Since I’ve had quite a few friends inquire about what we do with the boys as far as homeschooling, I thought it would be fun to share the story of how it all went down, as well as some newbie tips and pictures of our Homeschool Room, where all the magic happens!
First of all, I NEVER planned to homeschool. In fact, I would say I was downright against the idea of it! What about socialization? What about me time? How could I be expected to teach them about things I don’t even understand? Like electricity (true story, I just don’t get it! my brain literally hurts just trying to grasp the very idea of it)… and geometry…and world history…and…and…the list goes on. Yeah, not my thing. At all.
But then something happened. God whispered His idea for our family into my ear. And…I immediately disagreed. “You got the wrong Mama, Lord. I can’t do that. Got THREE boys. Count ‘em. One, two, three. That would take a lot of my energy, a lot of my time, and a lot of space! Which we don’t have. Right?” (This is the point where I stop and say THANK YOU JESUS for being so patient, loving, and kind with me! It is Jesus who stuck by my side and gently encouraged me to move forward, one baby step at a time, and at times He was the only one giving me the encouragement I so badly needed…which makes this homeschooling adventure all the more special to me!) Anyway,the idea seemed crazy at first. But God spoke to me, and I knew I would be a fool not to listen! And from that point on, God led me to discover some of the most wonderful truths about the world of homeschooling. He completely changed my heart about it! After a few months of praying, reading books, researching curriculum (and state laws), and being encouraged by a fiercely passionate and faithful entourage of amazing women from my church (as well as my awesome sis in-law Nicole Mayo!), my husband and I agreed to commit to the idea for one school year. We started in September 2012 and things are going surprisingly well! We are really enjoying our school time more than I even imagined we would. Which is a very pleasant surprise to me. I mean, I really really love my boys…but I gotta say, they are a handful. (They are also a van full, a stroller full, a couch full, a bed full, a tub full. Hahaa!) We have amazing days where I feel like the most blessed mama out there…and then we have some days where it takes everything out of me just to get them to SIT DOWN and LISTEN!!! For crying out LOUD!! But that’s where God comes in, where I need to rely on Him and let Him be present with us. It’s the crazy, horrible days that remind me which well I am to draw my water from, and for that reason I am very grateful for them. But only in hindsight, I’ll admit that much. ;)
TIPS from the Mayo Crew:
~Melissa and Doug educational materials are the BOMB. We keep an eye out for these at Children’s Orchard, Marshalls, and even yard sales. They are made well and my kids enjoy every item we have, especially those wooden interlocking puzzles. Amazon has also had some great deals on Melissa and Doug brand toys, so if you think you might homeschool someday, these are a great investment.
~I let my boys wear whatever they want to school, because let’s face it…you’re only young once. Looking cool can wait! Most of the time Jacob is in his underwear, Josiah is wearing a cape or costume of some sort, and Owen is still in his jammies. (And a perk to homeschooling is that I am usually teaching in my robe! Which I love. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have quite the housecoat collection!)
~Do school early. At this point, we usually spend about 1-1.5 hours per day in the school room, and our goal is to start no later than 9:00 a.m. I find that their brains (as well as mine) work best right after breakfast. Also, if you include scripture memorization as part of your routine, do that first! It’s so important to me that our boys learn to start their day with Jesus, and while I am still not very good at that (I’m an iPhoneaholic, so I usually curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and my phone first thing…I’m not proud of it, just being honest!) at least I know that our school day will start off with priorities straight.
~Get messy! Some of the best days we’ve had this year have included times where I just gave them a bottle of glue or paint, some paper, and a pair of scissors. They come up with some of the most amazing little pieces of art. Someday I will devote an entire blog post to simple art projects, because it’s probably my favorite part of school!
Finally, here is our school room. I wish I had better pictures, but my big camera is useless in this tiny room! Anyway, if you have any questions regarding anything you see, please ask! I’d love to share. (P.S. The paint color on the beadboard is way more awesome in person…it’s a bright aqua that manages to both soothe and invigorate me while we are spending time in there. Such a blessing to get it right, because it could have gone horribly wrong!)
And a few more random pictures I found on my phone! Just for fun.
Thanks for reading!