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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

That's No School, It's Dagobah!

This week marked our entry into the wide world of homeschooling.  Our last school was too hard to top, so we decided that we'd try it at home.  Day one seemed to go well, although there was a little grumbling from the eldest of my offspring.  Luckily, the complaints let up on day two.

It got me thinking about what needed to be done to make this a success.  Not being a trained teacher left me feeling extreme trepidation before the launch of our new endeavor.  The "social" stigma made me nervous too.  Now after a few days in the home trenches, I am positive that this is the right choice and I know how we'll make it work!

For you new readers, our school is called Dagobah Academy.  Can anyone guess why?  We live in the swamp (or at least close to it) and we are Star Wars fans.  Our school mascot even has ears like Yoda!  This was the first step in making this fun.  References to the films are used on a regular basis.  The kids hear phrases like, "stay on target," and "the circle is now complete."  The ever popular, "Try not, do or do not, there is no try," is basically a family motto.  Life lessons run concurrent to academic lessons and Star Wars helps keep it light.

Best Picture EVER

Learn you will!

Rules in the school room are basically the rules that would exist in a regular classroom in addition to some family favorites.  No farting, no whining, and no bad words (MOM) are important in our one room school.  We start each day the same, by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  Each day ends the same as well, with a little happy dance.

The kids are learning to be organized and responsible for their own work.  There is no wiggle room because there is a lovely teacher standing over them at each turn in the road of their day.  Habits that have had years to develop are being efficiently dismantled.  There's no possible way to know if the new habits will stick, but they will while the kids are at Dagobah.

This kid needs geography lessons badly!

The curriculum we chose is from the Calvert School and has proven to be fantastic so far.  It is basically "homeschooling for dummies" because they take any guess work right out of the delivery.  All subjects are linked and are reinforced throughout the lessons.  The entire curriculum is well organized and fluid.  We are working hard all morning and are finished by 1:30, a fact that thrills my kids.

The social aspect still lingers as a challenge.  It isn't surprising because we haven't met very many people at all in our new hometown.  There is a strong chance that this will change in the near future because we've located a Facebook Homeschoolers group here in town.  Though most everyone does their curriculum separately, there are many events that you can choose to participate in that will give the kids opportunities to meet new friends.  It will also give me support from other parents who are in the same boat.  My bestie Hawaii friend is homeschooling too and is also a huge support.  She delivered Calvert to me and I am forever grateful.  If only we lived in the same town again!

Knowing that my kids are getting a great education is a benefit, but there are more personal benefits to homeschooling too.  We exercise together!  Obviously this is a huge benefit for me.  There are no excuses because we're all in this together and we all have to avoid the frequent, Louisiana thunderstorms together too.  Our diets have improved because we're keeping each other honest.  There's no handful of this here and handful of that there.  We are working!  Snack time gives us healthy choices only and I'm shrinking!  I'm actually learning right along with my 6th grader too.  There are some subject areas that I don't remember studying and am thrilled to learn it right beside him.  The main unknown subject is art history.  We are sharing the love for the learning itself.  This is a key ingredient for any student's success and my boy is soaking it up. 

Love pictures Mom, please take another.

This is only week one, I'm realistic.  I am also extremely optimistic.  There is laughter, dancing, and sunshine in my kids' day along with a truckload of learning.  We are blessed to be given the opportunity to try this out.  Wish us luck for a smooth year!

Mom is barely awake.

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