Our Homeschool Journey – Part 1

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The twins are about to turn sixteen, and my youngest will be twelve next week. It is crazy to think about how old we are all getting and also how long we have been homeschooling. There has been a few bumps along the way in this journey, but it is something that I would never change. Homeschooling has brought all of us closer and has created a family lifestyle that I appreciate so much. Homeschooling has also helped shape the kids, and I have to say that I love the young adults they have morphed into. Truly, homeschooling has been a blessing to us in almost every way.

Looking back on this adventure I am not sure I could have predicted where we would have ended up. Of course we are not done with this journey yet, but I still could not have imagined the place we are today all those many years ago. When we first started out on this path the twins were 4 and my youngest was a baby. The twins had spent a year in preschool and although it was a wonderful preschool, I knew it was not the place for my quirky kids. I had already decided I was going to homeschool when they were elementary age but our preschool experience pushed me to get started even sooner.

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The kids in our early days of homeschooling. Often they were outside playing or inside playing. In between all that playtime we did school. By nighttime they were all tuckered out, and I would have some down time just for me.

So how did we start and what did those first few years look like? I started with researching on the internet, and I stumbled upon a wonderful site called Tanglewood Education. This small site was run by a mom who was homeschooling her children, and she had put together a year 1 curriculum. I was intrigued by the year 1 package because there were no textbooks (especially no Abeka books that were constantly being recommended to me), and it seemed to be made up of mostly classic books that I would love to share with the kids. Little did I know that my kids would go crazy for the books. This was the start of our homeschool journey.

Actually, no…Although I do think that was the official start, our journey really started when they were toddlers. I had so many board books and picture books in our house, and the twins loved them. They would actually choose books over toys most of the time, and I found myself reading to them for hours a day. In addition to that they had outdoor time and free play time that consisted of Thomas the Train toys or Legos. The rest of our days were spent cooking, playing in the sand, and exploring the world. The twins were learning everyday when they were little, and it was a joyous process to experience.

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Some of the books that were in our Tanglewood package.

Then came our Tanglewood box in the mail and the joy of learning and the joy of homeschooling become known to all of us. In the box was Story of the World and First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer, a few I Wonder Why science books, some beginner readers and a handful of classic books for the kids and I to read together. It was a small little box, there were no extras in there like you might find today in many curriculum sets. It was perfect for our first year though. A nice, gentle beginning to our homeschool journey which I am grateful for. The pace was set for us, the tone of our homeschool was established.

Someone Help Me…

I am drowning in curriculum.

And books.

And three very different kids.

My students working on their electoral maps yesterday. It was nice to have them all working on the same thing.

Basically I am still adjusting to having my daughter home, and I am trying to remember how I homeschooled three kids before. I haven’t figured this out quite yet, but I have come to one very important conclusion. I don’t have time to work through three different programs for every subject. I will be spending the next few weeks trying to work out a plan that has the kids working on some of the same things, and I am doing this for the sole purpose of my sanity. Wish me luck!

Hello Again

Last time I posted, I wrote a rather dramatic sign-off. I was a hundred percent sure that my days as a homeschool blogger had come to an end. My daughter was in her second year at a school of the arts. Her twin brother was thinking about going to high school, and I was quite busy with schooling my sons, driving my daughter to and from school everyday (which took roughly two hours a day), and a host of other things. I was tired and truly believed I didn’t have the time to spend on TAD Town. Boy was I wrong.

About a month ago Autry was forced to make a decision about whether to stay in school or not. Her days were long, she had numerous outside activities, and quite a bit of homework. She was left with little free time, and she and I were both tired of all the driving around. I told her she would either have to drop all her extracurricular activities or school. To my surprise she chose school, and suddenly I had three homeschoolers once again.

To say I was unprepared would be an understatement. I have been scrambling for the last few weeks to put a plan together for her. She is a very different learner than her twin brother, so although they are in the same grade, they have very different needs. It has taken me a few weeks to adjust to our new reality, but I am enjoying having her home again, and I appreciate the chance to spend time with her once again.

With her being home, I have decided to begin blogging again. The truth is I missed it, and now that I have more time on my hands, I want to get back into it. I look forward to sharing our homeschool journey once again.

For now I will end with a few pictures of what we have been up to these last few weeks. Until next time….

My niece and nephew visited us for a few weeks. We had a great time with them and can’t wait to see them again soon.

Tru dressed up as Sherlock Holmes for Halloween.

Autry was a hipster witch. Here she is with her cat, after all every witch should have a cat.

Decca performed his own composition at his annual recital.

And through it all, Kingsley has been around just enjoying the view.