We finished Kindergarten! It's been an interesting year with lots of ups and downs, mostly ups :) I've learned a lot, not only in the subject matter I've taught the kids, but I've learned a lot about HOW to teach my children. It's been a lesson in parenting, organizing, patience and perseverance. This year has given me great insight into each of my children's strengths and weaknesses, learning styles and personalities. I've learned a lot about who I am and who I would like to be in this past year. There have been lots of days where we had light bulb moments and laughter. Learning has been a fun endeavor for which I hope a life long passion will emerge for each of our children. For these and so many other reasons, I'm glad we decided to pursue homeschooling.
Please don't hear me saying everyday was orderly, scholarly and done in a clean house by and with perfectly obedient children, that doesn't happen in our house! Far from it! There were days of tears, mine and the kids. There was lots of training dealing with bad attitudes and wrong heart motives, mine and the kids. Some days were just hard. Thankfully, those days were a rare occurrence.
One of the hardships with home schooling is that we are all constantly together. There are only about 4 hours a week that I am scheduled to be without the kids ( that's at church, where I teaching other people's children) Unless Larry and I make other plans I bear the majority responsibility of caring for them. I have chosen to do this. This is not a complaint :) So that means I am constantly with my children and they are constantly with each other all day, everyday. Many days we all needed time outs from one another. I have just re-instituted a quite time for all of us during the afternoon. It's helped! I've learned that getting outside to play or leaving the house to go to run errands or grocery shop is a helpful diversion for the kids. Having things planned for them to do or giving them a choice between two activities helps too. It gives us something to look forward to so that we can complete our work. We've also developed some great friendships with other homeschooling families that helps tremendously!
Thinking over the past year, we've had so many neat experiences. We've made volcanoes, cheese, yogurt, slime, and done lots of art projects. I feel like we could hands down win a cut and paste contest as long as cutting on the lines was not a major requirement. Eden wrote her first book on creation. I was able to bind it at ChildLinks. We've gone on lots of field trips while we studied animals and gardening. We hatched butterflies and caught a turtle and kept a Ladybug Lore. We've visited the local nursing home multiple times so that we could love and serve their seniors. We've gone to a bird park, pear picking, nature walks, scavenger hunts, and visited neighbors who have cool farm animals. We made trips to the grocery store, bank, Wal-mart and farmers market, not just as errands, but educational destinations. There are lots of other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention. But you get the point :)
Looking back on this school year, I am proud of our accomplishments. I was able to teach Eden to read, which has opened up a wonderful world of literature for her. I've watched my kids encourage one another and grow in their friendship. I wouldn't have traded this year for anything. One of the motto we use is, "We are Team Gilbreath!" This helps me and the kids understand we are doing this together. So if one child is sick or if something comes up with family or church, then we work around it. We attempt to keep a schedule, while keeping in mind we need to practice flexibility. We encouraged one another to accomplish our tasks and we had FUN learning.