Looking Back at Our First Year of Homeschool (Kindergarten)

    Sorry I haven't posted in a while. This year has been absolutely crazy. Blogging had to take a backseat while we went through the crazy roller coaster that has been 2020-2021. We have gone through a ton of life changes including having a new baby and moving into a new house in a brand new state! As things are settling into more of a stable rhythm, I hope to blog a lot more going forward. (Also, I will be adding new products to my TeachersPayTeachers store. Yay!)

    This year of homeschooling was going to be the absolute best year. I was planning field trips, meet ups, unit studies, everything you could imagine in the perfect homeschool year. My eldest daughter was starting kindergarten this year, and in many ways this was her first “real” year of homeschool. I had plans. Big plans. We were going to become a part of a real homeschool community which was supportive and full of curious minds which would help nurture my eldest daughter on her educational journey. We would have fun learning and investigating both inside our home, but also more importantly using the whole world as our classroom. I was basically going to be a real world Ms. Rizzle. In short, like a lot of first year homeschoolers, I had big plans. Unfortunately, the year did not exactly go to plan (although I doubt that I'm alone in this).

    “What was the year in which my daughter was fated to start kindergarten?” I hear you ask. (Thank you, by the way). It was 2020. Ugh. Covid put a huge dent in all of our plans for kindergarten, my child's first “real” year of homeschool (as I'm sure it did for many parents, no matter how they choose to educate their children). Not only did we not have homeschool meet ups, in person library trips, organized sports, and field trips; but also we didn't even have family holidays for much of the year because all of our family lived out of state. Instead of all of those wonderful things, we got a young child confused by the state of the world, dealing with the presence of a newborn sister (we had her right before covid), and trying to find and move into a new house in a different state during a pandemic (Due to our states travel restrictions we had to completely lock down for two weeks every time we left the state to look at houses). She had a tough year (Like most of us, I think). This year was filled with many new behavioral challenges like temper tantrums, arguments, and just acting out.

       Now, dear reader, I don't want you to think I'm not grateful for what I have. I have the resources to not only stay home and home educate my children, but my husband also has the capability to work from home meaning that we were completely sheltered from the worst of the effects of the pandemic. Other than my husbands hours being cut at the height of the pandemic, we suffered no real financial effects either. I fully understand that my complaints are tiny compared to those who lost their lives, livelihoods, or loved ones this year. I also understand how hard it was for parents who chose to send their child to a brick and mortar school. Working full time while helping a child get a distance education, must be hugely difficult and I'm sure that their plans for the school year were vastly different from their reality too. I know that teachers who were preparing separate lessons for both in person students and distance learning students were stretched to the brink. I understand fully how lucky I am. This post is not about who suffered the worst in the 2020-2021 school year.

    As a newbie to the homeschool scene, I wonder if this is the feeling that every homeschooler gets at the end of the year. Our plans are always so grand. We are going to do so many fun and educational things. We are going to change the world one mind at a time. And don't get me wrong-we totally do. Every year is amazing. This year, my five year old discovered a fascination with ancient history, the human body, and read a few of her first novels. My youngest daughter learned her first words, discovered a love for climbing (but still not walking), and awakened the curiosity that only a small child can have. We made play dough, did crafts, baked ( probably too much), conducted science experiments, and put in our first garden. Even more amazingly, I watched the two of them build a relationship that only sisters can have. It was an amazing year, despite all of the strangeness and interruptions.

    And yet... Why is it that a little part of me is disappointed? Why am I still mourning the year that never was? I can't help but compare this year to one with museum trips, zoo trips, gymnastics, sports, and new friends for my kiddos. Is this how the end of every year feels? Will I always mourn the prefect idealized plan that I had in my head at the beginning of the year? Or will I learn to appreciate the year that actually was? Does every homeschool parent feel this way at the end of the year, or is it just me? Just know that if you are feeling this way too, you are not alone.

    I don't have advice. Maybe we need to learn to have more modest expectations. Maybe we should banish the whole concept of expectations altogether, and learn to be present in every moment. While that sounds nice, I'm not sure that I could do it. Maybe I just need to let the disappointment for the year that could have been coexist with the feeling of gratitude for the year that actually was.

    And now it's time to plan for next year. My eldest will be starting first grade. My youngest will be doing tot school while her sister does lessons. I have stacks of curriculum. I have new manipulatives and tools. I have ideas for field trips. I found a monthly home school meet up in our new area. We are going to start researching and choosing extracurricular activities. But I also have a slight trepidation. What will the year bring?

   Let me know in the comments below if you have ever experienced disappointment that your homeschool plans did not work out.  If anyone has advice, I would be all ears!  If you enjoyed the content of this post, please consider following the blog on Facebook or Twitter to get notified of future homeschool content. Thank you for reading. Happy learning!

 

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