • Do I really have the patience to continue?
  • Would they be better off in public school?
  • Can we afford private school?

I’ve come to realize that I am fit to teach.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

I took on a heavy load this past year.  I  home schooled Big Brother, Little Brother, and Big Cousin while raising a newborn, teaching outside the home, running a blog, and going through a stressful time in life as my husband lost his job this past February.

Yeah, there was a reason for my panic attacks, and anxiety. I was fatigued, had too much on my plate, and was especially stressed by the feelings of the unknown as we really weren’t sure what my husband would be doing – If he’d find a new job. (Praise Report: My husband started a great new job last week!  I’ll make sure to share a gut wrenching spiritual post very soon about our trials that God has seen us through. God is SO GOOD!)

God’s really shown me that I need to focus my mind on him. To meditate daily in his word.

Meditate on These Things

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

I’ve learned a lot through this first year of homeschool.  I’ve learned that this is our school and we can learn at our own pace. I’ve learned to not compare my homeschool to the public school. To realize that each of my children grasps knowledge differently and that it’s okay where they’re at because they are learning beautifully.

There are a LOT of things I wish I would have done differently. Goodness, there were days I showed no patience at all with my children. Days I wanted to open the front door and ship my kids to school for a little peace and quiet. But in those days, we also learned about grace. We learned that this homeschool thing is new for mami and that just as they’re learning new subjects in school, I’m learning to be a good teacher for them. We learned that when things get tough and our attitudes are not how they should be, we need to bow our heads and ask God for strength. We learned that through prayer, God could get us through our days successfully, filled with joy.

I love teaching my kids. There’s such joy to be found in seeing them learn something new – when they put two and two together, or when they learn a new skill.

A few weeks ago my husband and I came up with our family mission for our homeschool. A post I wish to share soon but the gist of it is this.

We will continue homeschooling in order to make God real in the lives of our children. That’s our number one priority for taking on this challenging, yet edifying responsibility to our children. Again, I’ll share our thoughts on that in a future post.

As I was sitting this past weekend wondering if I taught them well this past year, if they learned enough, if there was something more I should have taught them, I casually went over my instagram pictures that my husband and I have taken. I realized right away, we didn’t just do okay, we did beautifully!

Below are our pre/k and 1st grade year in pictures.  Be aware, there are a lot of them.

We had a fantastic year, and I’m ever more excited for kindergarten and 2nd grade. Watch out world, we’re here to shake you and live radically for GOD!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

I learned that I need to return library book on time… eeesh!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We learned about Johnny Appleseed and visited Apple Orchards.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

The boys played Homeschool soccer, it was a blast!  This year we’re moving up to club soccer :D

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

The boys learned about eating ridiculously good food.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We went out for an exploration day every week.  The boys loved it while we learned about nature and being outdoors.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Yes, we sometimes do school in our chonies ;)

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

One of things I treasure most about homeschool is that our mornings are relaxed. I don’t like to hurry in the morning ;)

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

I also love that the boys and Little Mama can grow up together.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We learned about Jesus in a month of advent.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We learned about compassion and made snowflakes for the children of Sandyhook Elementary.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

I cried when Big Cousin gave me this special ornament for Christmas. It makes all of this worth it!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Yes, we did make lego costumes as one of our assignments for the day.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Little Brother learned to write his name. This was one of my favorite days of the year.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Big Brother and Big Cousin learned a lot about cooking.  I think this year I’ll have a cooking or baking class once a week.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We went to the Civic Center for a couple of live theater shows and ended our days at La Mie. Our favorite local cafe!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We celebrated our birthdays with pizazz!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We loved hands on learning at local museums.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We joined a homeschool-coop and met lovely new friends. Our co-op’s name is LEAF. Life Education and Fellowship. It’s going to be AWESOME this year!!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We took a few snow days.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

I asked Dad to make some Valentines cards for the kids to share at Homeschool Coop.  Unsurprisingly, this is what he made.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We learned that Big Brother is a teacher at heart.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Big Brother and Little Brother learned about sharing the workload in a family.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Big Brother and Big Cousin started seeds all by themselves.  What great help this was!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We all pitched in to get our urban homestead ready for spring planting.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We took a trip to California where the boys learned about geography, temperature changes, and the different landscapes.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We stayed with my family that we hadn’t seen in so long.  The boys learned about their Mexican culture, different countries, languages, and pride in heritage.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

They learned about the mountains, elevation, and clean air.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

They learned about waterfalls, spring waters, and how it’s oh… so cold.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We learned about the redwood trees and how they are the tallest trees in the whole wide world!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We were able to visit the ocean and learn about the sea lions. It was a treat to see them and we even saw a whale!

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Finally, we took in some fishing.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Back at home, we learned about different edible weeds, flowers, and mushrooms that we foraged for.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We bought new chicks, learned about rain barrels, and helping on the urban homestead.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

We played tons of baseball.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

 

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

Re-learned our fermentation skills.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

And picked our share of fruit at the u-pick farms.

We Kissed First Grade Good-Bye!

If you’ve stuck with me for this long, I think you could agree, we had a beautiful year in homeschool!  Lord willing, here’s to another.

Do you homeschool?  Do you have any advice or encouragement you can share with us?  Please share your school year and any advice we could be edified by.

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23 Responses to Our Year in Homeschool – We Kissed 1st Grade Good-Bye!

  1. Chelsea hill says:

    That looks like so much fun! I would love to know more about the co-op you joined. I’m starting my first year homeschooling and live a little west of dsm.

  2. Sabrina says:

    What a great post. I loved seeing all the photos of the fun ways you taught this year. What lucky kids!
    Sabrina recently posted..Confession.

  3. You’re doing an amazing job, and it gets easier each year. We absolutely LOVED homeschooling, even when we didn’t know what we were doing, even when we had occasional melt-downs, even when others told us we were doing the wrong thing. WE KNEW what God had called us to do. WE KNEW that we were drawing closer together as a family. WE KNEW that our kids were getting a better education at home than they would have received elsewhere. WE KNEW. And then God called us to share what we had learned with others, and dropped us into the world of blogging, writing, publishing, and public speaking. He is calling more and more families to homeschooling, and I’m thrilled and honored to be able to pass on what I’ve learned. Please let me know if I can help you or your friends in any way. (PS–Our book, Taking the Mystery Out of Learning Styles, has just been released as an eBook!)
    Carolyn Morrison recently posted..Ebook Now Available for “Taking the Mystery Out of Learning Styles”

  4. I love this post. It is encouragement because even though I have not quite started I am already questioning myself! Grrr. Thanks for sharing!
    Noelle (@singerinkitchen) recently posted..Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores

  5. Beautiful post Diana!! You did well for your first year!
    Pamela @ TraditionalFNH recently posted..Garden Bounty: Dill Pickles

  6. I really hope that Country Bloke or I will get to home schooling our two boys when they get a little older. We’ve talked of renting an RV and driving to all 50 states, learning school and life lessons along the way. Looks like you had an awesome year with your boys teaching them. Bravo!
    CityGirlCountryBloke recently posted..No Fuss Hydrangea Rooting

    • Diana Bauman says:

      That sounds so wonderful! That’s one of the things I’d like to do as well, travel with the kids. I’d love to take them on a nice road trip down route 69 one day!

  7. Steph says:

    Wow, looks like your boys had a really great year! We are starting our 1st year of homeschooling this year, kindergarten with my daughter. I love the idea of an “exploration day” each week–I might have to borrow that! I recently had a discussion/debate with some family members (who ALL happen to be public school teachers on WHY we are choosing to homeschool and how some of the most important things we want our kids to learn are everyday life/survival skills (like how to cook/bake, where food comes from, how it grows, how to fix things yourself, how to shop, budget etc. etc.) in addition to the core subjects. Sadly, I was in the minority! It looks like you had a successful year, thank you for the inspiration and motivation to do the same with ours! :)

  8. Amy Dettbarn says:

    Your homeschool pics are great! Very similar to some of our Kindergarten days last year! We did school in our jammies a lot! Through all my self-doubt and outside pressures to put her in public school, I believe my Heavenly Father has my back and will make us successful as long as our faith is in Him. We have to teach our children about Jesus, because maybe no one else will. I’ve given up a lot monetarily to stay home with my daughter, but I just know it’s the right thing to do. Good luck with second grade this year and thanks for sharing your journey.

  9. Alisha says:

    I finally had a chance to read all of your post! Thank you for sharing all the lovely pictures! So AWESOME!! I am SO proud of you for allowing the Lord to help you refocus and reprioritize and come to this beautiful place of newness! It excites and encourages me and I can’t wait to read all the up and coming postings on the subjects you mentioned. Praise JESUS! (about your Hubby’s new job) SO happy and relieved for you!!!!!! (: I can’t accurately express in a simple “comment” just how happy I am for you, but I am!!! Eek! God came through like we knew He would!!!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Thanks Alisha! I just love hearing from you!! Yeah, we’re definitely going to be slowing down when the school year starts. I’m super excited though! Yes, I am also thrilled that my hubs found a new job that he really enjoys. I’ll make sure to share about that soon!!

  10. Jennifer says:

    This post and the link back to your post about deciding to homeschool both really touched me. Monday I started back to work at my high school counseling job, after only 3 weeks off. I have always loved my job as an elementary teacher (7 yrs), elementary school counselor (3 yrs), and high school counselor (going on 8 yrs)–until my own little one came along. For the last 20 months since he was born I have really struggled with taking him to day care every day. We’ve been through two and he’ll start a new one in Sept. I even struggle with it when it’s grandparents watching him. My husband and I are really trying to manage our finances in a way that will allow me to stay home after this school year ends.

    Coming from 17 years in public school and a family of public school teachers and administrators, I have been hesitant about homeschooling because of what they will all say. It feels like a lot of pressure to show everyone I can educate and socialize him adequately and that he doesn’t NEED to attend public school. I work in public school to help the ones there, not because i think it is where every child should be; and unfortunately some parents are not fit to homeschool.

    I started crying half way through your pictures. Those are the types of learning experiences I want for my son and family! What an amazing way to educate and be with your kids. You got me so pumped up! Thank you!!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Jennifer, you made me cry! It is hard and I do agree that homeschooling is not for everyone. I know I’ve been called by God so I’m being obedient and it’s blessing me beyond belief. I do know though that finances can be a hindrance. My sister is working her booty off right now so that next summer she can finally stay home as well. It’s hard but remember, set your sight on what God wants and if it’s His will and he’s pressed onto your heart he WILL make it happen. Keep on trusting, keep on having faith, give up the little things, and learn to live with content. It’s been a process for me but the more I obey, and give things up, the happier I am with things that matter for eternity. Many blessings to you and yours, Jennifer! I’ll be praying for you!

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