We talk about homeschool as part of this blog because it is a natural way for us to live out the Minivan Ministry mission: to help you make Jesus the driving force in your family.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV
At the same time, we do realize that homeschooling is not for everyone. We respect those who are part of the public or private school system as well. There are great Christian influences there as well.
Everyone’s experiences are different.Here are some from my 10 years as a public school teacher.Everyone’s experiences are different. Here are some from my 10 years as a public school teacher. Click To Tweet
School Busses and Early Mornings
I remember the first year I was out of college. I would get so excited seeing those bright yellow busses driving by. The early mornings were tough, especially driving across town. But it was exciting to be part of something bigger than myself. I loved teaching. I loved my kids. I loved education. As they years went on, I still loved those things, but I realized that those big yellow busses also meant a lot of stressful paperwork and sometimes difficult new beginnings. It was great to get a new start, but there were also new challenges.
As a homeschooler, the beginning of the year isn’t marked by the big yellow bus. When I see those busses, I get excited that my kids don’t have to be on them. I know my students. I am thrilled to keep my kids home with me, and to be able to get out and explore with them. There are days that are far less than perfect, but the good far outweighs the bad.There are days that are far less than perfect, but the good far outweighs the bad. Click To Tweet
As a teacher, the first week or two was spent teaching rules and procedures. Very few other things got accomplished. The time I put in was definitely worth it and necessary for a good school year.
As a homeschooler, I still have to teach my kids the expectations for the new school year, but I can do it in the context of other school subjects. We get a lot accomplished as we are reestablishing our new routines.
Another thing that took up a lot of time at the beginning of the year was assessing students. Don’t forget grading and analyzing the results, and sometimes grouping students for the best educational experience. Unlike some homeschoolers, I see great value many of these assessments. They help me see what my students know and still might need to learn in a particular area.
As a homeschooler, I am thankful that I get to choose only the assessments that do have value to us and pertain to what we are learning(with the exception of state required exams). I can immediately implement instruction that falls in line with what my kids need to learn, without teaching to the lower and middle students in their group.
Field Trip Fun–Once or Twice
I loved planning field trips. We had to plan them at the beginning of the year to reserve our spot. Then there were permission slips and reserving school busses. The real bummer was that we only got to take one or two.
As a homeschooler, I get to go on as many field trips as I want. In fact, I even help organize a homeschool field trip group. We probably go on an average of one field trip each week. Since kids remember experiences better than book work, I think it is well worth the time and effort. It’s also a nice break in the routine. We get to get out and be part of the “real” world. It also gives us some of that socialization that non-homeschoolers often seem to be so worried about.
Paperwork, Paperwork, and More Paperwork
There was so much paperwork. Everyone wondered why we didn’t even go a full week or two before we had a teacher work day. It can be summed up in one word–paperwork.
As a homeschooler, there is still planning and the paperwork of getting portfolios together, and lessons copied and set up. I love that I get to choose what I want and truly feel needs to be done. My work load is also reduced since I don’t have 25 students. I don’t have to worry about transportation checklists, who is buying lunch, or what needs to be documented for an Individualized Education Plan.
25 Minute Lunches
We were allotted 25 for lunch–not counting transition time, waiting in line for lunch, bathroom breaks, or lunch meetings. Once everything was said and done, I usually had less than 15 minutes to actually eat. I refused to bring any frozen meal that had to be heated more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds because it just wasn’t worth it.
As homeschoolers, we enjoy taking a little more time for lunch. Sometimes we enjoy a break and chatting while we eat. Other times we spend lunch enjoying a new type of music, listening to someone speak latin, or watching an educational video. Later in the afternoon, we enjoy the occasional Poetry Tea Time too.
For Those Who are Still in the Public School System…I commend the hard work of public school educators. If you are a parent, please show your support! Click To Tweet
Public school has it’s perks. I commend the hard work of public school educators. If you are a parent, please show your support! Give words of encouragement and understanding when your child has a less than perfect experience. 25 students is a lot to manage. Try as they might, teachers aren’t superhuman.
If you have students in the public school system, they can be the light to other students and teachers alike. You have a great opportunity to share God’s love with the world.
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ESV
What memories does the beginning of school stir up for you? How do you shine light in your school?