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First year homeschooling questions

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Hi friends,

I'm a first-year homeschooling mom--having pulled my 2nd grader out of school. We also have a Kinder and pre-schooler.


I'm looking for some advice as I think I'm lacking confidence at this moment. . .


Our science plan for this year, based on the suggestions of The Well-Trained Mind, is to do 20 weeks of unit studies on animals, 10 weeks on the human body, and 6 weeks on plants. Going with this plan I started the year strong with animals, thinking we would focus on 20 different ones, then move onto the body in the winter months, and plants in the spring.


Now I don't know if this is me losing focus of my original plan, getting distracted by cute-themey projects on Pinterest, or if some adaptation would have been good for me to consider in my summer-planning months, because now I'm looking back wishing I would have made a better map of year better so that we would have incorporated more "fall" into our studies. For example, I wish we would have done the life-cycle of an apple tree (plants) during September, owls and bats (animals) around Halloween, and how pumpkins grow (plants) during October, instead of plowing through animals as we have been doing.


And upon this realization, I'm starting to panic--like, I've screwed up my kids because I didn't teach them about Johnny Appleseed in September, and Halloween is past, so we've missed the window for owls!!And I can't wait til next year, because next year's science studies will be on earth science and astronomy!!


But then this other voice in my head is telling me to CALM DOWN! :)


What are your thoughts?

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:lol::lol: Welcome to the club! Every year, I have a panic attack about something I'm not doing. Then I listen to all my relatives say how smart and advanced my kids are, and I stop worrying about it.


Also, not everything has to be part of school. It's easy to fall into that trap that "we are doing astronomy now, so Johnny Appleseed and the life cycle of an apple tree don't fit here!" But, in reality, reading a book about Johnny Appleseed on a September afternoon and gluing some apple seeds on paper is not going to derail your whole astronomy sequence. Just consider it a Fall craft/story and not part of the curriculum. See? That's how I do it. :tongue_smilie:

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Easy for me to say.... but, yeah - I've been where you are and second-guessing myself about things - EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.


So.... take a deep breath. Pick up a book on Jonny Appleseed from the library and read it aloud. Does your library have the DK Book "Owl (See How They Grow)"? I only recommend it because it had the absolutely cutest owl pictures in the world. And pumpkins aren't much different from lima beans, so cover those when you do plants in the spring.


I try to remind myself that we are in for the long haul.

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I was laughing as I read this, not because I was laughing at you but because I WAS you 3 years ago!! Hahah! We started homeschooling when our oldest was in 5th grade. The entire first year I kept reading what others were doing, realizing I had missed opportunities, hadn't covered something the entire world felt was important, and on and on and on.


The good news? Eventually you stop worrying needlessly about stuff like that. The bad news? Give it a year and a half or so...hahaha!


The truth is, you may be covering things others don't! You may be off studying something of interest to your kids, and miss doing something. So what? You will never, ever cover every single thing, you'll never fit in every cutesy craft project, you will never get every book read that is good. It is impossible.


Allow yourself to relax and enjoy what you are doing each and every day. Recognize the value of what you ARE teaching, and try your best to stop comparing yourself to other amazingly perfect Pintrest Moms ;) (I know how hard that is! I STILL struggle with not being that sort of crafty mom I wish I was). Congratulate yourself each and every day on all that you do cover, and most importantly, that you are there together, learning and growing.


All the rest, really, is nonsense. Trust me, when your kids are older, they won't even recall the silly Johnny Appleseed picture they made :-) What they will remember is the wonderful conversations you had.



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6 years in, I still constantly think "Oh no! We didn't xyz!" My kids are fine. Better than fine!


But I did add some tabs to my "all things homeschool" binder for each subject, where I can jot down ideas and books I'd like to get back to as time allows or use in future years. Thatbhelps to keep my anxiety down. ;)

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:grouphug: As others said relax. I think we all go through this at some point.


First it is still fall and pumpkins and apples can still be covered if you want to keep them in season. As well as harvest, scarecrows, the first Thanksgiving and anything else fall related you want to do.


You can still keep going with your plan for animal study (spiders and bats are animals you can still study) but either incorporate seasonal studies with it (reindeer for a winter animal) or add a separate study. This is what I am doing with my dd. We have her regular science (Astronomy) and a theme for the week which is usually something associated with the month or season but occasionally dd asks to study something. I also make the theme cross curricular : word problems contain bats for math, write a poem about bats for English, make bat crafts or a bat house for art, and our book basket is filled with bat books both nonfiction and fiction. This way the extra study does not put pressure on one subject.


Good news is these seasonal things will be there for next year, miss it this year do it next.

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Relax. :001_smile:


You will likely go through this more than once. Tweak where you can, but don't derail your whole plan.


While at times you can make improvements by making changes, sometimes it is preferable to just "Press on" or "Do the next thing" in your existing plan. If I get too caught up in what looks better, I often waste time making changes that I should have spent actually teaching the material.

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Calm Down! :D


It will be fine. It is normal to panic periodically.


I learned to schedule a "rabbit trail" week (or two depending on time and interest) each term. That allows time for seasonal or interest-based learning. For example, I now know to leave the week before Christmas break unscheduled. We call it "Christmas school," and we spend a lot of time reading and doing Christmas-related projects. This year we want to make rock candy for friends, which counts as a science project and a tasty treat. :)



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Thank you all so much for your comments and suggestions. It helps to know I'm not alone and that it's okay if I don't cover everything RIGHT NOW.

And I'm soooo glad for this forum and being able to chat with those who are more experienced. THANKS!!

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