I stayed up a bit late last night making some final tweaks to my plans for our first day of school. Surprisingly, I felt a bit nervous in spite of having so many years of homeschool experience. In this era of COVID-19, anxiety is occasionally getting the best of me. Homeschooling doesn’t happen in a vacuum, after all, and I had to take a few deep, calming breaths to get my mindset in the right place!
It turns out I wasn’t the only one who was nervous about how the school day would go. My son’s public school experience was not a very supportive one, academically speaking. Between my two kids, he was more academically prepared to enter public school. My daughter received intervention from special education almost immediately. The odd side effect of that was that he struggled *much* more than she did with little to no extra support for most of the time that he was enrolled. I advocated for him and supported him from home to the best of my ability, but his school experience overwhelmed him more often than not. Fast forward to our first day back to homeschooling today, and he expected everything to be confusing and difficult. I had to pause at one point and put my arms around his shoulders and tell him, “It’s going to be okay.”
The good news is that our day went very well! I hope that means I built some trust with my son that the year will be a good one. I feel very happy with my curriculum choices! I still had to make some accommodations such as using audiobooks for three of our books and breaking up the reading into smaller “chunks,” but Charlotte Mason’s approach to learning is so effective that there is very little other prep work required. I gave a brief, positive introduction to each book. We reviewed tricky vocabulary, learning important names and found significant places on the map before reading. Then, we had narration afterward, which we playfully call a “5-minute deep conversation” at our house.
The best conversations we had today were around the Civil War and slavery. Talk about starting the school year with a challenging but timely subject! My kids were surprised by the connection between the cotton gin and slavery. They couldn’t believe a child would work at a stranger’s house day and night just to earn $1/month. They learned that our state didn’t exist during the Civil War. Lots of great connections!
I hope you all have had a good start! I am so happy with ours!