Over the last year we have had such a great ride in our first homeschool journey! I still can't believe that we only have a few more weeks of school left and we will have thrived and survived!
When we were praying about homeschooling, I think somewhere in the back of my mind, somewhere deep in my history, I thought homeschoolers were snobby, weird and didn't get exactly why parents choose to do this. The night before we were to start, I stayed up to 3am reading over again and again our lessons, reviewing everything I could to make sure we were ready to go! I thought I was inadequate, or that it was going to be too hard, too difficult! Not to say we haven't had days where I was stretched, or gotten frustrated because of the math terms and NC maps that have seemingly taken over our dining room. I endured. Chris endured. Our family has made it!
Oh ... and the good news is.... we didn't mess up our kids - too much! We kept them "socialized" with some amazing kids who want to be world changers and bring hope to nations! And also made some great new friends who are looking for hope! Thankful we can be an instrument of grace to those around us. We also in this last year found an amazing family at Freedom House Church and have loved getting connected in every way possible! Daniel got to be a part of some new and exciting opportunities like; serving at The Harvest Center (homeless shelter), serving at Reedy Creek Nature Center as a Jr. Nature Guide, helping our community Family Fun Day's at the YMCA, earning his 2nd degree yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, playing Upwards Basketball, Lego groups, starting Archery Lessons and now Fencing Lessons. Eliana continued in preschool a few days each week as this gave her time to finish up her favorite learning times with Ms. Ladonna! She joined us on Mondays & Fridays for her "homeschool" lessons. She got connected with a homeschool gymnastics group and also began taking her special "science" class (finally a place where bugs are welcomed and encouraged to be touched!). We had the chance to travel and see family and friends that we normally wouldn't have gotten a chance to enjoy! We got to do school at the cabin, on the ski slopes, at Grammy's house and in the car on occasion! The flexibility and fun that this season has brought has been a gift to the Haas' in many ways!
This journey has been one of adjustments (new places, new faces, and at time saying farewell), new flexible schedules (which is great!), meeting loads of new friends (FHC has our heart, ALIVE, Leadership Link and Homespun), getting connected with some amazingly creative families, trying new sports (fencing and archery), overcoming fears (that maybe I'd mess up my child someway, or maybe God was nuts in asking us to do this) and walking out with great faith the adventure our family began. It has been a journey like no other! I'm so glad we didn't let fear hold us back!
God has been faithful to us in throughout this new season and we have been more purposed than ever to enjoy our days, laugh together, learn together and take it all in.
Want to know about a few of my treasured times? ... here ya go... Watching Daniel dream about things he wants to learn - "What does it take to become a Lego Master Designer/Builder?", talking deeply about what God is teaching him through me doing more listening. I have loved seeing my son become a more confident young man who is making some great friends with all of the varied interests he has been a part of. For my girl, I have put on a strong, brave face and have gotten excited (even though I could sometimes cringe!) as Eliana brings me the crunchy dried bugs (and their loose body parts) she found at preschool. I have been a part of watching her become a graceful young lady who has little fear when wanting to go embrace new adventures. These treasures fill my heart!
I also watched as something new was being stirred in my husband. Something that was new, greater than anything we could ever dream or imagine! I got to watch as God began bringing him to a place of new dreams! I watched as God again and again proved His Word as faithful, trusting & redeeming! I got to experience first hand watching my beloved open his heart to the lives of kids like I had never seen! Watching this passion grow inside of him ignited something around our home that cannot be described! I can't wait to watch and see what God is gonna do! I'll never forget this season!
Some have asked what we have used this year so here goes.... We have covered all the necessary for this 4th grade journey - for Eliana we have been focusing on letter and number recognition and phonics (ABEKA PreK), preparing her to be a great reader and a great leader! She loves to draw as well as learning and touching bugs and animals. We build on that any way we can! For Daniel, we have used Science (ABEKA), Math (Horizons), Literature & Grammar (Learning Language Arts Through Literature and also Beyond Five In A Row), History (ABEKA), Art, Music, PE (Tae Kwon Do, Basketball, Fencing, Archery and 2 5K events), various life skills (such as taking care of laundry, planning meals, weekly chores, lawn care, taking care of our bodies), serving at our church, missions and outreach. It is our hope to build strong life long learners who will be Godly, confident, relevant leaders for their generation!
We also enjoyed exploring all over our city as we learned about all the great homeschooling resources the Concord / Charlotte area offers to us! There are a ton of groups that you can get connected with it. It could almost be overwhelming to know which to choose! (Just to add... we have the greatest, most supportive homeschool group ever at Freedom House Church! I am so thankful God brought these families into our lives!).
A few top tips for anyone taking on this journey....
1. You won't have to do this journey alone! God will bring some amazing people in your path to get you connected and help you navigate along this adventure! (Even now as I am writing this, an amazing dear friend of mine is in our living room, engaged w/ Eliana helping me with teaching her to read!!! - Love ya Lady Kayren!). If you need help or have questions... don't hestitate asking other homeschooling families!
2. Navigate the resources and choose what will bring the greatest value to your family! There are tons out there so navigate wisely!
3. Relax and enjoy the ride! Take the pressure off and breathe! Work and learn where they are at and where you are at! ENJOY THIS TIME! Learn how to take the gloves off and let them enjoy learning! Make it fun - for you and for the children!
4. Take school, one season at a time! Don't over plan. Don't over think. Don't over analyze. God will show you what to do and steps to take for each season.
The options are endless to enhance the learning that takes place in your homes, plus activities, field trips, gymnastics, on hands history, classes offered through the parks & rec as well as Discovery Place and local church co-ops, sports teams, playtimes, co-ops and to give that extra boost - many businesses give great discounts to homeschoolers! We found many great discounted or FREE events that are only offered to homeschooling families! Good Good Stuff!
When God asks you to do something, sometimes it may be intimidating. It may mean change. It may mean something brand new. When He gives you a "to do" .. something He is asking from you, He gives His guarantee for success. It's His promise!
What will this next season hold for the Haas'? We're not sure about school yet for the fall, but we are confident that God will reveal and God will show how to make it all happen. We know that there are great things in store for us (Jeremiah 29:11) We'll take each step as it is presented. We'll rest. We'll laugh. But most of all... we'll enjoy the journey!
Now time to go review math facts and all the other stuff for our May 7th testing! Let class begin!